Made for role at Sunderland; Rumoured new scout Tony Coton has been honing a seriously useful skill

Former goalkeeper Tony Coton is supposedly being lined up to become a scout at the d

by Brandon_Rawlin Monday, 04 June 2018 07:52 AM Comments

Former goalkeeper Tony Coton is supposedly being lined up to become a scout at the developing structure at Sunderland. His background makes him uniquely placed to solve one of the biggest challenges at the club right now.  

Tony Coton looked a decent goalkeeper during his brief spell at Sunderland. Indeed, Peter Reid has always suggested that the former Man City stopper was the best 'keeper he worked with during his golden years as manager of the Mackems. 

Coton's playing spell on Wearside was cut short by a nasty leg break and after moving into a coaching role, his eventual departure was somewhat acrimonious after taking legal action against the club. 

Since he departed Sunderland in 1998, Coton has gone on to become an agent and a scout at clubs like Wigan and Bolton. 

But it's his most recent role at Aston Villa which should have Sunderland fans welcoming his supposed arrival at the club in a scouting capacity. Coton was hired by the West Midlands club in 2015 to be "head of goalkeeper recruitment". 

A specialist goalkeeping scout! Never in the history of football has a club needed such an expert after the season which the Black Cats have just endured. 

No one needs reminding of the horrors which Lee Camp, Jason Steele and Robbin Ruiter put Sunderland fans through as the club was relegated from League One. That drop into the third tier was in no small part due to the inability of the Black Cats three goalkeepers to avoid embarrassing themselves. 

Prior to last term, Sunderland had quite the proud history of unearthing decent stoppers. This year's World Cup will be proof of that when Jordan Pickford takes his place as England's number one. 

But, add to him the likes of Simon Mignolet and Thomas Sorenson. Then add to them Craig Gordon, Shay Given, Martin Fulop, Mart Poom and Mika and you have a moderate hall of fame. And that's before you consider Jimmy Montgomery. 

Coton has become much more than solely a goalkeeping specialist though. He has most recently been working as Villa's UK head of recruitment and given recent years at Sunderland, many had been wondering whether the club employed any sort of scouting regime at all. 

Indeed, the last couple of seasons have been an absolute disaster in the talent spotting department, as seemingly Martin Bain installed himself as football guru alongside his day job of chief executive. 

Even in the latter days of last season, the now departed executive was boasting of the agents he had been speaking to in order to bring in players for next season. The mind boggles at who was lined up after the last lot of recruitment disasters he had tried to gloat about before it quickly became apparent none were fit for purpose. 

It's early days of course, but this whole concept of bringing in people with pedigree and nous is taking a while to get used to in the new Sunderland regime. Especially given the years of farce which have gone before.