Word has it, the Oxford English Dictionary has recalled its latest print to update the word underwhelmed as it has just been given a completely new depth of meaning.
Whilst many Newcastle fans were sitting flicking through sports related websites and watching the scrolling bar on sky sports for any news of a Yoann Gourcuff, a Thomas Ince or even a Darren Bent, we were all stunned on Sunday evening to hear of the imminent appointment of Joe Kinnear as the new director of football which, even for April 1st, was as near the knuckle as these jokes can get. Only, it wasn’t a joke. It was true.
Director of Football at Newcastle is a role once occupied by D*nn*s W*se, advising the football-naive board on all matters football like a kind of modern-day Yoda (without the looks). Mr Wise proceeded to step on the toes of a man whose track record in the transfer market, a certain Kevin Keegan, was quite impeccable; David Ginola, Ali Bernarbia, Robert Lee, Nicolas Anelka and Alan Shearer among those he had signed in his managerial career. However, being presented with players such as Xisco and ‘Nacho’ Gonzales instead of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Torsten Frings, Gareth Bale and Pablo Aimar alienated Keegan and caused him to walk.
Had Wise’s role been to rove around the globe identifying talent to recommend to Keegan instead of only telling the board who then went out and bought said recommendations without the manager’s input, then it’s possible Keegan wouldn’t have had a problem. However, even Sir Bobby Robson went on record to say he’d never forgive Wise for ‘what he did to my football club’.
Enter, or should I say, re-enter Joe Kinnear. A man who cannot say three words in a row unless at least one of them causes mild offence. So why has his appointment filled Newcastle fans with a mixture of bafflement, anger and gloom?
Firstly, none of us know what he has in his ‘locker’ that could possibly benefit a scouting and recruitment system that has so far given us the likes of Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Marveaux and Sissoko.
Secondly, none of us have any clue what, if any, positives he bestowed on the club in his time as interim manager.
Thirdly, his first press conference for the club was littered with expletives and rage, not quite what Newcastle are looking for after a season of poor form and low morale.
Fourthly, he is Joe ’the game has moved on 20 years’ Kinnear!
Pardew is hanging on to his job by his last fingernail after a shocking season and the appointment of a Director of Football, whoever it is, is a statement by Mike Ashley that Pardew needs all the help he can get. Hardly a vote of confidence and especially not when you consider Joe has already made it clear where he thinks Newcastle went wrong last season. He reckons we were poor in defence, didn’t score enough goals and had too many injuries. I bet Pardew is over the moon he now has someone to tell him these things.
The most puzzling aspect remains that it already seems the board have been finding players, buying them and then telling Pardew what they’ve done rather than Alan himself giving instructions as to what is needed. So why bring someone in to do a job that is already being done, albeit by a committee rather than a titled ‘head of department’? Well, whatever the reasons – and I’m yet to think of one that makes sense and doesn’t make me want to shout the word ‘why’ over and over – all we can hang our Newcastle bobble hats on at the moment is the fact Kinnear was responsible for bringing Kevin Nolan to the club before we were relegated. A player who, for his impeccable attitude in the promotion season and a hat-trick against Sunderland, left us some happy memories at St. James Park. Kinnear also brought in Ryan Taylor, another derby match-winner ergo Geordie hero.
Even with these solitary strips of silver around the massive potty-mouthed cloud that is Mr Kinnear, the only headlines Newcastle seem to make these days are humiliating and depressing ones. Even the most optimistic of us can only see Pardew’s dismissal ten games into the new season, Kinnear’s appointment as interim manager followed by a prolonged hospital stay six games later and ultimately relegation.