Newcastle appoint Kinnear as interim manager
Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Guardian Online

Newcastle United have named Joe Kinnear as their interim manager until the end of October. Kinnear's appointment, which follows Terry Venables' decision to decline the post yesterday, marks an unexpected return to the game for the 61-year-old Dubliner, who has not managed since being sacked by Nottingham Forest in December 2004.

Kinnear immediately hinted his permanent replacement at the helm of the club could be a Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer 'dream ticket'. "I think the club's going to be sold at the beginning of October and Chris Hughton needs all the help he can get," said Kinnear. "So if I can get in there and get a few results together until obviously the two main people are named, I assume from the new people coming in they will be Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer.
 
"Results have not been great of late, but there is a lot of quality in the squad and I am very confident the players are capable of climbing the league table."
 
Whether that confidence will be shared by Newcastle's support remains to be seen. Despite his Irish roots, Kinnear is best remembered for his seven-year tenure at Wimbledon, where he presided over the infamous 'Crazy Gang' that at one time included Dennis Wise, the club's executive director and the focal point of much of the fans' discontent following the departure of Keegan. Wise left Wimbledon before Kinnear's arrival, but the perceived connection between the two is unlikely to endear the interim appointment to St James' Park regulars, a fact not lost on Kinnear.
 
"The fans will be disappointed, I understand that, but I can't do anything about it," said Kinnear. "I will just be doing my very best because I am desperate to get back into the game. I will be going up to Newcastle on Monday and will pick the team from then. It is a big challenge but one I am really looking forward to."
 
Newcastle face Blackburn at home tomorrow, after which Kinnear will assume the helm for six to eight games, a run which would include fixtures against Everton, Manchester City, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and, potentially, Fulham and Wigan Athletic.
 
The appointment of Kinnear, a former Republic of Ireland international whose decade-long career at Tottenham included the 1967 FA Cup as well as two League Cups, will see Chris Hughton revert to the role of first team coach after a three-game spell as caretaker-manager during which the club have failed to register a win. Kinnear's managerial career has also included spells in charge at Luton and Nottingham Forest after a heart attack forced him to relinquish the reins at Wimbledon in 1999.
 
Mike Ashley, the Newcastle owner, is in talks with a Nigerian consortium about a possible takeover, although it is anticipated that any buyout could take up to two months to be completed.

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