Joe Kinnear has never been anything other than a pantomime villain at Newcastle United, who we could all boo and jeer at for the failure to bring in reinforcements to the squad.
Getting rid of him however, does mean that we become a more serious outfit. Why Mike Ashley ever thought it was a good idea, I don’t know, but I guess a decision like that is fairly typical of the kind of brain freeze that the owner has from time to time.
I don’t want to talk any more about Joe Kinnear – frankly, he’s not worth it and has always been an insignificant figure at the club. We have a far more serious problem at Newcastle but one which can be similarly fixed fairly easily if the right decision is made.
Alan Pardew was fully exposed on Saturday as he was shown to be tactically inept, embarrassed by Gus Poyet – a man who has a philosophy over how the game should be played and will empower his players to express themselves.
In contrast, Pardew has occasionally played some very good football this season (probably forced to do so by Cabaye!) but it’s against his nature. When under pressure, his default setting is always restored – long ball to Shola, bypassing midfield and all the French guys, whose technical ability he doesn’t really trust.
The players we had on the field and on the bench against Sunderland were perfectly capable of playing proper football and I have no doubt that, if we had swapped managers for the game, we would have won comfortably.
We have a wonderful asset in the form of Chief Scout (and effective Director of Football) Graham Carr and Kinnear’s exit can only help placate the man who has saved Mike Ashley’s investment in recent years.
Personally, I don’t care whether it is Ashley out or in – I just want him to hire some decent people to run the club effectively and sit back and let them get on with it. We don’t need him to inject any more money into the club – we just need him to stop embarrassing it and to make some sensible appointments.
Pardew isn’t a top class manager and, contrary to media nonsense, he wouldn’t ‘walk into’ another leading Premiership job.
I have a plan, which is relatively simple.
1. Sack Alan Pardew, either now or at the end of the season.
2. Give Graham Carr the title of Director of Football, but have him do exactly the same job he is doing now.
3. Hire Nicola Cortese as Executive Chairman, a job which he performed spectacularly well at Southampton.
4. Hire Mauricio Pochettino, a manager who has transformed Southampton’s playing style with limited resources, whilst also making them believe that there is no limit to what they can achieve. He plays great football and never has an inferiority complex against ‘better sides’.
That’s it. As for the rest, let them get on with it.
You will note that none of the above requires Ashley to commit huge amounts of money or net spending on transfer fees – our balance sheet is strong enough for the club to ‘wipe its nose’ but it’s time to put it to good use and empower the right people to make good decisions on moving us forward. Kinnear was always a joke appointment but Pardew is not the man to trust with spending any money – if left to him, we’d now have players like Bent, Tompkins and Downing. He has to go.
Ashley doesn’t want to put more money into the club, but I doubt he would be averse to seeing the club grow as a global brand, and his investment increase in value. I think he may even start enjoying himself if he puts competent people in charge in the way that Marcus Liebherr did at Southampton.
Cortese took enormous flak from the British media for sacking Pardew and Atkins at Southampton but he showed conviction and a belief that has subsequently embarrassed all those people that doubted he knew what he was doing. His hiring of the relatively unknown Pochettino was inspired and again demonstrated that his knowledge of the game was far beyond that of his detractors.
Newcastle United is a club in need of leadership, focus and a philosophy over what it represents. I think a combination of Cortese, Pocchetino & Carr can provide that.
You can follow Waseem on Twitter @WShak1