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Sep 26, 2008

Kinnear named as surprise Newcastle manager

Newcastle United have shocked the football world by announcing former Wimbledon boss Joe Kinnear as their new interim manager. The news comes the day after Terry Venables turned down a reported £100,000-per-match deal because of all the "uncertainty" surrounding the Magpies.

Kinnear's contract will run until the end of October as embattled Newcastle owner Mike Ashley attempts to sell the club in the wake of Kevin Keegan's acrimonious departure as manager in August.

Kinnear, who has not been involved in football since 2004, said: "I am very excited about the challenge in front of me at Newcastle United.

"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.

"Newcastle United is a great club. When I was in charge of Wimbledon, I always remember the passion of the fans up there and how great a stadium St James' Park is.

"It is a big challenge, but one I am really looking forward to."

The 61-year-old managed Wimbledon between 1992 and 1999, during which time Newcastle's executive director (football) Dennis Wise was a regular player. The Irishman suffered a heart-attack during the 1998/99 season and was replaced as Dons boss by Egil Olsen in June 1999.

Kinnear took charge of Luton Town between 2001 and 2003 and his last managerial role came at Nottingham Forest in 2004, keeping the side in the Premier League in the 2003/04 season, but resigning that December with the club bottom of the table.

A consortium of Nigerian businessmen - whose members remain a closely guarded secret - are currently involved in talks with Ashley regarding a potential £400m takeover of Newcastle and have stated that they wish to bring back Toon-hero Keegan as manager.

Chris Nathaniel, of London-based NVA Management and spokesman for the four Nigerian entrepreneurs, said: "Kevin's a legend on Tyneside and I think anybody looking to buy that football club would not be very smart if they didn't have Kevin involved in some capacity, that's if Kevin wants to come back.

"If I was advising anyone that was buying the club I would certainly suggest Kevin would be the right man for the job."

Speaking to the BBC Kinnear also confirmed that the the Magpies' dream management duo of Keegan and Shearer were being lined up by the potential new owners.

"I think the club's going to be sold at the beginning of October," Kinnaer said. "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."

Newcastle play Blackburn Rovers at St James' Park on Saturday and the club have confirmed that acting caretaker manager Chris Hughton will select the team for the fixture.

Hughton has failed to win a match in three games at the helm has welcomed the appointment of Kinnear, whom he will work alongside at the weekend.

Hughton said: "The most important thing is that there is a direction at the club. The club felt they needed somebody to come in and give them, certainly for the period of time he will be in, that stability until something major happens, whenever that will be.

"I know Joe well, probably more from the football circuit having in my years at Spurs played against him when he was manager at Wimbledon.

"He is an experienced manager, there's no doubt about that. He is somebody who has been about for quite some time.

"He has good experience in the Premier League and I am sure he will know most of these players and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.''

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