For such a proud footballing institution, Newcastle haven’t half become a laughing stock over the last few seasons. After suffering the ignominy of relegation from the Premier League back in 2009, Mike Ashley has seemingly done everything in his power to bring farce and controversy to the North East.
From renaming the stadium, to selling off their best players; nothing it would seem could come close to the shock appointment of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football last year.
The former Republic of Ireland international was to answer only to Mike Ashley on all things football Kinnear reacted to the appointment by claiming he “could open the door to any manager in the world” and asked fans to judge him on the signings he made.
Since then we have seen just a couple of loan signings in Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong, and an inability to find a suitable replacement for the outgoing Yohan Cabaye. The amateurish nature of his work doesn’t stop there, the man that professes to being a master of the game somehow managed to recommend one of Newcastle’s own players in Shane Ferguson while the youngster was out on loan at Birmingham. Add to this his inability to pronounce any vaguely foreign sounding name and you begin to wonder whether this man is just a complete fraud?
After Saturday’s loss to Sunderland, Pardew made it clear he was unhappy at the club’s lack of transfer activity:
“If I was in charge, solely, of transfers, things might be different but I’m not,” he said.
“I think I’ve made my opinions very clear this week and all the rest of it is confidential.”
The conspiracy theorists have always surmised that Kinnear has something on Ashley, because to the face of it his involvement is nothing short of a joke. Ever since the resignation of Derek Llambias the club has been run, at least in footballing terms, by a clown.
The most bitter of pills to swallow for Newcastle fans was the departure of Yohan Cabaye at the back end of the January window. Newcastle shouldn’t though be castigated for such a move, in the end the lure of PSG was too great and the money on offer huge for a club of their current size. The actual lunacy here was in the inability to line up a replacement, with moves for Lyon’s Clement Grenier ending in failure.
Newcastle legend Alan Sheared summed up his feelings for Match of the Day 2:
“It was a strange appointment in the first place. When you sell your best player three days before the transfer deadline you have to have a plan.
“Maybe him resigning is a way of saying he didn’t do his job, but I’m not sure what his job was anyway. Saturday’s defeat against Sunderland was as poor a performance as I’ve seen for a long time. They were lucky it was only 3-0.”
Even Kinnear’s departure was scattered with controversy, with Newcastle clearly left in the lurch. The failure of the January window could well have spelled the end for the Irishman, but to leave his club without a replacement or indeed contingency plan is borderline cowardly for a man that supposedly cares so much.
Newcastle fans will be glad to finally be rid of the man that has brought them so much ridicule. A tenure that will be remembered for his media gaffes and transfer window hash ups above anything else, you would hope his departure would now open the door for someone that will actually take the role seriously.
Fans will be praying it’s an end to the comedy sideshow at St James’.