Newspaper headlines this summer should have made pleasant reading for West Ham fans. Set to move into a stunning new 60,000 seater home, the club have already signed two or three established internationals and have been chasing some of Europe’s top forwards with a £25million transfer war chest reportedly burning a hole in David Sullivan’s pocket. Yet, in the build up to our fi rst game at the Olympic Stadium, the media’s attention was instead dominated on veteran youth team coach Tony Carr leaving the club aft er 43 years’ service.
The fact that the man who developed the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard could be sent on his way with a note from Human Resources and a redundancy cheque for £14,000 seems a ridiculous way to treat a man who has given his working life to the club. Fans were outraged by the reports and, with so much to be genuinely excited about at the moment, the news was at the very least a PR owngoal everyone could have done without.
Carr has clearly felt marginalised ever since Terry Westley was brought in to run the Academy side two summers ago. Th e ‘ambassador’ role in which he was given seemed to mainly involve following our best prospects while they were out on loan and reporting back with their progress. By all accounts he was paid very well to do this less than taxing role, and you can see from an accountant’s perspective why they would want to cut the expense.
However, West Ham have always considered themselves to be a family club and Carr has done more than enough during his time to be looked aft er. Surely a suitable role could have been found in the set-up where his expertise could prove valuable? Sullivan and co-owner David Gold have been fabulous for West Ham. Th e club has taken great leaps forward on and off the pitch under their stewardship and they are well within their rights to decide who they want to run a modern multi-national Academy. Yet it would be a real shame if their achievements were tarnished by the treatment of a club stalwart. West Ham lived to regret the way they treated Bobby Moore aft er his retirement. Th ey must not make the same mistakes again. Carr deserved better. BBM