Could the man responsible for identifying some of Newcastle's best players be forced out of the club?
At the beginning of last season I wrote the following about Newcastle United:
Last year’s surprise package have a lot to do to get even close to those remarkable achievements. But firstly: a word on Graham Carr. Don’t know him? Well you should.
As Newcastle’s chief scout he has pointed Alan Pardew in the direction of, among others, Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye. Players bought for pennies (and in some cases not even that) who turned out to be the epitome of the word ‘bargain’.
And now that same man is rumoured to be on the verge of leaving St James’ Park, at the end of another befuddling week in Mike Ashley Land.
Of course it is only a rumour; and one with no proof beyond the ripples of consternation growing with every new Ashley edict. But following the resignation of managing director Derek Llambias, there is a sense of who goes next?
In the immediate aftermath of the appointment of Joe Kinnear as Newcastle’s director of football, Pardew vowed to remain.
“I am staying,” he said, “to take the club up the league.”
It wasn’t a sound-bite, just a statement of cold-hard fact.
In a strange way, Kinnear’s appointment may force Pardew into becoming a better manager, because he won’t want to walk away no matter how closely Kinnear’s shadow looms over him. But Carr has already been undermined in a way he is not used to.
Having all but agreed a deal for long-term target Douglas, Kinnear pulled the plug, reportedly because he didn’t know enough about the Brazilian-born Dutchman to sanction a move; which raises two main questions.
Firstly, how can a director of football know so little about a player who has racked up over 100 appearances in the Eredivisie?
And secondly, if Carr is no longer trusted to do his job without a second opinion, why wait around to be overruled by a man who hasn’t been at the game’s coal-face for years?
The simple fact is, clubs would be queuing up for Carr’s services were he available. And as Newcastle continue their one-club comedy routine, men of such talent and professionalism are unlikely to wait around to become the next punch-line.
For once the loss of a player may not be what hurts the club the most. This time it could be the loss of the man who finds them.
How important is Carr to the long-term future of the club?
image: © mickyb59