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Who is telling the truth about Tiote: Carr or Hughton?

Posted on March 13th, 2011 | 25 Comments |

Tiote: Who is telling the truth?
Tiote: Who is telling the truth?
I think it would be fair to say that Newcastle midfielder, Cheick Tioté, has been something of a success since he was signed by the club from F.C. Twente on 26 August 2010.

Despite the modest £3.5 milllion payed by The Magpies for the player, he has since drawn comparisons with world class stars such as Chelsea’s Michael Essien and his fellow member of the Ivory Coast national side, Yaya Toure, who he partnered in last Summer’s World Cup. However, there are contradictory stories on how he was brought to the club last year.

Speaking after signing him as a Newcastle United player, then manager, Chris Hughton, said of the circumstamces that led to journey to Tyneside.

Ever the collegiate leader who seeks to deflect acclaim for himself  on to the backroom staff, Hughton gives credit to the scouts who spotted Tiote way back when he was a young player at Belgian side, Anderlecht, saying:

“I always knew he would be the type of player who would do well in the Premier League. He has the kind of build and mentality you want.”

“Getting players like Cheick in, it’s all about a network of scouts. I had seen him myself and when that is the case it sometimes stays in your mind.

“He was one we’d looked at over a longer period. I saw him a couple of years ago but Newcastle’s scouts knew him even before then, when he was in Belgium. It was a long process, but we were delighted to get our man and he’s proving us right at the moment.”

The couple of years ago refers to the time when he was a coach under Kevin Keegan at the club, and was sent to the Netherlands on a scouting mission by the then manager. It was then, supposedly, that Hughton saw Tioté playing at Roda JC, where he spent some time on loan from Belgian side, Anderlecht, before his move to Twente in 2008. 

Later though, in an interview with veteran North East journalist, John “Gibbo” Gibson in January of this year, Newcastle United’s current chief scout, Graham Carr, tells a slightly different story which seems to be at odds with Hughton’s version.

He attempted to claim the sole credit for the signing of the star, maintaining that Chris Hughton had never actually seen the player live, and had only watched videos compiled by Carr himself. He mentions nothing about previous Newcastle scouts picking up on the Ivory Coast player in Belgium, or Hughton travelling to see the player at Roda long before Carr joined the club in February 2010.

In Carr’s account of the Tiote signing to Gibson he says:

“I’d been on Tiote’s case since I saw him play for FC Twente at Arsenal in a European game about three years or so ago before I joined United,”

“Twente were beaten 4-0 but this kid kept going and going. He had an engine and good ability. He got about the place, never shirking despite the goals going in, and I made a mental note of him.

“I went over to Holland on behalf of Newcastle and watched him a lot. Four, five or more times. Chris Hughton never saw him live but he studied the videos I had made up of the lad.

“People didn’t cotton on to him because Steve McClaren kept changing Twente’s system of play during their Championship season and Tiote was in and out of the side. However, I had seen enough to convince me he was a Premier League player who had a big future ahead of him.

“I used to scout for Sven-Goran Eriksson at Manchester City and during his fleeting time with Notts County, and just before the World Cup he invited me over to a training camp in Switzerland to watch Tiote training.

“Sven was the manager of the Ivory Coast at the World Cup finals in South Africa and he told me Cheick trained exactly the same way he plays.

“I didn’t go to Switzerland in the end because I had already made up my mind about Tiote and just wanted the deal done.

“This club did a magnificent job at the meeting we had to attend to plead Tiote’s case for a work permit,”

“Myself, Chris Hughton and football secretary Lee Charnley went down to Wembley to appear before a panel of six who would judge the case.

“The IT people at the club had done a great job putting together a fantastic presentation of Tiote showing him in games etc.

“We were grilled about how many times we had watched him, would he gain an automatic place in the team, and what were his special qualities. In the end we got what we wanted.”

He goes on to claim the credit of the signing of Hatem Ben Arfa, too, though Carr’s magic touch seems to have diminished somewhat since Hughton was sacked and Alan Pardew was brought in as his replacement.

So what is gannin’ on here? Obviously either Carr or Hughton have missed something, or one of them is being less than honest.

