Friday, June 17, 2005

Value for money?

Following Scott Parker's £6.5m move from Chelsea to Tyneside earlier in the week, we contacted someone who's used to watching him week in week out - Inspector Sands of Charlton blog All Quiet In The East Stand - for his thoughts on the player:

"At Charlton, the bruises left by having Parker wrenched from us in 2004 still haven't properly faded yet. We lost a tough midfielder who wasn't afraid to throw throw everything at winning every ball - never mind every game. Even if he failed to win the ball, he'd chase and chase and chase until he got it. When we sold Mark Kinsella to Aston Villa in summer 2002, some felt it was a rash gamble on Alan Curbishley's part. But the truth was, Parker was outgunning him in every department. He got better and better - but it was our 4-2 defeat of Chelsea on Boxing Day which proved to be the turning point.

It's widely believed Parker was tapped up by Chelsea not long after that game. After a defeat of Wolves a couple of weeks later, he confronted chairman Richard Murray - and that was it. He refused to train, and by the end of the month he was gone on a £10 million deal (later to increase thanks to the Carlton Cole loan fiasco).

Parker's transfer was a nightmare for us, but few journalists have explored how it was a professional tragedy for him - he was happy to treble his wages, but his career went nowhere. His England career stalled, Claudio Ranieri played him out of position, Jose Mourinho bollocked him in public at an airport. All for £45,000 (or is it now £55,000?) a week.

Newcastle were one of the few clubs who could match that inflated Chelsea wage bill. He's actually a Spurs fan - but there's no way Tottenham would cough up for a player who's spent the best part of 18 months doing sod all. Especially considering the foot injury which put Parker out of action earlier this year, will he be a shadow of the player who dazzled Charlton fans two seasons ago - or will Newcastle have an attacking midfielder in the best years of his career? I'm sure the Toon army will be quick to let him know. What The Valley will make of him when Newcastle next visit is another story altogether.

Thanks to Inspector Sands.

For my part (it was Paul who wrote the post below announcing he'd signed), it could be an excellent deal for the club. Fans on Chelsea Blog seem disappointed he's been allowed to leave, and we had so many underperforming midfielders last year that he can surely only make a positive impact.

That said, money is an obvious factor - Spurs and Everton would probably have baulked at the transfer fee alone, and £55,000 a week over five years is an awfully big financial outlay. Does that make him a mercenary? Well, he might be at St James's Park for the cash, but as long as he does a good job then I don't think we'd be too concerned. (The move also allays fears that our failure to qualify for Europe automatically and our pathetic league display would hamper our efforts in the transfer market - it seems that players can be blinded to the mess they're walking into if you hold enough banknotes up in front of their eyes...)

One last thought: there was certainly no need to bullshit about it being Souness who persuaded him to make the move - I mean, who's going to believe that?


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