WHO Poll
Q: 2022 Summer Transfer Window - How many 1st team players will we sign before August 6th
a. None as Sullivan will wait until the last week before he gets his scattergun out the cupboard
28%
  
b. A couple of freebies paraded as superstars, usual hype to follow
26%
  
c. I'm more optimistic as surely they know we need to strengthen, 3-4 with decent money spent.
43%
  
d. Who gives a toss as we have a great squad already, I've already ordered the new replica kit, socks and all and can't wait to wear it at our first game, down the pub of course, I bleed claret & blue
3%
  



Irish Hammer 1:18 Tue Apr 5
Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Tony Carr: ‘My 43 years at West Ham ended on a sad and unnecessarily bitter note’

On the walk up to the stadium, past all the shops and restaurants that now form part of the routine for the supporters of West Ham United, it is difficult not to think these are the moments — finally — they can cherish.

Their team is preparing for a Europa League quarter-final against Lyon and challenging again for another top-six finish in the Premier League. West Ham have found happiness. Their supporters are settling more cosily into the former Olympic Stadium they now call home.

All of which fills Tony Carr with a certain amount of pleasure as he stirs his latte in one of the modern eateries that are filled with West Ham supporters on match days.

“I watch the games from behind the goal now,” he says. “My brother-in-law has four season tickets. Usually, he takes his two sons and his wife. When his wife doesn’t go, I tag along. I enjoy it. I was at the game against Sevilla, and what a great night that was.

“I do get some comments along the line of, ‘Oh, I thought you’d be sitting round there (with the club’s hierarchy), not with us’. But I don’t make a big thing of it. I think, among the fans, I’m quite well respected. Most of the fans who know me, or know what I’ve done, respect me, and that pleases me. People come up to ask for a photograph or to have a chat. That means a lot to me.”

To introduce him properly, Carr will always be in the affections of West Ham supporters because of his reputation as possibly the most prolific discoverer of young talent there has ever been in the English game.

Has anybody else in the history of the sport ever produced four players who went on to captain England? Paul Ince, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and John Terry all went on to lead out their country after benefiting from Carr’s expertise in West Ham’s youth system.

Declan Rice looks a near-certainty to become the fifth judging by Gareth Southgate’s comments last week about the midfielder being an ideal wearer of the England armband.

Carr’s eyes light up when the conversation turns to the players he helped to bring through the system and the joys he experienced over four decades with the club. But there are glimpses of hurt, too, and some difficult moments that clearly still trouble him to this day.

Carr spent 43 years at West Ham and has been described as a club legend even though he never kicked a ball for the first team.

carr-lampard
Carr with former West Ham midfielder Frank Lampard (Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
It is just a shame, perhaps, that he had to discover what a hard-faced industry it can be during the process that saw the people at the top of the club — co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold and vice-chairman Karren Brady — remove him in 2016.

“I found it all very upsetting,” says Carr, and it is unmistakable sadness in his voice. “The rawness of it at the time… I was really upset, emotionally upset, after everything I had given to the club. The way it came about, and the way it was handled, it wasn’t the West Ham I thought I knew.”

Carr makes the same point in the opening passages of the book, A Lifetime in Football at West Ham United, that he has just released, featuring tributes from many of the A-list stars he produced for the club.

“It ended on a sad, unnecessarily bitter note,” writes Carr. “I will admit that, initially, the whole business affected the way I regarded the club. Should I have expected more? You could say it’s just the way the football industry is, but it’s not the way I would do things.”

There is plenty to talk about, therefore, as he pulls up a seat at the Haugen restaurant on Endeavour Square to talk about the club that has shaped his life.

First, though, he makes the point that he would rather speak about all the good times. His book has taken four years to write, on and off, and unlike many autobiographies, he did not bring in anyone to ghostwrite it for him. Every word is his own and it is important to him that, always, his love of West Ham shines through. “I’ve tried to explain everything in a dignified way,” he explains. “I didn’t want to throw any brickbats.”

To understand Carr’s contribution to West Ham in particular, but also English football as a whole, perhaps a refresher might help.

Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Glen Johnson were all from the same golden generation that saw Ferdinand and Lampard go on to be category-A England internationals.

“I would say Joe was the most exciting young player,” is Carr’s verdict. “He would get you off your seat with his audaciousness. But the most talented? That was Rio — left foot, right foot, he could pass it, shoot, he could go long, he could jump, run, read the game. He had the lot.”

But there have also been so many others, too. There was Paul Allen, Tony Cottee, Alvin Martin, Bobby Barnes, Alan Dickens, Steve Potts, George Parris and Kevin Keen from the Upton Park years.

