No tears shed at Kinnear’s Newcastle United exit

Joe Kinnear.

Joe Kinnear.

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JOE Kinnear left Newcastle United as suddenly as he arrived, writes Miles Starforth.

But his exit was far quieter than his arrival.

Kinnear returned to Tyneside unwanted and unloved.

And he left his post as director of football after almost eight monthsm, still unwanted and unloved.

Kinnear won’t be missed in Newcastle, not that he spent much time in the city.

The 67-year-old’s visits were few and far between.

Kinnear wasn’t at Tyne-Wear derby last weekend, when fans again chanted against him and owner Mike Ashley, who made the bizarre appointment last June.

Ashley, it seems, is unlikely to replace Kinnear in the short term. But the club needs leadership, and the fans need a senior executive who is publicly accountable.

A bold, and boastful Kinnear arguably said too much after his appointment.

“I intend to get the best possible team for the Newcastle fans,” he said.

“It’s as simple as that. I had an allegiance to them.

“Tell the fans I’m there, and I’m going to make their team better than it is now, that’s for sure. That’s my message to them.”

And in a radio interview he mispronounced the names of several players, including Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Sammy Ameobi.

Fans didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The players themselves weren’t amused.

He had form, of course, having infamously called Charles N’Zogbia “Insomnia” during his brief spell as manager.

But he was kept away from the media from then on, with his only communication with supporters being through a bland column in Newcastle’s programme.

Kinnear, we know, is far from bland. He’s a colourful character.

In his last offering, Kinnear “welcomed” new signing Luuk de Jong to Newcastle.

If he was so keen to welcome de Jong to the club, why didn’t he meet him in person when he flew in from Germany last week after signing on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach?

De Jong, a target for the club long before Kinnear’s second coming, arrived the same week Cabaye was sold.

Kinnear, of course, had claimed that no player would be leave St James’s Park in last month’s transfer window.

But Cabaye was sold five months after he effectively went on strike in an attempt to force through a move to Arsenal, who had had a bid rejected on the eve of the first game of the season against Manchester City.

The midfielder kept his counsel on the events of August after returning to the fold. But intriguingly, he pointed the finger at Kinnear.

“The summer was what it was,” said Cabaye.

“The only one who knows what happened is Joe Kinnear, and if he’s honest with everyone, he is going to tell something to someone about what’s happened.

“I’m not going to say (anything).”

After joining Paris Saint-Germain, Cabaye – whose surname named was mispronounced as “Kebab” by Kinnear – claimed there had been an “agreement” about a January sale.

Kinnear’s position looked untenable, and relations between him and senior figures at St James’s Park had become strained.

Certainly, he’d had a hands-off role at the club. He wasn’t particularly involved in transfer negotiations. Those were handled by secretary Lee Charnley.

Chief scout Graham Carr continued to do his job and Kinnear wasn’t allowed to interfere in first-team affairs, Alan Pardew’s domain.

Few expected him to go given his close relationship with Ashley.

For some, Kinnear is a convenient scapegoat, a pantomime villain who acted as a lightning conductor and took the heat away from Ashley.

And ultimately, his departure will mean little in isolation.

Supporters crave ambition and trophies.

Posters outside the Stadium of Light advertising ticket details for Sunderland’s Capital One Cup final against Manchester City encourage fans on Wearside to “Dare to dream”.

Do any United supporters dare to dream under Ashley these days?

For many, the club will only be able to move forward under new ownership, though buyers are not queuing up outside St James’s Park reinstalled gates.

But Kinnear’s exit is to be welcomed. He can no longer tarnish the name of the club.

Last June, he said: “I’m in a role where I only want the best for the club.”

It was best for the club that Kinnear left.