Following Dennis Wise’s departure in April 2009; after an ill-fated flirtation with the continental Director of Football system, Newcastle United moved away from this concept for a period of 4 years. In which, the club gradually got back to its feet, with Chris Hughton winning the Championship and promotion back to the Premier League, and Alan Pardew qualifying for the Europa League, finishing 5th in the 2011/2012 campaign. However, seemingly out of nowhere, Joe Kinnear himself announced on 16 June 2013 that he had been appointed Director of Football, after an unsuccessful spell as Newcastle manager in the relegation season of 2008/09.
Joe Kinnear, a long time drinking buddy of Mike Ashley at the Orange Tree pub in Totteridge Village (source: Daily Mail), can be heard discussing his new role in the video below in what was a most surreal and embarrassing live interview with TalkSport on 17 June 2013:
A full transcript of this interview, including many remarks from journalist Ed Maylon (The Mirror) about the inaccuracy of Kinnear’s claims can be found here.
The very next day, in what arguably proved to be the only positive of his tenure, Derek Llambias resigned from his position as Newcastle United managing director with immediate effect. Thus contradicting what Joe Kinnear claimed in the above interview that ‘Lambazee’ had taken a step back to only concentrate on the financial side of running the club. The unexpected move also cast huge doubt on the futures of chief scout Graham Carr and manager Alan Pardew, with a club announcement simply stating:
“Joe will report directly to the club’s board as the senior executive in charge of all football-related matters,” it read. “Chief scout Graham Carr and manager Alan Pardew will report in to Joe.”
Source: The Independent
Asked about the decision to reintroduce the Director of Football structure at the club and the remarkable choice to hand the role to Joe Kinnear, this is what the board had to say in a fan forum meeting (23 September 2013):
“The board suggested that MA’s [Mike Ashley’s] approach was appointing someone who he already had a relationship with, who he trusted and who was a football man that understood the game. Joe Kinnear (JK) was the owner’s choice.”
Seemingly aware of the criticism by both fans and the media about his appointment, Joe Kinnear went on record to state:
“Judge me on my signings”
Source: The Guardian
Despite many-a-claim to being very busy attracting top talent to Newcastle United, and a very urgent requirement particularly for forwards after having not replaced Demba Ba who left six months earlier, in the two transfer periods he was employed as Director of Football, he managed to sign ZERO incoming players. In this period he only brought in Loic Remy on loan from Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2013 and Luuk de Jong on loan from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in January 2014. Although he did almost manage to sign Shane Ferguson, a player already on Newcastle’s books and loaned out to Birmingham city (3 November 2013):
A City source told the newspaper: “Ferguson had a particularly good game that night and Joe Kinnear told one of our officials he was interested in signing him.
“At first our guy thought he was joking but then he realised Kinnear did not know Ferguson was already a Newcastle player.”
The only outgoing transfer Joe Kinnear oversaw was the sale of Yohan Cabaye to French side Paris Saint Germain at the end of the January 2014 transfer window, whilst failing to bring in a much needed replacement. It’s rumoured that Joe Kinnear’s departure shortly after was a result of Mike Ashley’s fury at not being able to extract a higher sale price from moneybags Paris Saint German (source: The Mirror).
On 3 February 2014, Joe Kinnear resigned from his position as Director of Football at Newcastle United. This prompted manager Alan Pardew declaring (6 February 2014):
“I’m just sad to see anybody lose their job, as Joe has. He did a lot of good work here.
“But that decision was the board’s decision and we have to now work towards getting us and our position in the league more secure.”
After two disastrous experiments with the Director of Football concept, this is what the board had to say about the matter in a fan forum meeting (24 February 2014):
CF: “Can the Club expand on Joe Kinnear’s departure?”
The Club had no further comment to make.
SC: “Are there any plans to recruit a new Director of Football?”
The board said this would be reviewed in the summer.