Was Hughton really sent on a scouting mission by Kevin Keegan during the 2007–08 season? And had Newcastle United scouts already picked up on him before that, when he was a young player at Anderlecht? If, as Carr states, they were “grilled” by the panel responsible for issuing Tiote with a work permit to play in England about how many time the club had watched him, then Hughton would surely have revealed that the player had been on the club’s radar since before 2007, when he was an Anderlecht player, and Carr would have known of this longstanding interest in the player.

If they did, then it is hard to know what to make of Carr’s version of the events leading up to the signing of Cheick Tioté. If they didn’t, and Hughton’s stories are a fiction, that would be even more bizarre. Chris Hughton himself has said nothing on record about Carr’s story, or much else really since his sacking from the club.

It’s all a bit fishy!

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1055 articles on this blog.

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25 Responses

  1. Malarky :)

    On a similar note of importance has Joey Barton been playing better since he shave his mo off?

    Just kidding. I’m just glad we got him and I dont care how.

  2. Success has many fathers.
    Failure is an orphan.

    You’ll always find a lot of people claiming they had some involvement in something that is good, and probably playing up their involvement, whilst at the same time playing down the involvement of others.

  3. I’ll second the comment @1…

    It doesn’t matter…but is there an underlying attempt to perhaps rubbish the current regime & that they are not telling the whole truth regarding how Tiote came to be our player?

  4. Well put – My thoughts exactly – does it matter?

    You can tell its been a weekend without a game when we’re discussing this stuff.

  5. I don’t get the title, what’s this got to do with telling the truth? They both work(ed) for the club and the outcome was the same. The club knew of Tiote before Hughton scouted him, Carr knew of him before he came to the club, when they came together, they went after him.

    So their accounts differ slightly, so what? I’m sure they have better things to do then remember every little detail of every deal they’ve ever done

  6. Aye I don’t think it really matters as such as it’s the club who reaped the reward. The only thing it does do is strengthen/weaken (depending on your viewpoint) the whole Hughton debate that tends to happen fairly often.

    People who love Hughton still use Tiote as an example of Hughton’s tenure. Those that say they never liked him use Tiote as an example of Graham Carr’s ability etc etc.

  7. Footy news must be in short supply today – I see the Indian take-over story has re-surfaced ( a bit like that dodgy Chicken Tikka Saag I had last week)

  8. To all of you saying “does it matter?” er yes you divs cos Hughton isn’t at the club anymore and Carr is. If Carr is the person who spotted and recommended Tiote then that’s preferable as hopefully lightening will strike twice, thrice and so on.

  9. Just a thought, but could they not both be right? I mean did Hughton actually say that he’d seen him in person? If he did then is it not possible that both of them had earmarked Tiote and when his name came up it kind of jogged things back into place?

    Just a thought…

  10. toonsy says:
    March 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

    “Just a thought, but could they not both be right? I mean did Hughton actually say that he’d seen him in person?”

    Yes, he did Toonsy.

    “I had seen him myself”

    There are several other quotes too, and Carr also mentioned that both he and Hughton had to tell a panel responsible for issuing Tiote with a work permit how many times the club had watched him.

    As to whether it matters, yes, I think it does matter that the club has to having to rely on a steady stream of dishonest, revisionist PR to get it’s message across.

  11. Marshy

    Barcelona have been watching Cesc Fabregas for years and they are still yet to sign him.

  12. toonsy says:
    March 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    “Worky – But could that not have been via a video prepared for him or something?”

    He has mentioned going to see Tiote when he was at Roda JC, Toonsy.

  13. marshy says:
    March 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    “what strikes me about this story is why did it take so long to sign him,after all they talk about watching him for years?”

    marshy, we have had several managers with different preferences regarding players, and a “Director of Football” since Tiote first found his way on to the club’s radar. Also, he was still a young player, and developing.

  14. I am more interested in how the scouting is going for new recruits then how any current members of the team were signed . Been reading today that Pardew says one of the keepers will be leaving the club in the summer either on loan or sold . Wonder which one , hope its Krul because i think Forster will be further forward in his development than Krul having had 2 full seasons on loan and being first choice at both teams .

  15. Axel says:
    March 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    “I am more interested in how the scouting is going for new recruits then how any current members of the team were signed .”

    As Graham Carr is our current Chief Scout, then the two things could be kind of related, Axel.

  16. It is possible that more than 1 person in the world of football had heard of and seen Tiote play before!!!!

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