Can Kinnear Rocket Newcastle Back To Glory?

Posted on: 07 October 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Joe Kinnear has banished the media but can his no-nonsense style inspire Newcaslte?

The daily pantomime that has become Newcastle United Football Club escalated into further farce this week with interim manager Joe Kinnear launching a verbal tirade at journalists.

The former Wimbledon manager, appointed on a short-term contract to guide the Toon Army through another rocky period in it’s history, accused reporters of trying to undermine him in a five-minute rant.

The furious Kinnear used 52 swear words during his explosive first press conference at Newcastle’s Benton training ground and then claimed it would be his last. The 61-year-old immediately slapped a ban on all of the media after they revealed on Tuesday that he gave his first team the day off on his first day in charge.

Kinnear claimed he’s been “ridiculed” for no reason, although he admitted last week fans would be disappointed by his arrival, and that he only got the job because everyone else turned it down.

His turbulent first week at the helm of St James’ Park didn’t improve in his first game when the club lost 2-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers. He is also serving a two-match touchline ban dating back four years which Newcastle knew nothing about when they appointed him.

The Irishman claimed Toon legend Alan Shearer was waiting to take his job long term, a claim Shearer said was “news to me”, and he admitted to club owner Mike Ashley his reception had “not been the best”, since taking charge.

But the return of Kinnear to the Premier League is surely a great occasion for all of us outside of Tyneside.

Although we’ve yet to see (and we’re unlikely to, given his short-term deal) what the tough-talking gaffer can do to stop the rot at Newcastle, he has added a bit of a spice and livened things up off the field.

If you’re a regular viewer of Match Of The Day, if you tune in to Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News or watch any of Setanta’s coverage of the best league in the world, I imagine you’re as bored as I am at listening to the same answers to the same questions week-in, week-out from players and managers alike.

But Kinnear’s midweek rocket has shown the Irishman is an aggressive, assertive and enterprising boss who really does seem to care about his job, speaking his mind and keen to give his all for the unwanted position.

Granted, we weren’t on the end of his tirade but what the unhappy Toon faithful have been crying out for is someone to come in and do the job with loyalty, passion, respect and a bit of fire in the belly.

Whether Kinnear is talking to Michael Owen, Nicky Butt, Mark Viduka or even Joey Barton, you can be sure that the gaffer will earn himself the respect to call himself the boss around St James’ Park, even if he does give the players a day off here and there.

Kinnear knows he’s taken on a thankless task in charge of the Magpies and that he’s also been given the reigns for just a handful of matches. It wouldn’t have been a surprise for the watching public to see him sit back, take the money, pull out the usual managerial clichés about being surrounded by a “great bunch of lads”, “loving the job” and “feeling his team were unlucky not to win” when going down 3-0 against Manchester United.

In fact, that’s what everyone is expecting isn’t it? He’s a stop-gap working safe in the knowledge that someone better suited will come in when the new board takes over, whether they are South African, Spanish, British or Nigerian.

Instead he seems to be genuinely excited about the prospect of taking charge, he’s hungry for Premier League success and his track record at rescuing jobs is actually quite impressive, despite his four year absence from the game through health problems.

His teams play the football he talks. They are hard, well organised and tough to break down, they have physical ball-players in midfield and play a direct style – the sort players like Viduka, Owen and Obafemi Martins could thrive on.

His biggest test still lies at home and the challenge he faces to win over the Newcastle players and supporters who still idolise Kevin Keegan. It won’t be easy and he’s unlikely to win them all over. It’s a test of his own character, dealing with high-profile names on a daily basis - something he’s never experienced - as well as mixing his own old-school methods with strokes of modern-day tactical genius.

The fans wanted a big name boss if Keegan couldn’t return, and they’re unlikely to favour the direct approach but if the club can start picking up three points on a regular basis, we might start to see a bit more of Joe Kinnear - just don’t mention the press.

Joe Kinnear’s explosive rant can be heard below:

By Mark O'Haire

How will Joe Kinnear fare in his short-term job at Newcastle? Who is the right man for Newcastle? What do you make of the current problems up on Tyneside?

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