Last week you may remember that we covered Bob Bradley’s ill-fated reign as Swansea boss. While a complete disaster it at least started semi-promisingly. Joe Kinnear’s spell at Newcastle during the 2008/09 season started poorly, got worse and was a large contributor to why Newcastle were relegated. So at least Kinnear can say he’ll be remembered at Newcastle, although for all the wrong reasons.
Kinnear was a bizarre appointment at the time, given his last managerial job had been four years prior at Nottingham Forest. Kinnear actually had a pretty decent spell at Wimbledon during the 90’s where in a seven-year spell he consistently kept them in the Premier League and even achieved a few top half finishes, which is actually quite impressive.
The predecessor to Joe Kinnear was Kevin Keegan, whose second spell at Newcastle failed to recapture the excitement of his first spell and in fact probably deserves a column of its own. After Keegan resigned Kinnear was appointed interim manager on 28th September 2008 for an initial one month period. Things did not start well. In his first interview as manager he spoke to journalist Simon Bird. In this interview, he dropped the c-bomb on Bird and went on to swear an additional 51 times before announcing later in the interview that he would not be speaking to the media while he was Newcastle manager. This was obviously a PR nightmare for the club and Chris Hughton, assistant manager at the time ended up taking over press duties.
As for on the pitch matters things only started fairly badly. A pair of 2-2 draws against Everton and Manchester City were ok but a 2-1 loss to arch rivals Sunderland was hardly going to make Kinnear incredibly popular. Results did actually start to pick up though as back to back victories against Aston Villa and West Brom were recorded. Kinnear would then round out November with three consecutive draws and be handed the manager’s job on a permanent basis. While his record as Newcastle manager hadn’t been awful, the style of play wasn’t great and Newcastle were still languishing in the bottom third of the table. Things would quickly go downhill.
Newcastle were at home to Stoke and had been up 2-0 for the majority of the game. Kinnear got into a confrontation with referee Mike Riley and proceeded to watch his team give up two goals and draw the match. Kinnear did follow this episode with back to back wins but after these result, it got worse and worse for Joe.
Results were abysmal in January as Newcastle picked up just two points from a possible fifteen. Kinnear also referred to Charles N’Zogbia as Charles ‘Insomnia’ just before he sold him, in yet another bizarre outburst. February kicked off with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland which would turn out to be Kinnear’s last match in charge. The Newcastle manager had had heart problems before and needed a bypass. Kinnear temporarily stepped down as Newcastle United manager before his contract expired at the end of the season as the Toon were relegated.
Despite Kinnear’s reign being an utter disaster there were reports that he would take over as manager again in August 2009 to guide Newcastle out of the Championship. Luckily for the Magpies Chris Hughton got the job and got Newcastle promoted. Still, at least that was the end of Joe Kinnear at Newcastle United. Except it wasn’t.
In a Talksport interview in 2013, Kinnear announced to the world that he had in fact been appointed director of football at St James’ Park. Joe had been out of a job since his last spell at Newcastle and gave an interview for the ages. He claimed while at Wimbledon he signed Dean Holdsworth for £50,000 (600 grand off), sold Robbie Earle (retired a year after Kinnear left) and had signed John Hartson on a free when he actually cost £7.5 million. He would then go on to mispronounce the names of Yohan Cabaye, Shola Ameobi and Hatem Ben Arfa before Newcastle shocked the world and actually confirmed the appointment in June 2013!
Kinnear’s tenure as director of football was brief as he only managed to complete two loan signings across two transfer windows before resigning in February 2014. In fact Joe Kinnear at Newcastle is essentially two short spells highlighted by bizarre outbursts and poor performances. His spell as manager set the club up for relegation and his spell as director of football arguably set up the path to relegation again. Now that’s bad management.