With no manager, sorry ‘head coach’, in place and a managing director who looks like he would be more comfortable holding a stapler than lacing up a pair of Predators. It seems that the majority of the early running in the football decisions made on Barrack Road, will fall to the only senior figure who actually knows anything about football, Graham Carr.

If you only think about players such as Cabaye and the early days of Tiote, then you might say that this is not a bad thing, whereas if you also consider some of the more recent recommendations from our chief scout then you could be forgiven for not having absolute faith.

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Signings/acquisitions such as Riviere and Cabella have done little to enhance the reputation of our once lauded Chief Scout, although it has to be said that Janmaat and Perez seem capable after their first season. Though contrast that again with perennially Injured Siem De Jong, and the decidedly pedestrian Vurnon Anita and you get the picture.

For every high there is a deep low, the average being mediocrity. Surely then it is no surprise that a bloke with such a penchant for the average has allegedly had no hesitation in giving his full support to the candidacy of his good friend Schteve to take over the first team?

Obviously last season’s stumble over the line on the last day of the season has had the effect of setting fan ambitions at an all-time low, with many of us expecting an almost certain dance macabre with relegation from day one of the 2015/16 season.

So the cynic in me has to question whether a season of mediocrity, never close to relegation but never close to seriously challenging for anything, would be greeted like a long lost friend inside the walls of St James’ Park?

Moving that on a stage further, in the eyes of the owner and the board, wouldn’t a season of turmoil like we have just endured be the perfect catalyst to dramatically realign the club’s ambitions, and not necessarily in the positive manner which many seemed to think that owner’s interview alluded to?

If you spent a week buried neck deep in horse manure then to spend the following week only knee deep would be a joyous improvement would it not?

Thankfully it seems that the club employs a specialist in mediocrity, and he now has the task of picking players who could be great, could be dreadful and will undoubtedly average out to be ok at best for the mediocre coach (whom he also had a say on choosing).

To build an average side which will thoroughly ensure no more heart stopping moments of triumph or tragedy for the owner, board, players or fans. To put it another way, the autopilot that nearly caused us to nosedive into the Championship last year has been upgraded to a model that knows only how to maintain altitude, it can’t land (a trophy) or climb (the league).

graham carr

As a kid I used to wonder just how dull it must be to support Aston Villa or Everton, two teams who seemed to perennially finish around 9th and 10th during my youth, well I guess that we might be about to find out.

If you think about it, to attain the ultimate middle of the league status is the biggest win which the owner could possibly achieve.

We would maximise Premier League placement money with the allowed budget of non-investment, attract no sympathy from outside the region because “you’re doing ok, stop being deluded.”

It would quell fan unrest by removing the threat of relegation and never jeopardise the revenue streams.

Genius really, attainment through lack of effort, based on the footballing judgment of a bloke who used to manage Northampton. Only in the realm of Mad Mike could this become reality.

  • Alltomuch

    Sadly I think your correct
    Why not invest and make a real go of it.
    It will bring in more money anyway

  • jimileysbaldyheed

    What planet do you live on. The top 6ish in the prem is a gimme every season for the mega rich the Europa league no body wants so most of us would take boring mediocrity so long as its achieved with a little bit flair.Except for the odd brief flirtation with actually winning something supporting them has always been about heart ache and pain. Always will be and why have a go at Carr for getting some calls right and others wrong Thats what lifes about mate. QPR and Hull invested last season didnt do them much good

  • kev1664

    Car is hamstrung by Ashley. You only have to look as far as the players we have missed out on because of the owners unwillingness to spend an extra million or two.
    Lacazette, Bony, Aubameyang, Lukaku, Tadic, Clyne, Remy(to an extent, as we never signed him) all players who’ve went on to rocket in ability and value since we wouldn’t go that extra mile for them.
    If you give this guy his top choices it would almost always turn out well. If you continue to try to get him to work miracles on avereage players for cheap fees and wages, or perennial injured quality players then your more than likely going to get duds.
    I also think there would be / would have been a lot more to come from some of the players if they were coached properly and were used in their correct position. Cabella has had his best games in the number 10 role but has been stuck out on the wing for the majority of his appearances, the record of 2013-2014 with mbiwa at centre half was much better than any other player playing there, we conceded less, scored more and won more.
    We need mcclaren and Carr on the same page for a start, then we need to allow the pair of them to work with the budget (£50-60million on fees, £20 million on wages) we have to provide fees and wages necessary to get our top targets, if that means we sign 4-5 or real quality players instead of buying 8-9 chancers who we won’t be able to get rid of for years then so be it. It’s the only way to improve.

  • Peter Lamb

    That would be an upswing cos we are lower than mediocre.

  • Opiner1

    Our recent signings have been pretty poor but it is well known that Riviere for example was not the top choice of Carr. He had recommended the likes of Aubameyang, Bony and Lacazette but the club wouldn’t pay the money which led to us going further down the list for the cheaper option. I don’t think Carr is some kind of genius but in his time here he has recommended plenty of quality players that we’ve either overlooked because they wanted decent money, or we’ve signed them and misused them and/or sold them on. At one point in Pardew’s miserable reign we could have been fielding this team:
    Debuchy    MYM      Colo — Santon
            Sissoko             Cabaye
    Ben Arfa                                Remy

    Nobody can say that team doesn’t have enough quality to have a decent crack at European qualification, and most of them were signed on Carr’s recommendation. Unfortunately the muppet in charge never had the balls to play that team on a regular basis.