Don’t forget Jimmy Bullard, Kevin Horlock, Leon Britton, Matt Holland, Anton Ferdinand, Jack Collison, Liam Ridgewell or Kieran Richardson, whose defection to Manchester United, aged 14, can still make Carr wince.

west-ham-academy
The Academy All-Star team line up for the Tony Carr Testimonial match in 2010 (Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Mark Noble, West Ham’s captain, is another of Carr’s youth-team products. Jermain Defoe benefited from Carr’s wisdom. So did James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas, Ben Johnson, Reece Oxford and Grady Diangana. And on and on.

“I’ve never wanted to take all the credit,” says Carr. “All I’ve ever said is that I was their coach and I helped them along the way. Other people have played their part, in the academy and beyond that to the first team. Harry Redknapp, for example, blooded the players who are known as the golden generation, so credit to Harry. But you’ve still got to produce the players to put in front of a manager.”

Carr, born in the West Ham stronghold of Bow, east London, has always been modest about his work. He will also admit that he had slight misgivings about writing an autobiography because he did not want to look too self-indulgent. He makes a point of crediting his colleagues in the academy.

Yet it just needs a cursory flick through the tributes from his former players to understand his place in West Ham’s history. Lampard: “A man who had such a huge impact on my career and so many other young players at West Ham.” Rio Ferdinand: “This man passed on the West Ham DNA to the best generation of academy graduates to come through the West Ham system.”

After four years in the club’s junior system, Carr’s own dreams of becoming a footballer fell short, so he turned his thoughts to coaching and in 1973, he began the process of finding West Ham’s stars of the future.

Since then, just think about the fortunes he has brought into the club through transfer fees. Carr can still remember the fans’ disappointment when Allen signed for Tottenham Hotspur in a £400,000 deal in 1985 — “a lot of money for that time” — and Cottee switched to Everton for a British record £2.2 million three years later.

And now he is seeing Rice being valued, in the words of manager David Moyes, “north of £150 million”. The money is mindboggling and, though Carr doesn’t want to take all the credit for the midfielder’s development, it will always be in West Ham’s favour that they recognised Chelsea had made a mistake releasing Rice as a teenager.

“For some reason, Chelsea didn’t see the potential in him at 14,” says Carr. “And we did. We saw something in him. We will look at talent and say, ‘He has good basics, good ingredients, good attitude, we can make that better, we can work on that’. West Ham, unlike some clubs, will give a young player an opportunity. It’s whether they are ready to take that opportunity. History shows that Declan was ready and it’s unreal now to see what has happened, in such a short space of time.

Declan Rice, West Ham
Declan Rice has thrived this season (Photo: Getty Images)
“That’s testament to the player’s attitude and talent. Frank Lampard will tell you that, aged 15, he wasn’t the best player in the team. Yet Frank went on to win over 100 England caps and finished as the top scorer in Chelsea’s history, even as a midfielder. That’s the kind of legacy Declan can leave.”

It is probably typical of Carr that he does not want to rock the boat with any direct criticisms of the people who, let’s face it, could have handled his departure with a lot more respect.

But he probably shouldn’t beat himself up too badly when his influence on the first team can still be felt to this day.

“Ironically, the reason the club gave me for the change in my role away from West Ham’s academy director was that there were no players coming through,” he writes in his autobiography. “The day I left, one of my former youth-team players, James Tomkins, was sold to Crystal Palace for £11 million, and Declan Rice, Grady Diangana and Ben Johnson were already on the academy production line. On the whole, with the number of players I helped develop and the transfer fees they generated, I don’t think I did a bad job.”

Carr’s book details how Brady called him into a meeting to let him know he was going to be replaced by Terry Westley, who had worked with her, Gold and Sullivan when they were running Birmingham City. Brady, according to Carr, offered to keep him “in a new and exciting role” within the academy, with the title of director of football. Except it turned out the manager, Sam Allardyce, had a stipulation in his contract that the board could not appoint a director of football.

Instead, Carr started in a new ambassadorial role until, nine months in, he was summoned by the HR department and told the club’s owners had changed their mind about it being a worthwhile position.

“They gave me three months’ notice,” says Carr. “I was more disappointed with the way it was done than anything else. It was cold and to the point. Someone from the Daily Mail got wind of it. They rang me to say they had heard I was being sacked. ‘That’s not quite true’, I said. I laid out the facts. A piece appeared in the newspaper and the club threw it back at me.

“They told me to leave there and then. It was a case of, ‘We don’t want you to do your three months’ notice, clear your desk and leave now’. I had to pack up all my stuff and leave it in a locker. A week later, all my stuff was dropped off. All my notes, all my memories. And that was it. I went home and that was it. I didn’t go back.”

To reiterate, Carr is not looking to open old wounds, but it would be hard to write about his time at the club without reflecting on what he describes as a “cold-hearted” dismissal.

