Fatty Man – The full Graham Carr Talksport interview transcribed.

Posted on April 3rd, 2012 | 10 Comments |

Graham Carr.
Carr (circled) in his Telford United heyday.
Newcastle United chief scout, Graham “Fatty Man” Carr, the less than svelte father of Alan, has, of course, built something of a reputation amongst Magpies fans for his player spotting abilties.

Carr, a Northumbrian who was born in Corbridge like Steve Bruce, was brought into the club in February of 2010 by previous manager, Chris Hughton, renewing a working relationship they had at Tottenham, where Carr was brought in as a scout by Tottenham’s then Director of Football, David Pleat. Since then of course, his reputation has gone from strength to strength on Tyneside with the quality of players signed since he took control of Newcastle United’s scouting department. This interview for Talksport was conducted by Adrian Durham and ex Yorkshire and England cricket legend, Darren Gough, for the station’s “Drivetime” slot yesterday evening.

Below is a written transcription of the whole interview, well, minus a tiny “chatty” bit at the end about Alan Carr’s lack of football skills as a bairn.

Adrian Durham: “So describe exacly what your job is, Graham.”

Graham Carr: “I’m the Chief Scout at Newcastle. I went there with Chris Hughton in February, I’ve been there just over two years and basically, I’m just recruiting players.”

Adrian Durham: “So you, I’ve got a list of players here who have come in and done really well: Cabaye has come in, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote, Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, a whole list of players, and everybody knows how well they’ve done at Newcastle this season. You went to see all of these before Newcastle signed them, is that right?”

Graham Carr: “Aye, I’ve been doing the job for fourteen years you know. I was at Tottenham for five years, chief scout at Manchester City for seven, and I’ve been mostly in Europe as well, so I’ve been been “on the job” for quite a long time, Adrian. So it’s just those players that came along, Cheick Tiote was available at the right price, at the right time. Hatem Ben Arfa had played in the national side for France, we got him on loan, that was during Christmas time. Then we’ve had Cabaye and Cisse come in, and Sylvain Marveaux who hasn’t played yet. Those are the players I was involved with.”

Darren Gough: “Graham, can I ask you a question on the players? As a Chief Scout, do you get said to by the manager, or whoever, ‘Listen, we’ve got a budget of ten million for a striker, but we’d prefer to get him for cheaper. Do you get a budget to go out and get someone for that price? Or do you just have a look around, you see someone, you invest in what price he’s going for and decide whether the club would benefit from having him?”

Graham Carr: “I think at Newcastle that we haven’t been able to pay the big fees, so, Darren, we’ve gone for what you might call realistic targets, you know. But I just go and watch matches. I go and pick up three matches in Holland, three in France over the weekend, or midweek, or in Germany and I get a list of names together, sit down with the manager, Derek Llambias and Lee Charnley and our staff and we discuss them. Then, if we think we want to sign one then Lee Charnley goes and gets a price for him.”

Adrian Durham: “That’s alot of games you’re watching, what a great job! But there is pressure on you as well, I mean you’ve got to come up with the right players. If you recommend somebody who doesn’t do it in the first team, then one presumes that may reflect on you?”

Graham Carr: “Well it does and to be fair, I’m from Newcassel y’knaa, so I think it’s more pressure on me because, without the football, quite alot of people know me up there, and you know what it’s like. I’d probably get some stick if a bad player came in you know!”

Adrian Durham: “There are some really talented players that have been brought in on your recommendation. Are you surprised at how well those players have done in the first team, and generally how well Newcastle are doing, bearing in mind some of the players who had to leave as well?”

Graham Carr: “I think Alan Pardew’s done a great job because he’s actually organised the side into a winning side. Cheick Tiote has improved. Hatem Ben Arfa, he was a little bit temperamental in France. He’s a talented player who played for the French national side two years ago. He had a problem, he fell asleep on the bench when he was at Lyon. But I think Alan Pardew’s putting an arm around him now and has got him playing to his true capabilities. Yohan Cabaye had a get out clause in his contract which was a major signing for us. He was valued at £10 million, but we found out he had a clause for £4.5 million, so that really gave us the green light to go out and sign him and the club worked hard, actually, to get him. Papiss Cisse scored twenty odd goals two years ago in the Bundesliga. He was liked by Bayern Munich, They wanted £15 million when we first enquired (he actually had a buyout clause in his contract of roughly that amount – wt), and then it was twelve, and we actually got him for eight in the last window which we thought was value for money.”

Darren Gough: “Graham, how many times do you watch these players? Do you know as soon as you see a player around the world, do you think ‘Yeah, were havin’ him, he’ll fit into Newcastle’s game?’ Or do you think ‘I’m going to come back here next week. Nobody’s really spotted this guy, I’m going to come back and watch him next week, and the week after. When do you make that decision?”

Graham Carr: “I saw Papiss Cisse play for Metz when he first came over from Senegal. Metz have sort of a school, and they take quite alot of Sengalese players, but he didn’t have a passport at the time. I was working for Manchester City at the time, he didn’t have a passport to come into the UK. So that ruled him out. Cheick Tiote was in Holland, Roda (Kerkrade and Enschede are in the Netherlands, Graham, not Holland ye daft Geordie! – wt), before he went to play with Steve McClaren at FC.Twente. So I’ve seen him over a period of time.

“I think, Darren, if you go and watch any team in Yorkshire, a team that you support, and you watch a player every week, you know who the best players are.”

Darren Gough: “Oh yeah, there’s no do doubt. I was just wondering with football, because there’s so much money, no disrespect to Cricket but there’s not many going to go for ten million quid. Cricketers, I mean we see Pieterson, $2 million in the IPL (Indian Premier League), but we’re talking footballers here which you’ve gone out.. I mean it’s a bargain at the moment, Cisse at £9 million. Absolute bargain!”

