It only takes a spark to ignite a fire, and that’s exactly what happened today when Newcastle winger Charles N’Zogbia became so infuriated with manager Joe Kinnear that the Frenchman vowed never to play for the Tyneside club again as long as Kinnear remains in charge.
The spark that upset N’Zogbia was his gaffer not knowing how to pronounce the left winger’s name. Watch the Joe Kinnear video interview with Alan Parry to hear how Kinnear cocked up N’Zogbia’s name (beginning at minute 2:18). Instead of pronouncing N’Zogbia’s name correctly, Kinnear called him “Imsomnia.” He then tried to correct himself and said “Somnia,” and then resorted to calling him just “Charlie.”
N’Zogbia unleashed his disapproval by releasing a statement that read:
“First of all I wish to apologise to the fans for wanting to leave the club. However, having been insulted by Joe Kinnear, I will never play for him again while he remains Newcastle manager.
The club are aware that there are offers on the table for me and they should accept one of them.”
Kinnear’s reaction to the incident inferred that a simple mistake was made.
“Sadly, this just smacks of a desperate attempt to engineer a move away from Newcastle United.
OK, I got a little tongue-tied, but if I had a pound for every time I’ve mis-pronounced a player’s name down the years, then I’d be a very wealthy man indeed.”
To me, this smacks of one little incident being the last straw for N’Zogbia. It’s obvious that the player wants to move away from Newcastle. It was only a few weeks ago when he expressed an interest in playing for Arsenal. And Lyon has recently been interested in signing the left footed winger.
Sure, Kinnear should be able to pronounce his player’s name especially after being at the club since September, 2008. But Kinnear isn’t paid to pronounce his player’s names correctly. He’s paid to win matches — something which Newcastle seem incapable of doing recently.
In addition to this issue with N’Zogbia, who has effectively gone on strike, Newcastle were hampered yesterday after two top players incurred injuries — Michael Owen and Joey Barton. Plus it looks likely that Shay Given will move away from St. James’ Park. The question is how much worse can it get for Kinnear, Mike Ashley and Newcastle United? They’ll find out soon enough when they play Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby this Sunday.