JOE Kinnear insists he has the experience to guide Newcastle United through their time of turmoil, writes ROSS GREGORY.
Less than 24 hours after Kinnear was officially announced by the club as their new director of football, Mike Ashley’s right hand man Derek Llambias stepped down as managing director after five often controversial years in the hotseat.
It completed a manic few days, even by Newcastle’s tumultuous standards, which started on Sunday with the news that Kinnear was set for a shock return to St James’s Park.
His gobsmacking radio interview on Monday night – where he pronounced Llambias’ name wrong, among others – added to the sense of farce around the club.
Llambias was keeping his own counsel yesterday on the reasons for his departure, with some reports suggesting Kinnear’s arrival, and his comments, played a part in his decision.
Kinnear, for his part however, believes he is well suited to his new role, and says he has the experience to make it a success. “Being director of football is another step in my football life,” he said. “It is a natural progression.
“I have been in the game since I was 15 and played in the top stadiums in the world.
“That experience, plus my experiences as a manager, holds me in good stead.
“It is a great position for me and I’m proud to take it.”
While Kinnear is confident he can make the step up to boardroom level, he will not be left in sole charge of the club in Llambias’s absence.
Instead, Ashley will look to replace Llambias as soon as possible, though the timing of the resignation, so soon after Kinnear’s appointment, and the fact that he leaves with immediate effect, suggests it came out of the blue to the Newcastle owner.
A section of fans would like to see Chris Mort, who was popular as chairman when Ashley first took over the club, to take the helm again, but it is understood that the lawyer has no interest in returning to the club.
Llambias’s resignation leaves manager Alan Pardew in a difficult position as well, with the MD his closest ally at the club.
Kinnear’s arrival had left question marks over the manager’s future, but Pardew yesterday said he had no plans to resign himself. He said: “I’m staying – to take the club up the league.”