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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Kinnear: I'm no Cockney

Newcastle trouble-shooter Joe Kinnear arrived on Tyneside today and told the club's fans: ''I am not part of the Cockney mafia.''

The Magpies shocked English football yesterday when they appointed the 61-year-old as interim manager after failing in a bid to persuade Terry Venables to take over on a temporary basis.

Kinnear, who will officially take over from caretaker boss Chris Hughton on Monday, said: ''I am being linked with the 'Cockney mafia' - they forget I was born in Ireland and played for Ireland all my life.

''So be it. I have come here to do the best I possibly can because I know it's a short contract, I know what is stored around the corner for me, if you like.

''But sod it, so what? If I can come and do a really good job here, who knows where it is going to lead for me?

''It might be just good for both of us. From what I am led to believe what is happening around the corner, so be it.

''I am not going to let that worry me or take my focus off the job.''

Kinnear also insisted just because he has not had a day-to-day involvement in club football, it does not mean he has lost touch with the game.

He said: ''I have been out of the game, but I have travelled the world looking at players and worked for various managers identifying players.

''I spent something like two months in Brazil and a month in Argentina for one of the biggest clubs in England looking for players.

''It's not as if I have been out of the game, although I have been out of the game as a manager.

''I have been a manager now for 30 years and I have got a lot of experience.

''This is a fantastic opportunity. I can't believe the other candidates turned it down.

''It's just a fantastic opportunity and a wonderful stadium. Irrespective of what condition they are in, I'm here to improve them.''

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