Joe Kinnear has been appointed as the Director of Football at Newcastle United and there have been mixed reviews amongst pundits and Newcastle supporters.
Their owner Mike Ashley has tried this system previously and it led to the departure of the hero of St. James’s Park, Kevin Keegan. Keegan left due to interference from Dennis Wise, Director of Football at the time, as he didn’t have full control over first team affairs. It led to Ashley receiving strong criticism from the Newcastle fans and a lot of fans still criticise Ashley very strongly for the way he runs the club.
While it has been strongly denied by Kinnear, the majority of the public are predicting that this appointment is a ploy to force Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, into resignation. It will be very interesting to see what unfolds. The Director of Football system failed at Newcastle before so what makes the owner think that the system can work this time around. The system in general has been tried by some English clubs on previous occasions with very little success. The likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool have attempted this but they ended up aborting the plan and going back to the traditional system. Will Newcastle buck the trend or could it lead to more trouble behind the scenes?
It’s understandable that Mike Ashley may have doubts about the ability of Alan Pardew. They had an outstanding season in 2011-2012 when they finished in fifth position in the Premier League. They played outstanding football and had a genuine chance of qualifying for the Champions League and indeed finished ahead of Chelsea, who won the Champions League that season. Pardew was awarded with an eight year contract and their future looked promising but they made huge backward strides last season and they were very lucky to avoid relegation.
Ashleys reservations are reasonable and it would seem that he either sees Kinnear as assistance to Pardew or the next Newcastle manager. Newcastle are definitely a vulnerable team next season. They have shown the best and the worst of their ability in the last two Premier League seasons and it is a mystery to many to see how they will perform for the 2013-2014 season. Their 2012-2013 success was built on a good defence, they had 15 clean sheets that season, and the goal scoring exploits of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse. The loss of Ba has not been solved and they conceded way too many goals last season with poor defending, they have a lot of problems to try and rectify.
The question is what a Director of Football and specifically Joe Kinnear can do the change this and it’s a very hard question to answer. Kinnear has spoken to the public and he seems to be saying that he will work with Pardew and chief scout, Graham Carr, in terms of player recruitment with Kinnear having the final say on the comings and goings of Newcastle players. They have brought in a lot of players from French leagues over the last few seasons, with a lot of success at times but it appears that they are now overdoing the French recruitment. Is Kinnear’s appointment there to target more English players? We will have to wait and see.
Damien Comolli is another high profile Director of Football and it’s safe to say that he failed in his respective roles at Liverpool and Spurs respectively. The template has yet to see success in English football. It looks very unlikely that Newcastle will achieve more in this system then their previous regime.
To me it definitely looks like an attempt to see Alan Pardew leave the club. He couldn’t have complained if he had been sacked at the end of the season but the length of his contract made this very difficult to do. I can’t see the system working and I think Ashley’s popularity will fall even more amongst Newcastle fans and the lack of stability could lead to another difficult season for them.