Graham Carr's departure has solved a problem at Newcastle
Graham Carr has finally left Newcastle United '“ but should he have left a year ago?
Carr, the club's chief scout, had been expected to stand down last summer.
He didn't. He stayed.
Benitez was asked about Carr at a press conference last May after agreeing to manage the club in the Championship.
And his response was lukewarm, at best.
Asked about Carr, United's manager said: “What I have is the conviction that I can tell the fans that they don’t need to be worried about that.
“We will try to bring the best players possible, and we will try to have a very strong squad.
“I will take responsibility if we need to do it.
“I have had different meetings with different people, and I am quite happy. We will work hard and improve the team as much as we want.
“I don’t have any problem (with Carr).
“I don’t want to talk about that, because it is the first press conference, but you will see that we can work hard and we can improve the team and it will not be a problem.”
Benitez, given the final say on incoming transfers during talks that summer, had his ideas.
And Carr – whose departure is understood to be amicable – had his own ideas.
Carr had some notable successes during his time at St James's Park.
The media release issued by Newcastle last night cited Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy, Vurnon Anita, Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote as players Carr brought to the club.
Carr's expertise and connections, notably in the French market, made United a lot of money.
Only last summer, Sissoko, bought for around Â£2million, was sold to Tottenham Hotspur for Â£30million.
Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley said: "He can count some of Newcastle’s most successful players in recent years as his ‘finds’."
Charnley is right.
But Carr's success rate had dipped in recent years.
And the club statement made no mention of Emmanuel Riviere, Henri Saivet, Sylvain Marveaux, Florian Thauvin and Remy Cabella. There were others, too.
Riviere, an expensive mistake, has three years left on his deal, while Siem de Jong – who is not in Benitez's plans – is also under contract until 2020.
Benitez said he didn't have a "problem" with Carr.
But there were tensions behind the scenes before and during the January transfer window.
Carr watched the club's third-round FA Cup tie against Birmingham City at St Andrew's that month with owner Mike Ashley.
Unlike Carr, Benitez didn't have a direct line to Ashley, who was reluctant to sanction any significant spending midway through the Championship campaign.
Ashley listened to Carr. But was Benitez's voice being heard?
Benitez, in the end, was left disappointed by the club's failure to strengthen his squad, and Carr's continuing presence at the club seemingly became a problem.
It was time for the 72-year-old to move on.
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