/ Soccer

Joe Kinnear feels he has Alan Pardew's backing as he returns to Newcastle United

Updated: Monday, 17 Jun 2013 16:21 | Comments

Joe Kinnear returns to St James' Park as director of football
Joe Kinnear returns to St James' Park as director of football

Joe Kinnear has insisted Alan Pardew was delighted to hear of his impending arrival as Newcastle's director of football.

The 66-year-old former Magpies boss revealed yesterday that he is to return to St James' Park to oversee the club's football operations in a move which many onlookers have interpreted as a worrying omen for current incumbent Pardew.

However, Kinnear claims the 51-year-old's response to the news of owner Mike Ashley's latest controversial decision was more than positive.

He told the Chronicle: "Before I had a meeting with Mike, (managing director) Derek (Llambias) said he's informed Alan, and Alan said 'Great news - I'm delighted with that. At last I've got somebody who's a football guy'.

"Derek told me he's had a long talk with Alan and explained that I'm coming in as director of football. He (Llambias) is going to go on the finance side and anything to do with football is coming my side.

"I am going to be delighted to be working with Alan. I saw Alan as a player - he was a heck of a player - and we bumped into each other a couple of times when he was West Ham manager.

"We always bump into each other at the Manager of the Year awards. Last year, I was at the awards when Alan won it. I said 'Congratulations, but you have to get two more to catch me!'.

"We are very open-minded and good with each other. I have the utmost respect for him and I cannot see any problems between the two of us."

Newcastle are still to formally confirm Kinnear's appointment and Pardew is yet to comment on the decision that came after he held end-of-season discussions with Ashley and Llambias to assess the campaign which had just ended and exactly what had gone wrong.

The Magpies finished in 16th place in the Barclays Premier League 12 months after qualifying for Europe and the talks ended with agreement that things will have to get significantly better.

Pardew emerged with assurances that his job was safe a matter of months into his eight-year contract and confident that he and chief scout Graham Carr would have Ashley's backing to further re-shape the squad this summer.

However, just where Kinnear's arrival will leave the pair remains to be seen with the former Wimbledon manager claiming he will have the final say over transfers.

The Irishman enjoyed a colourful, if brief, spell in charge on Tyneside during the 2008-09 season before a heart problem ended his stay.

Newcastle were relegated at the end of a disastrous campaign, although he seemed unwilling to accept any responsibility for that as he prepared to return.

But the club's fans were mystified as to why Ashley had turned to him once again.

Mark Jensen, editor of fanzine website www.themag.co.uk, said: "The bizarre thing is, like a lot of people, I was amazed and astounded when I heard - and then after thinking about it, I have to admit I'm not really amazed and astounded, which kind of sums up Mike Ashley's time at the club.

"You learn - or you should do by now - that whenever they seem to be heading in the right direction, you have got a bit of faith in what's happening and you think, 'If we could just sign a couple of players...', then they pull something out of the hat to make you think and something that just leaves you speechless.

"It's amazing the number of people visiting our website and commenting and people I have spoken to personally, and everybody seems to be pretty much like me - on the one hand, they are quite angry at something that's derailed our season already and on the other just laughing.

"There's a lot of gallows humour. We've seen it all this before and you can only laugh about it."

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Powered by NewsWhip