Oh Dear, its the Return of Joe Kinnear

Guess who's back - Kinnear checks in at Newcastle again (Image from The Times.co.uk)Just as the Newcastle faithful were starting to recover from a troublesome and traumatic season, in walks Joe Kinnear to take up a position again at the club. Luckily he is not replacing Alan Pardew as manager but instead he is taking up the role of Director of Football, recently vacated by Derek Llambias. The former coach, who left his job as manager in 2009 following his second heart attack, is not exactly well loved by the Geordie faithful who remember all too well what happened the last time he was in town. Not only the relegation which to be fair to Kinnear wasn’t totally his fault as Alan Shearer will testify, but in the way that he behaved and the impact it had on the club, ranting to the media on more than one occasion.

Kinnear won Manager of the Month three times, not manager of the year three times (Image from PA)

Kinnear won Manager of the Month three times, not manager of the year three times
(Image from PA)

Unfortunately four years on and Kinnear hasn’t changed, this time surprising many including the club by announcing to the media on Sunday of his appointment instead of waiting until Tuesday for the official one. Kinnear reminded anyone who tuned into his recent TalkSport interview of his qualities and stats as a manager, even if some were slightly exaggerated like his three manager of the year awards (really only one) or his ability to find gems in the transfer market to sign like Tim Krul and James Perch (signed by Graeme Souness and Chris Hughton respectively). And his inability to pronounce player’s names resurfaced, with the likes of “Yohan Cabab” and “Haten Ben Afre” touted as Newcastle’s best players will send shivers down the spine of many of the Geordie faithful and even some of the squad.

Whats's my name Joe? Cabaye not Cabab  (Image from Getty)

Whats’s my name Joe? Cabaye not Cabab
(Image from Getty)

If nothing else Kinnear is entertaining, a delightful reminder of football in the 1990’s when Wimbledon were a force to reckon with (and still played in London for that matter). He is what some would call old school, bragging about glory days that are now reserved for the history books rather than relevant in modern day football. Rather than being diplomatic in his retorts to the media, Kinnear goes on the offensive, often over shooting and overplaying his hand. Asked by a journalist what he can bring to Newcastle, Kinnear snapped back that he can open any door to any manager in the world, bragging again that he speaks weekly to Sir Alex Ferguson and has Arsene Wenger on speed dial. Again relevant ten years ago but perhaps no one has told him that the United chief has now retired?

Joe, I've retired, stop calling me - Sir Alex Ferguson  (Image from PA)

Joe, I’ve retired, stop calling me – Sir Alex Ferguson
(Image from PA)

Despite all the jokes that are flying around about the Kinnear appointment, there is a more unsettling though that emerges. Newcastle, since its relegation and subsequent promotion back from the Championship have acted like a different club. A smarter one some may say with a clear strategy to no longer pay over the odds for 30 something players, instead focusing on young talented players who will give their all for the club and pull in the same direction. In Alan Pardew they have found a manager with common sense, who can bond the team together and push the club forward (despite the glitch in the last six months of the previous campaign). Even owner Mike Ashley appeared to have read the memo about how to run a successful and profitable club, disregarding many peoples skepticism by planning for the future and handing Pardew and key staff like super scout Graham Carr eight year contracts. For the first time in a long time the club appeared to be putting the past behind it and moving on.

Owner Mike Ashley appeared to be planning for the future  (Image from Getty)

Owner Mike Ashley appeared to be planning for the future
(Image from Getty)

But now as Joe Kinnear takes his seat in preparation for next season, many people are wondering what will happen next? With Kinnear in charge of player acquisitions and strategy, what does it mean for Carr and his staff? Will the current strategy of cherry picking the best emerging players in the French league be shelved in favour of a new strategy devised by Kinnear with his 1990s cap on? And what does it mean for Pardew, who won manager of the year two seasons ago but suffered last year due to a gruelling Europa League campaign and lack of squad depth. Will he be choosing the team or will Kinnear who stated he has unfinished business at St James. If Pardew fails to deliver in the first part of the next season, will we see his dismissal and a return to the dugout for Kinnear?

