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Ashley responsible for Kinnear decision

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was the sole decision maker in the move to appoint Joe Kinnear as the club's director of football and he will not go back on the plan despite the backlash from media and supporters, ESPN understands.

• Brewin: The madness of Mike Ashley

Manager Alan Pardew has declined to comment in the days since Kinnear revealed he had agreed a three-year deal with Ashley, but he was not alone in being kept in the dark over the appointment.

Newcastle United sources claim that high-profile members of club staff were taken by surprise when Kinnear announced in a TV interview that he had agreed a deal to return to the club he managed in the 2008-09 season.

Ashley is said to have been disturbed by his side's flirtation with relegation last season and the experience is believed to have been the catalyst for him to change the structure of the club this summer.

The selection of Kinnear for the key role has been derailed somewhat by his bizarre radio interview on talkSPORT on Monday evening, when he offered up a series of mistaken claims about his career, and suggested he has the power to "open doors" to any manager in world football.

Those boasts were greeted with scorn by most observers, especially after he mistakenly named French midfielder Yohan Cabaye as 'Yohan Kebab' and Derek Llambias - who resigned as the club's managing director on Wednesday - as 'Derek Lambeze'. But Kinnear has found a voice of support in the Newcastle dressing room.

Respected defender Steven Taylor broke ranks as he risked the wrath of irate Newcastle supporters by offering a warn endorsement of Kinnear.

"Joe was great for me when he was manager and I really enjoyed playing for him," Taylor told Sky Sports. "We were in a great position under Joe in the league until he got ill and it was after that that things went wrong.

"Joe wears his heart on his sleeve and he tells it as it is and I think he is someone that Newcastle exactly need. Joe has lots of experience and he is very knowledgeable and I for one am really excited to see him back at Newcastle."

However, former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has join the chorus of disapproval after the manner Kinnear's return left him stunned.

"For Joe Kinnear to come out and say the things he has said, I can't believe it," said Shepherd on talkSPORT. "I certainly wouldn't let him into Newcastle. I would have got rid of him before he got there because it is ridiculous what he has been saying, it really is.

"There is something that is not right. Everybody knows that in the business. There is something that isn't right here."

Keith Bishop Associates, the London-based PR company Ashley used in managing his affairs, has been flooded with media enquires in the days since Kinnear returned to the Newcastle hierarchy, but there is still no hint that the Newcastle owner will offer an interview to explain the decision.

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