  • Happyharrys2011

    Graham Carr should pi$$ off with the rest of them. He is as big a joker as his son with some of the dross he has signed.

  • DownUnderMag

    Considering he’s had to rake around the bargain bins for talent I think Carr has done exceptionally well.  As Opiner1 says, if he recommends the club go for Bony and the owner is too tight to pay the going rate then you can’t exactly blame Carr for that one.
    How many decent players have we had because of Carr and seen them sold on, played out of position or huffed by the manager and loaned out??  He’s not got them all right fair enough, but considering the owners remit of spending as little as humanely possible I think Carr is working wonders!  
    Hopefully it will help having a manager he knows who will actually player players in the right position/role (I mean come on…Riviere and Perez are NOT lone strikers so why did Pardew and Carver think they could suddenly expect them to turn into Andy Carroll overnight?

  • DownUnderMag

    kev1664 exactly, it seems Ashley expects a Cabaye situation every transfer now.  Shows how clueless he is about football.

  • desree

    This is an unfair article I believe. Carr recommended Bony, Remy, Grenier, lacazette and aboumeyang. He also had deals lined up for Douglas and the fella that went to Swansea (not Bony). SDJ looks quality if we can get him fit.
    Anita hasn’t been great but Janmaat and Debuchy have. Riviere was bought for potential and whilst the lad doesn’t have a finishing touch Cisse went through the same issue in his first full season.
    Pound for pound Carr is as good as there is.

  • NicholasDryden

    ‘Being led in to mediocrity? 
    I think that boat sailed  a long time ago!!!

  • ncncnc

    how about a transfer to man city or chelsea for yourself notts toon? every article moans about not being in the top 6 – you can tell when you started supporting the club.

  • Mal44

    I think the thing missing from your article is the lack of quality that there has been in the coaching. I have for a long time had the feeling that some of our allegedly mediocre players might actually be quite good if they were played in their correct positions and in a team with a more positive mindset. Why, for example, is Sissoko so good for France yet so inconsistent for us? As someone below mentioned the way that Riviere and Perez have been played as loan strikers, with absolutely no support, is a joke. Has Anita being used properly? I’m interested to see if our new Head Coach has a positive impact on what we’ve already got, notwithstanding the need for significant investment in the squad generally.

  • Toonloony 1971

    Happyharrys2011 Graham is a decent bloke who has perforemd wonders under the current structure, players dont lose ability overnight, they just need motivating and coaching properly!! Pardew and Carver couldnt motivate an alcoholic to have a beer FFS!! Give the man credit and see what happens with a different coach!!!

  • Toonloony 1971

    Having seen how Yanga Mbwia has flourished at Roma and how Harris Vukic has done at Rangers (all but a lower level) it goes to show in my mind that the last two coaches have been responsible for the lack of performance from our players. If you look at where Pardew and Carver have played members of the squad out of position like Cabella for instance, it is no surprise that Graham’s signings can look a bit suspect.
    I actually think MClaren will do a decent job at the Toon, I am hopeful he can get Tiote back to his former standard anstart getting the most out of what we have!! A nice injection of 5 or 6 quality players will give us a real shot at a decent league positioin and possibly a decent cup run. I mean he did it at ‘borough so it may not be too far fetched.
    In conclusion I would say get off Carr’s back and lets give  MClaren a chance, if in 10 months we are staring down the barrell of the Championship, then come back on here and tell me you told me so…….

  • nev fur

    I actually enjoy us being in the Europa league and have not yet been conned into the idea that it’s not financially good for us. I go to watch the football not the balance sheet and don’t buy the “it affects our league form” rubbish. A win in that would not only be received with massive joy up here but now also brings lucrative champions league qualification

  • Happyharrys2011

    Opiner1 Those players have big reputations yes. Yet none of them perform? 
    We will see now all of the hillbillys have gone, there is no where to hide now,and no more excuses from anyone. Carr is to blame for installing these puppets, as so called coaches along with penfold.They are the only people apart from Jabba the hutt making the decisions to sign the backroom staff, how is Carr blameless its jobs for the boys. How can’t you all see this. It’s another case of it with this natural born loser coming in. MCLAREN OUT.COM ASHLEYOUT.COM.

  • Timptoon

    Toonloony 1971 It doesn’t take a genius to spot talent in an international set-up. If we brought in any regular German, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese international – and not just French or Dutch – we could expect a degree of success. If Carr isn’t happy about the backing of Ashley then he could walk away. As one of the most senior figures at St James’ we have to assume he his happy with his achievements – somewhere between mediocrity and relegation. Personally, I don;t think that’s good enough and I don’t think he was the b*lls or the ability to do any better this time around. I might be wrong but after years of failure it has to be time to look beyond Graham Carr.