Appointing Joe Kinnear is a step backwards for Newcastle United
I don’t personally know the exact reasons as to why Derek Llambias has left his role as Managing Director at Newcastle United, or at least he has according to incoming Director of Football Joe Kinnear however one thing I do know however is the situation at Newcastle United is nowhere near dire enough to bring in Joe Kinnear.
There are no doubting Mr Kinnear’s achievements within the game as the former Wimbledon boss was all too quick to point out on TalkSport yesterday evening “I have played in five cup finals, I have won the lot. I had over 400 games for Tottenham Hotspur, been manager of the year three times.” However Newcastle United are most certainly not in a position where they need to entrust player recruitment to Joe Kinnear. Understandably Mike Ashley is unhappy with the events of last season where Newcastle somehow dropped from a fifth place finish in the 2011-2012 campaign to a relegation battle in the 2012-2013 season despite the Sports Direct mogul spending a significant amount of money on transfers to improve the squad, notably Mathieu Debuchy and Moussa Sissoko although both these transfers arrived in January with problems already rife within the Newcastle squad. You can understand that Mike Ashley would want an improvement on last season considering the money he has spent but the problems at Newcastle were nowhere near as deep as people are making them out to be.
Yes performances last year were at times really very poor with goal scoring being the major problem following Demba Ba’s transfer to Chelsea in January, however Newcastle have in their possession, a very good collective group of players who realistically need to spend a pre-season together in order to gel properly and form a ‘team’. It also must be said that Newcastle had a lot of off the field problems last term with Steven Taylor’s long term injury plaguing Newcastle United in the second half of the season as well as an injury to Fabricio Coloccini following all the discussion surrounding his desired return to Argentina in the January transfer window which undoubtedly unsettled the player.
You cannot overlook these problems in the way Joe Kinnear appeared to do in his radio interview last night and state that wholesale change was needed with any player he didn’t deem good enough for Newcastle United being sent on his way, that sort of fire sale is exactly what sends teams towards the relegation trapdoor not away from it. A summer of significant change in playing personnel is only going to replicate the effects an influx of new players had on Newcastle United last season but maximise the negative impacts tenfold. What Newcastle United needed was to keep going in the same direction, bringing in supremely talented players but allowing them time in pre-season to settle into the team and build a rhythm ahead of the start of the next Premier League campaign.
Newcastle’s policy of giving Chief Scout Graham Carr the freedom to go and scout a selection of players, most frequently in France has been an effective one with Carr reporting back to manager Alan Pardew on the player first and advising him on how the player(s) in question could fit into Pardew’s side, following this a decision would be made on the player and Mike Ashley going off the advice given by Carr, Pardew and Llambias would give the go ahead for the money to be spent to bring the player into St James’ Park. You would find it hard to say this model wasn’t working, good players were being brought into the football club and for the most part fans were seeing an improvement to their team in both results and quality of football being played, yes it wasn’t quite like the days of Sir Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan beforehand but the Premier League is a completely different animal to what it was even ten years ago let alone fifteen or more.
This policy contrary to what Joe Kinnear stated yesterday evening is not going to be able to stay the same, at the very least Kinnear, Pardew
and Carr will have to take at least one pre-season to acclimatise themselves to each other’s work and preferences in transfer targets in order for this venture to have any chance of success however this then surely means Newcastle United will either spend this summer stagnating in the transfer market and not improving straight away which would represent a complete polar opposite to what Mike Ashley appears to want to do by bringing Joe Kinnear in as Director of Football, or it would see Newcastle United purchasing a whole host players Alan Pardew doesn’t necessarily want or players that haven’t been scouted extensively which could see Alan Pardew and or Graham Carr walk away from the club which would be a disaster.
What does seem odd is that Newcastle United have yet to officially announce Joe Kinnear as their new Director of Football despite the former Spurs full back talking about his new role to the media since Sunday evening. In all fairness to Joe Kinnear he did speak with a degree of sense on TalkSport last evening with regards to Newcastle United’s forward situation, “In my opinion we need a striker and I see that desperate, as my opinion… if you look at the goals tally last season I think we lost our top goalscorer in Demba Ba… we need a prolific goalscorer to come in there and assist Cisse.” This if you look at Newcastle United’s goal scoring record in the Premier League last season, is true, with the Magpies netting just forty five goals which was less than both Wigan and Aston Villa. Newcastle United in order to improve on last season do need to bring a striker in, it says a lot that Alan Pardew’s side looked weak in numbers up front even before Demba Ba’s departure and if Joe Kinnear is headed to St James’ Park intent on bringing in a striker as his first duty then at least he is beginning in a positive, and the correct way.
However I somehow feel that the striker he will look to bring in might not suit Newcastle United at this current time with the club having too many gifted technical midfield players to try and find Andy Carroll over the top on a regular basis. The club has to look towards more technical gifted, quick attacking players to bring in to the club to really bolster the creativity in the Newcastle forward line. A player in the mould of Luis Suarez would be perfect with that degree of energy up top likely to make Papiss Cisse’s job as a target man a whole lot easier. Rodrigo currently of Benfica would be the perfect choice with Newcastle having seen him first hand in their Europa League Quarter Final against the Lisbon side however I expect the former Bolton Wanderers loanee would prefer to stay with Benfica.
Finally a point to make away from the football side of things, Joe Kinnear in his more recent years does not have a natural rapport with players with the 2008 incident of calling Charles N’Zogbia, ‘Insomnia’ being one of the main factors that prompted N’Zogbia who was one of Newcastle’s better players at the time, to leave the club. This was thought of as a simple, harmless mistake by Kinnear himself and many others which is a perfectly reasonable belief to have with very few claiming Joe Kinnear intentionally mispronounced Charles N’Zogbia’s name but there is a degree of respect which comes when addressing people, especially people you have to interact with in a professional capacity and mispronouncing individuals names to the degree Joe Kinnear did on TalkSport last night was bordering on the ridiculous with Yohan Cabaye being called “Yohan Kabab”, Hatem Ben Arfa “Hatem Ben Afrey” and finally experienced forward Shola Ameobi being called “Amemobi” to which younger brother Sammy took particular exception to on Twitter, “Wow at least get my name right.”
If this is making players unhappy then surely it makes no sense to appoint someone who is rattling so many cages if you will, inside the club. Newcastle United weren’t in a disastrous position, they had a strong group of players and as we saw in throughout their Europa League campaign were capable of playing eye catching attacking football. All this needed following the disappointment of last season was to be nurtured along in pre-season with players gelling together and the odd signing brought in however I feel the appointment of Joe Kinnear could do far more to derail the club than improving it.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Following Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4