Newcastle are heading into Europe on the back of hard work. Mark Douglas explains the holy trinity behind United's success.
Ashley was burned by his experiences with Kevin Keegan, with clashes between power brokers at the club undermining his second coming from the start. He appears to have settled on a brains trust that is repaying him with results on and off the pitch.
The golden quintet consists of Ashley, Alan Pardew, Llambias, club secretary Charnley and chief scout Carr. Each knows their role.
Healthy debate is encouraged and the need to account for decisions underpins everything that is said in the frequent meetings that are held in London and the North East.
Regular communication and dialogue ensures that all these key players remain on the same page.
There is none of the friction that undermined the relationship between Dennis Wise and Keegan, and it is noticeable that Pardew continues to name-check Carr and his employers.
Carr reciprocated in his radio interview saying: “I think Alan Pardew has done a great job because he’s organised the side into a winning side.
“Cheick Tioté has improved, Hatem Ben Arfa was a little bit temperamental in France, but he’s a talented player who played for the French national side a couple of years ago.
“He had a bit of a problem but I think Alan Pardew has put an arm around him now and got him playing to his true capabilities.
“Yohan Cabaye had a get-out clause in his contract (at Lille). He was valued at £10m, but we found out he had a clause in his contract (allowing him to leave) for £4.5m and that gave us the green light to go out and sign him.
“Papiss Cissé scored 20-odd goals two years ago in the Bundesliga and was linked with Bayern Munich. They wanted £15m when we first enquired and then it was £12m. We eventually got him for £8m in the last window, which we thought was value for money.”
Lastly, the club uses its heritage and historic ambition in discussions with overseas players.
They know their strengths – the size of the crowd, the passion of the people – and play to them. It helps that there is a strong Geordie connection in the coaching and scouting departments.
Carr said: “I’m from Newcastle, so it’s probably even more pressure on me to get things right.
“A lot of people know me up there and you know what it’s like – I’d probably be on the end of some stick if a bad player came in.
“The club have to take a lot of credit. Derek Llambias, who works very hard, and Mike Ashley are the ones who have put the money up. They’ve taken some stick from the supporters and, from the outside looking in, I was a little bit (unsure) about what had happened at Newcastle in the past.
“But since I’ve been in there working for them, I can’t speak too highly of them.”