It’s been three weeks. And we love a good messiah at Newcastle. Keegan and Shearer are just two examples. Three weeks to summon the energy, nay the will, to put down in words how I feel about the return of Joe Kinnear — nobody’s messiah.
Recently I ran into an old friend at a wedding; a Liverpool fan. He could tell I didn’t want to talk football. The temptation proved too powerful. So, he asked me to sum up Joe Kinnear’s return in one word. Joe Kinnear himself can’t sum up anything in a word. You could power a small African village for a month with the hot air released from one of his filth ridden, egotistical and dangerously delusional diatribes.
My one word? Shambolic.
If there was any doubt left whatsoever regarding Mike Ashley’s contempt for the Geordie faithful, it’s been put to rest now. Kinnear doesn’t rate the fans too highly either. A few years of stability and the Magpies are right back to their default status of national laughing stock.
The thought of quoting this gibbering maniac fills my heart with deep, murky despair. So, with your understanding, I’ll get on with the business of refuting (some of) his delusions and lies in a paragraph.
Hey Joe. Let’s begin.
You didn’t sign Tim Krul. You were not at Newcastle for two years. You did not do a good job at Newcastle (4 wins out of 25). We were not definitely going to avoid relegation if you stayed healthy (3 points from the drop zone). Yohan Kebab. Ben Afri. Anamobi. Those are not their names. On the day you cursed 54 times in 2 minutes at all those journalists, we had not just beaten Spurs 2-1. No Joe, You are not head and shoulders above all other Director’s of Football. You did not win manager of the year three times. No Joe, you don’t have Arsene Wenger on speed dial. Yes Joe, you were in fact sacked. Managing Luton does not register as an achievement. You did not play for Spurs 400 times. Spurs were not then nor are now “the best team in the world.” Alan Pardew may have been happy to have “a real football man” on board, but that man is certainly not you.
Hey Joe, you’re here because you’re the owner’s mate. That’s it. The only reason. You’re his mate. He hates us, we hate you. That’s how the puzzle fits together. There are no credentials. There is no CV. There is is, in fact, “a record that speaks for itself” though not in the way you imagine. So buckle up Joe. Get ready to have St James Park chanting against you every second week for the whole of the forthcoming season. A sensible man with a heart condition might decide that’s not the best place to be. Alas, Joe Kinnear is only one of those things.
So, on to the job title. Director of Football. Surely the vaguest and least understood of positions, at least in English football, where the manager is king. What on earth can Kinnear bring to the position? Lets bury my rage a moment and try to look at this objectively.
Alan Pardew made a lot of poor decisions last season. The Europa League excuse, which journalists so readily swallowed every week, wore out quickly with the people who actually watched the games and saw Pardew wasn’t using the same players. Newcastle got knocked out of both domestic cups instantaneously. The players didn’t actually play that many games at all as it happens. There were bad injuries and a baffling failure to strengthen in the summer bar Vurnon Anita from Ajax, who Pardew barely even used (despite the chronic fatigue the first team was apparently constantly suffering from). But the buck for a terrible season rests with the manager and most fans wanted something done.
In of itself, a director of football may not have been such a bad idea. Perhaps a Gerard Houllier, who could act as a go between to the French contingent of Ben Arfa, Cabaye et al and the manager. A continental director of football may have eased the doubts about the style of play held by some of the senior players and almost all the fans. Such a figure could have helped devise a plan to get the best from what is clearly a technically gifted if small group of players. Communication could have been improved. Cabaye was suffering from depression. Coloccini had personal problems. A good director of football could have provided an ear and took the pressure off the manager.
Communication. Subtlety. Working with technical players. Not Kinnear hallmarks you’d have to say. Instead of taking the pressure off Pardew, his appointment does the exact opposite. You’ll get short odds on Pardew being the first manager sacked next season. Kinnear once said he’d only take a Director of Football job as a way to get back into management.
As Jimi Hendrix once sang, Hey Joe. Where you going with that gun of yours?