Graham Carr reveals 5 gems he told NUFC to sign & exposes Mike Ashley & Lee Charnley

Our former Chief Scout Graham Carr has conducted a brutally honest and fascinating interview about his seven year spell at NUFC.

In an ‘exclusive’ chat with the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope, he reveals why it was so hard at times to succeed under Ashley, his best and worst signings – as well as the ‘ones that got away’ three years on from his departure.

He also goes into detail about the remorseless way he was treated after he lost his job in the summer of 2017 – with Lee Charnley saying “Cheerio Graham” as he passed him in the corridor following his dismissal. There are certainly some shocking revelations!

First of all, he revealed some of the players that he had scouted for NUFC – who went on to do bigger and better things after the club’s hierarchy decided not to pursue them:

“If the club were honest and went through the records… Hakim Ziyech, Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison.

“I saw Raphael Varane play for Lens when he was 17 and I called Derek Llambias (managing director) that night.”

“You recommend them, but then you just don’t know what happens sometimes.”

‘Mike and I went to Saint-Etienne to watch (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang. Mike just said, ‘Who am I watching?’

You recommend them, but then you just don’t know what happens sometimes.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could’ve been some signing from St-Etienne – only for the NUFC owner to turn to budget options instead and sign Emmanuel Riviere!

We could sit and postulate for hours about what might’ve been if we had’ve seen any of these top quality players arrive on Tyneside over the last decade – so I’ll move on!

The ‘Super Scout’ goes onto mention that Yohan Cabaye was his best recruit for Newcastle – saying the Frenchman was ‘tough’, but “what a player” – with Emmanuel Rivière taking the unfortunate spoils of being his worst.

On Rivière, he adds:

If you’re shopping at Tesco, then you’re going to make more mistakes than if you’re shopping at Waitrose, aren’t you?”

A line that sums up the vast majority of the Mike Ashley’s flawed approach in the transfer window!

Clearly he rarely got his first choice targets – hence why the world class players listed above never arrived at NUFC – but he did find so many diamonds in the rough.

According to The Mail, he names his top FIVE buys as Cabaye (£4.8m), Ben Arfa (£5.4m), Tiote (£3.5m), Sissoko (£1.8m) and Wijnaldum (£14m).

Mike Ashley’s draconian transfer laws made it hard for him to fully appreciate Carr’s ability as a scout, with it also widely reported that he’d also recommended the likes of Dimitri Payet, Dele Alli, Blaise Matuidi and Kevin Gameiro before they made it big in Europe.

Alongside ignoring his primary targets, Carr also reveals that Ashley would ‘laugh’ at him for suggesting spending £10 million on a 29 year old – an approach he appears to have temporarily scrapped this summer after spending £20 million on a 28 year old Callum Wilson two weeks ago!

Here’s what he had to say about Mike Ashley, his transfer policy and what he was really like to work with during a frustrating spell at St James’:

“Mike sometimes called by here with the helicopter. He’d sit where you are, having a slice of toast.

“I learned you had to be positive with Mike, convince him. One of my first dealings with him, I was in North Shields with my wife and was told to be ready for a conference call.

“I panicked, I’d never been on one, I was driving around the coast charging my phone! We started talking about Ben Arfa. Mike had this thing with a 4-4-2, first-team players on £40k a week and understudies on £20k.

“He couldn’t understand why we’d want Hatem and Jonas Gutierrez, two left wingers, on £40k. I knew Hatem could be brilliant, so I cut in, ‘He’s a No 10, actually, and he can cut in from the right’. That was it, done.

“But he had this plan — buy them younger than 25, with sell-on value. If I asked him to spend £10m on a 29-year-old, he’d laugh at me. Over time, that plan hasn’t worked. But I do believe that he meant well.

“It baffles me to this day why the club did not kick on.”

“It wasn’t in my hands, sometimes you just don’t know why. That disappointed me.”

Despite the tough circumstances he worked through in his seven years, he’s solely responsible for bringing in the majority of our best players of the last 10 years. Demba Ba, Cheick Tiote, Pappis Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Ayoze Perez just to name a few!

The way that Carr’s exit was treated by the club, considering this monumental contribution and seven years of service was nothing short of abysmal.

He recounts his interaction with Lee Charnley on the day he lost his job, also revealing how Rafa Benitez’s arrival cost him his job:

“Benitez wanted to do it his way. I went into the boardroom and Rafa was with the head of HR, that was me done.

“I walked down the corridor and Lee Charnley (managing director) said,

“Cheerio, Graham”.

“I just kept walking.

“It was sad the way it turned out, especially when you love the club. And I do miss it, a lot.”

A pathetic way to say goodbye to a man who made the club millions; but that’s just the sad way our club is ran at times.

I for one, could not respect Graham Carr enough for everything he has done for NUFC and believe he could’ve built us one hell of a side had Mike Ashley backed him with his top target.

OK, it reached a point when there was Riviere or Yanga-Mbiwa for every Cabaye and Ben Arfa, but you’re not going to get them right every time under an owner who spent no more than £14m (Wijnaldum!) on a single player during Carr’s seven-year stint at St James’ Park!

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2 thoughts on “Graham Carr reveals 5 gems he told NUFC to sign & exposes Mike Ashley & Lee Charnley

  1. Sure we could have bought players like Varane at 17, but even if we had done it’s not as if they’d have been coached right with. Can you imagine Joe Kinnear, Pardew etc trying to improve young players with that much potential. I’m sure some of them would have been so talented they’d still be good players, but probably not as good as they would have been with better coaching. Ironically probably one of the worst managers we had in McClaren is supposedly the best coach on the training ground. He never should have stopped being a number 2.


  2. what do you expect from Ashley but Ashley lost out big as them players could have been sold on at a big fee so some good comes from it anyway


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