The appointment of Joe Kinnear as Newcastle's director of football is very strange. I totally agree with the format of having a director of football or a sporting director overseeing matters at a club, but there is no history of it working in Britain.
There are too many examples of it around Europe where you see it works. But not in the UK. It is very much a British thing when so many managers get a sporting director and suddenly feel threatened.
I can see why chairmen would want that set-up. When you decide that is what you want to do, you have to get the best man for the job as if you are appointing a coach or a manager. But then you come up with Joe Kinnear. Is he the best man?
I think when you appoint a sporting director, you would maybe think of someone like Damien Comolli, whatever people think of him, or Frank Arnesen, who has just been sacked by Hamburg. Somebody with a bit of history in that role.
Joe Kinnear has come out and said he has the final say on transfers. But that job is about much more than just finding the right players. It is about being able to open doors. It is about being able to get the right people to take your phone calls. It is about being able to negotiate with people.
I don't know Joe Kinnear particularly well, but he has no history of doing anything like this. Can you imagine Joe Kinnear picking up a telephone to try to buy a player from Real Madrid and leaving a message. I don't imagine they will be quick to phone him back. I don't mean that to be disrespectful, but we all know how the world works.
You strike up relationships with people, and do each other favours. As big as the football world is, it is also a small village.
It is all about who you know. I don't see Joe Kinnear's qualifications in the role they have given him. I don't think he has been anything other than a football manager. He wasn't even a great success as a manager. He had a bit of success at Wimbledon and taking Luton Town up a division. That's about it.
This is a different role, and I just don't see it. Alan Pardew is probably on holiday somewhere in the world. This is the last thing he would have wanted.
It appears to have been done over his head. If it had been a respected director of football with history, I think Alan could have understood what they were trying to do. But this is almost like saying: "we want Joe back so let us create a role for him". He is unqualified for the role he has been handed, and you can rest assured Joe will get involved.
Everything we know about him suggests he won't be shy in coming forward to offer his opinions. The current set-up of Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias, Joe Kinnear and Alan Pardew working together won't last. In that current format within 12 months, it just won't work.
Pardew is going to feel very uncomfortable at the moment. They've not had a great season, but the basis of that squad is not too shabby. It is already a top-10 Premier League squad. There are one or two areas that maybe need tweaked. I don't see the need for dramatic changes.
They lost Demba Ba to Chelsea during the season, and are maybe one or two players away from being a better side next season.
Frank Arnesen has a fantastic record across Europe, but it didn't work for him at Chelsea or Spurs. It almost feels like Kinnear is a manager-in-waiting, like Gerard Houllier's involvement alongside Roy Evans at Liverpool proved to be, and Joe has done nothing in football apart from play and manage.
He is in his mid-60s, but will have to do things that he has never done before.
He would have spoken to his chief executive in his career, and told them to go and buy a player. Now he will have to do that.
You need a different set of skills in that role. You keep trying to look for positives in this appointment, and you can't see any.
He says he wants to make Newcastle successful as possible. Of course he will, but does he have the skills for the role in a world moving faster and faster?
I'd like to see Joe Kinnear's contacts book compared to somebody doing the same job at Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich. That in itself must be a handicap. It can be very difficult.
Also Joe being there before will work against him. He is not popular with the fans. People are looking at the fall-out from this. Joe Kinnear is not going to fill Newcastle with players who will get the club relegated. But neither is he going to be the answer to problems that obviously exist.
In Pardew, we could already be looking at a dead man walking. It is probably just about the right assumption to make.
Joe Kinnear has been out of football for five years. He is a great football man, but there are plenty of those going about. That doesn't give him the skills required for such a job.
- Sports & Recreation
- Joe Kinnear
- Alan Pardew