JOE Kinnear today pleaded with Newcastle United fans to get behind him after making a shock return to St James’s Park as director of football.
Kinnear’s revelation yesterday was greeted with surprise – and dismay – on Tyneside.
The 66-year-old – who had a five-month spell as manager in the 2008-09 relegation campaign and best known for his expletive-filled rant at journalists soon after succeeding Kevin Keegan as manager – has signed a three-year contract and will work with manager Alan Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr.
Kinnear says he will liaise directly with owner Mike Ashley and insists he will have the final say on transfers.
The appointment, yet to be confirmed formally by the club, led to an angry reaction from supporters.
While Kinnear insists he can take “grief” from fans, he is hopeful his input into team affairs will be welcomed.
“If I get grief, that’s fine,” Kinnear said. “I can take it. I can take grief. I certainly hope I don’t – I don’t think there’s any need for it.
“I’m in a role where I only want the best for the club. I’m in a role where I’m the only one who’s going to report to Mike Ashley.
“I think I can sit down and give my business plan to Mike and say this is what it’s going to cost, and these are the players we need, after consulting Alan Pardew and sitting down with Graham.
“I intend to get the best possible team for the Newcastle fans.
“It’s as simple as that. I had an alliegence to them.
“There were some that were probably anti me, as, at that particular time, the fans wanted Alan Shearer. I think they were a bit miffed I got the job and he didn’t.
“That’s understandable with him being the local hero. I’m there because I want to make Newcastle a great team – it’s as simple as that. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that. Hopefully, the fans will be as loyal as they have been.”
Kinnear says his appointment has been welcomed by manager Pardew, and he plans to speak to the Magpies’ manager this week.
“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’,” Kinnear said.
“I’m going to be delighted to be working with Alan. We’re very, very open-minded and good with each other. I’ve got the utmost respect for him, and I can’t see any problems between the two of us.
“I’m not the type of guy who causes problems for the sake of it. I want the best for all of us.”
Kinnear’s appointment will allow Llambias to concentrate solely on the club’s financial affairs.
“Alan Pardew can’t turn round and talk to anybody else – he can’t talk to Derek Llambias about players,” he said.
“Derek’s honest enough to say ‘look, I’m a financial guy, and I don’t know who the players are’.”