Graham Carr: “The club have got to take alot of credit y’knaa, Derek Llambias who works hard, Mike Ashley, they’ve put the money there, they’ve took the necessary stick from the supporters y’knaa. On the outside looking in, I was a bit, y’knaa, what’s happened at Newcastle in the past. But, y’knaa, since I’ve been in there working for them, I can’t speak too highly of them.”

Darren Gough: “Can I just ask you a question as well on your manager, Pardew? You mentioned earlier with Andy Carroll, he talked about how the grass isn’t any greener. Listen, we all know that, we all make mistakes in our careers but saying that, without the sale of Andy Carroll for £35 million, you probably wouldn’t have had the budget to go out and get some of these players, would you?”

Graham Carr: “No, I don’t think so. At the time I was in Newcastle, the last hours when the Andy Carroll deal went through, and there was plenty clubs ringing us up to try and spend. But we stuck by our guns, we didn’t waste the money. We waited for another day which I thought was very important.”

The final of the interview then briefly turned to the shocking revelation that Graham’s son, Alan “Chatty Man” Carr was awful at football, “had no co-ordination whatsoever” and “couldn’t trap a bag of wet cement” etc and that was it. So, I’ll leave it at that! If you’re desparate, you can hear the last bit here.

Carr’s career has certainly come a long way since this interview video (below) from his less than glorious career as a manager. His Kettering Town side had just been hammered 4-1 by the mighty Bromsgrove Rovers in the “Bob Lord Trophy” Final!

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1091 articles on this blog.

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10 Responses

  1. the main reason we are in the position right now, thanks to carr with his scouting we can look to some very talented players coming in on the cheap. He has done so well in finding players that the down side is that other clubs are wanting them. Hopefully the players see that the future is better at Newcastle then at some money bagging club and potentially sit on the bench for the whole season.

  2. To be fair, hes done a wonderful job but to say hes the main reason is a bit unfair. Identifying a player is one thing but actually getting them in front of press with their name on a black and white shirt is another. Its so difficult to sign players these days so we have to also credit Charnley and, yes, hard as it is, llambias and ashley. Ive been as enraged as anyone by them but they have put a system in place, took the flak and stuck to it and look at us now. As much of a great job Carrs done in identifying players, hes a cog in the system created by the regime.

  3. In Carr i trust, he brought in our own Messi(HBA) i ope he manage to bring in C.Ronaldo(Hoillet jr) of B’burn

  4. We’re in the position we are now because Ashley sold Carroll for £35m…. yer heard it from the horses mouth there… so think it’s about time some folk got off Ashleys back & started to back him, who know what might happen… lol

  5. A realy good and thought provoking post worky, well done.
    We certainly live in interesting times!
    When I read things like this, look at the growing quality of our team, see our league position and the solid work being done on youth development – then I am impressed by our management.

    But then I remember what repulsive personalities we are involved with and the cynical cockups and PR contempt we have been subjected to
    – the cockney maffia fiasco, the treatment of KK & CH, the insults to our traditions & feelings
    – and in my guts I worry about what realy lies ahead, and fear that this great work is not being done to (as we hope) create an outstanding team winning things
    – but as a money generating machine.

    I don’t know which way it will go. If we keep up this success and the team develops then all may be well – but I can’t help feeling we are being conned.

    I suppose only time will tell – so do I forget the past & give them the benefit of the doubt?
    OK – perhaps I’m a mug (no fool like an old fool) – I’ll fall for it with resevations
    – (deep breath, fingers crossed) the management have done well, we are now a well run club, I couldn’t be more pleased. Well done everyone! HWTL

    Ah well, even Stalin fooled the world for 20 years, and there’s still plenty today who would have him back.

  6. Toon69 says:
    April 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

    “We’re in the position we are now because Ashley sold Carroll for £35m…. yer heard it from the horses mouth there… so think it’s about time some folk got off Ashleys back & started to back him”

    Er, surely you mean get off Carroll’s back, Toon69?

  7. Like Graham I to was born in Corbridge in1944 and also live in Northampton and have seen the ups and downs of our beloved passion that is NUFC in all that time.
    I for one think that the transformation that has occurred in the short time Mike Ashley has had the tenure of the club and the even shorter time Alan Pardew has been in charge of the team is nothing short of brilliant. Mistakes were made but it would appear that MA as a business man learnt from the lessons from the mistakes and rectified them in true business fashion. I now think the whole management team from top to bottom are all pulling in the same direction and that NUFC will soon be the envy and example for most league football clubs both financially and team wise. Well done to all and I look forward to seeing what ht next five years brings.

  8. I agree that the progress made has been nothing short of astonishing and fantastic to watch and praise should be leveled in the direction of Carr, Pardew and especially the players themselves who have picked themselves up every time something knocked us and got back on with it.

    Th only wobble we really had this season was as a result of both Centre Halves getting injured in the same game and it ruined November. It has taken pretty much until now to be able to jiggle about with the pairings and be left with some kind of acceptable defensive duo. Even then I am not completely happy since Williamson and Krul have had a massive misunderstanding in BOTH the last two games since Colo has been out.

    So make at least one centre half a priority, finish in 6th or even 7th place and YES…I will be overjoyed with this season

    All of that said………..

    BUT I cannot under any circumstances tolerate that man Llambias at the club. He, just like Hall Jr and Fat Freddy before him, have dragged the name of the club through the mud repeatedly. He should be ashamed of his behaviour and go.