Look out, the clowns are coming. The 2013/14 English Premier League season was always looking like being an entertaining one when it comes to press conferences, with the continuation of Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland, the return of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and the second coming of Ian Holloway, now at Crystal Palace. But it seems that the real funny business is behind the scenes as Joe Kinnear announced his own re-appointment at Newcastle United.
It’s amazing how quickly one man can make all his goodwill disappear so soon after arriving back at his old club. Kinnear, manager at Newcastle until health problems pushed him from his position, stumbled his way back to Tyneside as Mike Ashley’s new director of football – someone I’m sure current manager Alan Pardew will be thrilled to report to.
Tasked with securing high profile and effective transfers whilst moving on dead wood, Kinnear made the first of many spontaneous blunders by taking credit for the signing of goalkeeper Tim Krul. Never mind that the Dutchman joined two years before Kinnear arrived at the club. That assertion also included erroneous “free transfers” and his misguided ability to sell players on for huge profits. The media’s ability, not to mention the fan’s, to simply check up on these wild statements proved a rotten obstacle to Kinnear’s tall tales. How dare they, the critics that “lack intelligence”, refute the director of football’s credentials after he earned three Manager of the Season awards (or just the one, as it turns out, in 1994).
However, by far the most ridiculous aspect of his return was perhaps the most inevitable of them all. Back at the beginning of 2009, during his first stint at Newcastle, Kinnear rubbed his players the wrong way, particularly Charles N’Zogbia, who he labelled “Insomnia”. A mild slip of the tongue, maybe? That’s how Kinnear saw it:
“OK, I got a little tongue-tied, but if I had a pound for every time I’ve mis-pronounced a player’s name down the years, then I’d be a very wealthy man indeed.” N’Zogbia didn’t see the funny side of it; the Frenchman demanded a transfer and left for Wigan.
Not content with one mistake, Kinnear laid into his entire team, particularly Pardew’s French signings and some others aside. Hatem “Ben Afri” (or “Ben Afra”, depending on his mood), Papiss Sissy, Jonas “Galtierrez”, “Amanobi” brothers Shola and Sammy and my personal favourite, Yohan “Kebab” (Cabaye, if you can’t see past Kinnear’s baffling grip on words). How he’s expected to scout for new talent abroad if he can’t pronounce their names is beyond me.
At least Kinnear has little chance of having to wrap his tongue about Andy Carroll (his name, I mean). Despite considering the possibility of moving back to his old club, young Eggroll (or Andy Curry, I’m not very good at this) is having a medical at West Ham and he’s had a lucky escape, too.
With others likely to stay away from this bumbling fool and some of last season’s underachievers possibly looking for a way out of the sinking ship, maybe Kinnear could look to the England side that crashed and burned out of the UEFA European Under-21 Championships for replacements. When you have Team GB rejects coming through like Steven Caulker and Marvin Sordell, you really have no faith in the future of England. These players and Newcastle United with Joe Kinnear at the helm would make the perfect fit.
I feel bad for Newcastle, I really do. They had a fantastic season 2 years ago, then a shocking one this last year. A little tinkering and they could have begun a regular assault on the Premier League’s top half. Yet, with these outburts unlikely to be a one-off event, I fear that the Toon have taken Liverpool’s current title of being the country’s laughing stocks.