It’s time to ‘fess up club officials of Newcastle United – who let Joe Kinnear back near a microphone?
The controversial Kinnear, loathed by the Magpies faithful during his short tenure in the Newcastle dugout, was recently re-hired by Mike Ashley, this time given the role of Director of Football at St. James’s Park. The news came as a shock, not only due to the obvious disapproval from the Newcastle fan base, but furthermore because the announcement was instigated by a surprise interview on TalkSport (full transcript provided by The Guardian), made by Kinnear two days prior to his official appointment, in which he went on to make a series of public relations faux pas, including a long list of factual errors and mild insults of the Toon army.
You’d assume Magpies owner Ashley would have learnt his lesson, and kept the former Ireland international on a rather tight leash until the hysteria died down, but just a matter of days ago, Kinnear once again found himself in an interview situation, this time with local Tyneside newspaper The Sheilds Gazzette, and once again produced an inaccurate, bumbling and obnoxious display. In his previous interaction with the media, Kinnear declared that he’s “certainly got more intelligence than them”, referring to Newcastle fans, whilst during his most recent interview, the arrogant statements continued, with the claim that he is “head and shoulders above every other Director of Football”.
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The modern game’s answer to Albert Square’s Derek Branning, and referred to by the Telegraph as a Caveman of 90s football, for his inability to accurately pronounce any name on the Newcastle roster that has a hint of foreign influence, including French international ‘Yohan Kebab’, Kinnear is not a naturally likeable guy. But in business, personal feelings should not get in the way, and as we are just a matter of days into the former Tottenham midfielder’s tenure in his new role, perhaps Kinnear’s stock will increase by transfer deadline day, depending on the progress of the club’s pursuits in the transfer market.
That being said, regardless of whether the Magpies’ new Director of Football signs former Tottenham reject Mido, who recently had his contract terminated at Barnsley, or world star Cristiano Ronaldo, you imagine Kinnear’s negative stigmatism amongst the Toon army is unlikely to considerably decline. Is his appointment quite simply ripping the club apart, and can Mike Ashley recover from yet another condemning act to add to the long list of controversies throughout his tenure in the Newcastle boardroom?
It’s clear to see the battle-lines have already been drawn. The closure of Shearer’s Bar at St. James’s Park following Kinnear’s appointment was reportedly a rather fitting coincidence, but the Newcastle and England legend has made no secret of how he feels about Mike Ashley’s decision to rehire such an unpopular figure. The regular MOTD pundit wrote in his column in The Sun last month; “Where do we start? What I do know is that right now people are laughing at the football club I support. And that sickens me. I promised myself years ago never to be surprised by what happens in football – particularly when it comes to Newcastle. But this situation really is stretching it a bit.”
Being the boisterous soul that he is, Kinnear couldn’t help but respond, replying in kind; “What Shearer says is diabolical. This is a guy who hasn’t got a clue about coaching,” as reported by The Guardian. He continued by insinuating Shearer had played a major hand in the Magpies’ shock relegation campaign in 2009, after taking over in the dug-out from the former Ireland international following his heart-attack whilst serving as Newcastle boss. Perhaps Kinnear had due cause to come out fighting following such a condemning criticism, but choosing a Tyneside-born club legend as your first media target is hardly a wise move, especially when his expressed views epitomise the feelings of the vast majority of the Newcastle faithful.
Shearer’s influence amongst the supporters may be strong, but at least he’s not in a position to start an anti-Kinnear faction within the realms of the Newcastle camp. That being said, it must be rather concerning to all parties involved that it is now 22 days and counting since we heard a word from Alan Pardew, after the incredibly simple and plain quote printed in the Newcastle Chronice, “I am staying – to take the club up the league.”
The Magpies boss is well known for his rather trivial comments and Tony Blair-style soundbites, dished out willy-nilly at any opportunity to any journalist willing to listen, yet since Kinnear’s appointment, Pardew has remained silent, which in itself speaks volumes about the 51 year old’s opinions on the matter.
His feelings on a personal level towards Kinnear are unclear; it’s hard to imagine anyone getting on well in a working environment with a man who has already displayed arrogance and moments of immense self-delusion under the media spotlight, and there are further concerns that the new Director of Football won’t be up to the task of bringing in new players – he’s had just a single transfer window’s worth of action in nearly a decade, despite the audacious claim of his illustrious contacts list, including the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
But Pardew’s main cause of silent protest is undoubtedly due to the fact his position as Newcastle boss is now under threat. The former West Ham and Charlton gaffer was already in Mike Ashley’s managerial cross hairs after an incredibly poor campaign, recording 19 defeats in total and ending with a 3-0 loss at home to rivals Sunderland, in addition to a 6-0 defeat to Liverpool, the worst result at ST. James’s Park since 1925. Should Pardew remain manager on Tyneside much longer, it will come down to performances and results during the first few months of the incoming Premier League season, with the obvious contingency plan from Ashley’s perspective being that Kinnear can once again step in as Caretaker should Pardew fail to turn the club’s horror form around, which could lead to full scale riots around the city of Newcastle.
The fans don’t like him, the club’s biggest icon doesn’t like him, the manager doesn’t like him and judging from comments made on Twitter after Kinnear’s impromptu Talksport interview, a healthy section of the Newcastle roster doesn’t like him. It seems Kinnear’s only friend is Mike Ashley, and their exclusive bond is ripping the club apart. The Magpies’ reputation all round has taken a huge hit, and what Director of Football at a rival team would actually willingly do business with Kinnear, after branding them inadequate in comparison to his own abilities.
There’s no doubt the appointment was a grave error on Ashley’s part, but it’s too late to go back now – as well as making Newcastle United look even more of a laughing stock, the Sports-Direct founder is unlikely to favour the idea of handing Kinnear a rather sizable compensation package after a matter of days in the job. He can only hope the mistake will not prove fatal, and that he can keep Kinnear out of the media limelight, at least until the media circus quietens down.
Is Joe Kinnear ripping Newcastle United apart?
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