West Ham, Gold and Sullivan
West Ham co-owners Gold and Sullivan (Photo: Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)
The club gave him two season tickets for the 2016-17 season but the following season they were not renewed, and there was no option for him to buy them. And, yes, it hurt that West Ham, a club that normally prides itself on how it looks after its own, treated him that way. It probably hurt more than he is willing to let on.

“Maybe I was too attached and too sentimental,” he says. “My background was as a West Ham supporter. So maybe I was too emotionally attached to the club. Maybe they thought they did it the right way. I don’t know, to be honest. I don’t want to make a big thing of it. I want to be sympathetic and build bridges. I don’t want to make any problems.”

These days he is adjusting to a new pace of life, aged 71. He knows the football business moves on. One of his book-signing events was arranged at Foyles in Stratford shopping centre, just across from the stadium. Another was at the Newham Bookshop, a couple of streets from the old ground, with so many memories.

“It didn’t feel right, to begin with,” he says of the stadium move. “I will never forget the last game at the old place against Manchester United. One-nil up, 2-1 down, winning 3-2 — you couldn’t have written the script. I still don’t think the new place is a purpose-built football stadium, because it wasn’t built for that. But it’s starting to feel more homely. The atmosphere is coming now. David Moyes has done brilliantly as manager. They are trying to make the stadium more of a home and nights like the Sevilla game help.”

He will admit he misses the buzz of being around the club every day. He misses being on the touchline of the academy pitches. But he keeps busy, as chairman of the London Football Coaches Association, and has a part-time role with the Premier League as a mentor for today’s youth developers.

He says he is proud to have worked for West Ham for so long. He is proud that the previous owners awarded him a testimonial in 2010. He is proud to have been given an MBE for services to football. His house in Essex has pictures on the walls showing some of the players he brought through in claret and blue. His book is dedicated to his wife, Brenda, and their children Dean, Neil and Louise. He has seven grandchildren. Life is good.

And this is the point when this one-club man goes into his mobile phone to find a picture that was sent to him recently, accompanied by a text message: “Bumped into this fella!”

It was from his niece, he explains. She had been at the home game against Sevilla, with a pass for one of the lounges, when she realised that one of the photographs on the wall was her uncle Tony.

“She sent me a picture of herself posing by it,” says Carr, and now he is chuckling. “It must be an academy lounge, I guess. I don’t know, because I’ve never been up there. It’s nice to think they would do that. I suppose I’ll get to see it one day.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

istabraq 8:30 Wed Apr 6
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Tony was a great coach and jimmy hampson and jimmy tindall were the ones who discovered most of the jems that tony polished.westley was a disaster and the way tony and jimmy hampson wete treated was diabolical. When you see the academy sign on the side of the pitch and the wsy these owners treated west ham people through and through makes me sick.

istabraq 8:26 Wed Apr 6
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend
Her secretary was terry wrstley wiife

Mex Martillo 7:34 Wed Apr 6
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Good read, enjoyed that. It is a shame how he was treated and to think he was 65, it should have been so easy to do it correctly with respect.
Anyone read his book? I'm tempted and I don't read much...
Thanks Irish

epsom 9:40 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Thanks Irish

BillC79 9:09 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Lee Hodges is a blast from the past. In my memory he was sort of a Matty Holmes type player.

zico 5:38 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Carr, Moore, Boyce, Lyall, Bonds, the Club never learns from it's sometimes shambolic treatment of good Club men. Even Redknapp took a nasty swipe at Tony Carr claiming Jimmy Hampson was more to do with unearthing talent which I found disrespectful.

Lovely interview with Tony on DJ Russ You Tube channel if anyone is interested. Interestingly he said one of the top talents who never really made it due to injury was Lee Hodges I think.

Jaan Kenbrovin 5:13 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Mr Kenzo 1:26 Tue Apr 5

BillC79 4:40 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend
I wonder what the amount would be of transfer fees he’s brought in to the club if updated for Inflation. Must be huge.

Saw somewhere that Rio’s fee to Leeds in todays money would be around £100m.

Cottee, Ince, Lampard, etc,…. All big money.

Least they could do is give him some season tickets!

terry-h 4:04 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend
I would guess Brady had a hand in Tony Carr's departure.

What a lovely woman she is.

wd40 3:27 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Nice bloke but given
new ambassadorial role until, nine months later
season tickets free
Testimonial given
Employed in a great job & great place for many years.


My heart bleeds.

martyboy 1:56 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Meet him a coupe of times, a true gent. Never one to big himself up, very down to earth. The total opposite to the Parasites that own our club!! Treated very badly.

Mr Kenzo 1:26 Tue Apr 5
Re: Good Article on Tony Carr - The Man The Legend.
Even now the club still can't get it right, what a total lack of respect shown to Carr. They didn't learn their lessons after what happened to Bobby Moore





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