More headaches for Pardew  (Image from Getty)

More headaches for Pardew
(Image from Getty)

Kinnear could surprise many and provide the assistance that Pardew needs in order to get his squad ready for next season. The appointment could be a revelation of sorts, bringing experienced opinions to the hierarchy at Newcastle and sorting out problems that Ashley creates with the players by accepting shirt sponsorship deals from a money lending company like Wonga. Or his appointment could be a disaster on the Dennis Wise scale, with players, staff and the manager making for the exit door. No one is really sure what the future holds for Newcastle but everyone is on tenterhooks to find out. One thing is for certain that Kinnear will be at the centre of anything that does happen over the next few weeks at St James Park.

To hear Joe Kinnear’s TalkSport interview, click here: http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/andy-goldsteins-sports-bar/130617/joe-kinnear-his-newcastle-return-alan-pardew-and-toon-media-199848

To hear Joe Kinnear’s famous rant to the media, click here (Explicit language): http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/joe-kinnear-rant-listen-full-1957960

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Reading Boss Reveals A Little Too Much Information

No Love Lost with Abramovich

As a club manager, it’s vital to have a strong relationship with your chairman and owner. Chelsea is a great example of this. When the team is winning, Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of the Blues, is your best friend, often showering gifts onto coaches as he basks in the positivity a victory run can bring. But when the times get tough, Abramovich is the last person you want near you, becoming more like a petulant child who will not take no for an answer. Many coaches have eventually fallen from grace at Chelsea – Ranieri, Mourinho, Grant, Ancelotti, Villas Boas – after falling out of favour with Roman. Ultimately this is his club, he owns the ground,employs the players and the staff so if he doesn’t like what he see, he changes it. Roberto Di Matteo has managed to give himself breathing room for the time being and win favour from Abramovich by securing the prize he wanted the most – the Champions League but now into his first full season in charge, he is under pressure to exceed again, not only domestically but in Europe as well. It may be only a matter of time before the wealthy Russian is sharpening his axe once more.

Just down the M4, another Russian is settling into life as a Premiership chairman for the first time. Anton Zingarevich arrived at the Madejski Stadium in May 2012 after purchasing then Championship side Reading from its owner, Sir John Madejski. Using his company, Thames Sport Investment, he bought the club just as it secured a return to the Premiership and promised money to manager Brian McDermott for the forthcoming campaign. He has duly delivered and has forged a strong relationship with McDermott as the two worked closely to secure signings like Russian international striker, Pavel Pogrebnyak from under the noses of Fulham. McDermott praised  Zingarevich’s contribution and a friendship blossomed between the two.

Just the Two of Us – McDermott and Zingarevich

However results haven’t been fantastic this season and Reading find themselves 3rd from bottom with only 6 points from the first 10 games which must add strain and pressure to their relationship. Like any good couple, disagreements are common but are often resolved by talking and some time away from things. Asked by TalkSport if he felt his relationship with Zingarevich had been fractured and a rift had emerged between them, he was quick to stomp out the rumours as untrue:

“That’s nonsense. I don’t know where that came from. We went for a drink after the Arsenal game. We talked about  players and we talked about football”

“He watched the game. We went to a local pub in west London. I stayed in the hotel with him that night. We had a few drinks with the locals. They all talked  about the game the night before. We talked about different players, went back to his hotel, had a drink back there and then went to bed. We woke up the next day, had another chat and that was it”

McDermott may have revealed too much about his relationship with his chairman but it would appear as though the two are still very close. But as the season progresses,  Zingarevich will be looking for McDermott to show to him that he is still the right man for him and for Reading or if divorce is on the cards for the two.

To hear the full interview for yourself, click here: http://www.talksport.co.uk/sports-news/football/premier-league/121110/exclusive-%E2%80%93-mcdermott-dismisses-zingarevich-feud-184996