Once the spymaster supreme, the dictator of Newcastle’s recruitment, Graham Carr is now a king without a throne.
The long overdue announcement that Paul Baker had been appointed United’s European scout with Steve Nickson the other influential recruitment officer appears to leave Carr stranded.
Yet not that long ago Carr pulled so many strings behind the scenes working owner Mike Ashley’s blue print policy of signing players not yet 26 and selling on at a profit.
Ashley handed Carr a mind boggling eight year contract – there is still three to run – and we girded our loins for more players to arrive from France.
There were the odd successes – Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, and maybe even Vurnon Anita for example – but many more failures. Take a deep breath and run through these examples: Florian Thauvin, Henri Saivet, Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella, Manu Riviere, Roman Amafitano, Mehdi Abeid, Sylvain Marveaux. I’m sure you get the picture.
However once Rafa Benitez arrived Carr’s days of power wilted considerably. As a Spaniard who has managed extensively abroad Rafa knows the Continent and knows who he wants and doesn’t want. He persuaded Ashley to abandon his policy of signing by the birth certificate and now merely aims for quality not players who will make a profit.
Paul Baker is yet another Wallsend Boys Club success story. A strong and aggressive centre-forward he played for the likes of Hartlepool, Carlise and Southampton, managed in local non-league football, and scouted for Glenn Roeder at Norwich.