There’s no doubt that Chief Scout Graham Carr has been a huge cog in the seemingly successful wheel of Newcastle United over the last 18 months or so.
Graham Carr – talent spotter in chief
Graham is essentially doing the job Dennis Wise was being paid £1M a year to do back in 2008, and the only difference is that graham is doing a much better job than Dennis.
And while we’re sure Graham is not getting the kind of money that attracted Dennis up to the cold and distant Newcastle, his skill in getting players like Cheick Tiote, Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye Sylvain Marveaux and others shows his great worth to the club.
And Newcastle have signed the 67 year-old up to a five year deal, and that’s very good to hear.
Graham is a Geordie and his son Alan, TV’s Chatty Man is one of Britain’s most popular comedians, and Graham has been the lead in ferreting out of talent in the French league.
That has so far been a happy hunting ground for Newcastle, and there will no doubt be more players on the way in January, to further strengthen the Newcastle squad.
And the Newcastle fans seem to appreciate the fine work Graham has done for the club as they chant:
“In Graham Carr we trust”
Of course Graham will never be at the ground much on match days, or very rarely, as his job is to talent spot around Europe, and mostly in France.
It seems that Graham was at Newcastle when I was playing for the Juniors (Newcastle N’s in those days) back in 1960, and he’s just one month older than me.
And of course a certain Bobby Moncur was in his first year at the club,. coming down from Scotland after playing for the Scotland schoolboys up there, and he was a leader even then.
This is what Graham says about those days of old:
“There was a problem. I was a defender and there was another boy vying with me in those days. Someone called Bobby Moncur.”
I cannot say I remember Graham when I was at Newcastle as a teenager, but he’s now back at his home town club, and doing a fabulous job, and this is what he had to say in the People today in what is a great interview, where he provides several insights into how Newcastle operate:
“Our strategy is quite clear. We have realistic targets. We are not going to pay £20M for anybody.” “What we are looking for are good players at the right age and at the right price.”
“Have we signed too many Frenchmen?” “It’s easy to get to northern France because only 60 miles from Calais are three teams, Lille, Lens and Valenciennes, and you find that you can take in two or three matches with one visit.”
“Like Johan Cabaye, Ben Arfa is a full French international and he is obviously a good player. We got a tip-off and we moved in quickly to get him first on loan.”
“I’ve been watching Cabaye since he was 18. I liked him so much I asked Chris Hughton to come along with me when he was boss to watch him. But the asking price by Lille was then £10m, which was out of our reach.”
“We heard he had a get-out clause and again that was all we needed.” “Then there is Sylvain Marveaux.” “We had been monitoring him for 10 months and we had a meeting on the Quayside in Newcastle and it was decided to go for him.”
“Whenever I saw Tiote he always impressed me. He always gave 100 per cent and he has a great attitude. He can also play a bit.” “Alan Pardew and the rest of the coaching staff have got them organised. We are not giving goals away like we used to.”
“And once the defense has done its job, we have the flair players at the other end of the field.” “Not only that, but we have a much stronger subs’ bench these days.”
“Things have all changed since I was a manager,” “Managers do not have the time to go scouting like we did in my day. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job for them.”
“We are working on some new signings.” “Everybody has their say, everything is out in the open and I have to say it has all worked out OK.” “Obviously, as far as financial decisions are concerned, Mike Ashley has the final word.”
“I can only speak for myself but they are fantastic people to work for.” “And, if I left Newcastle tomorrow, nothing could happen that would make me change my mind.”
Of course Graham Carr has not only been in football all his life, but he has also shown that unique and rare ability to spot a good player before he has fully developed.
And those types of skilled people are absolutely golden at places like Newcastle, which is now a club willing to invest big time in youth, and are unwilling to pay out stupidly large fees for average mature players.
That’s what we used to do, and we weren’t all that successful, but who knows Newcastle could be on their way to one of their best teams in a long long time.
We hope so.