The former Magpies manager caused outrage among fans when he was brought back to the club last summer, and after two full transfer windows he has not managed one permanent signing
By Jonathan Birchall
Joe Kinnear's leaving present from Newcastle is that he will at least get his wish. "Judge me on my signings," he said in the summer, having been entrusted to oversee player recruitment as the club's new director of football. So let's…
Permanent senior signings at St James' Park in the period from 18 June 2013 - his first day in the job - to date? None. From two transfer windows.
Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong, loans from QPR and Borussia Monchengladbach, are the only players whose arrival on Tyneside could in any way at all be credited to Kinnear. Indeed there are widely reported doubts over just how pivotal the 67-year-old was in making the Remy deal happen regardless.
That's not to say that Kinnear, whose credibility is now at such a low ebb following his resignation that you wonder if he would probably avoid signing himself, didn't bring some new names to football in the north east. Yohan Kebab, Jonas Goalterez, Shola Amamobi and Hatem Afra were all talked up in a radio interview last June. At the time of writing, none of the above have played for Newcastle. They must remain on the shortlist that is the 67-year-old's imagination.
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"If I was in charge, solely, of transfers things might be different but I'm not," said Pardew after an insipid 3-0 derby defeat at home to Sunderland, the club who looked to be taking the Magpies' crown as the most bizarrely run football club in the north east of England. But no, abnormal service has resumed.
You can understand the manager's obvious, barely quelled frustrations. Newcastle are eighth after a summer of inertia and January transfer window in which even Remy Cabella, a player who flirted with the club so much that it was tantamount to romance, never even arrived. It would be astonishing if they tread water and manage to stay where they are until May. Naturally, the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup will remain the club's most recent piece of silverware for another season.
There are likely to be as many defenders of Kinnear in Newcastle as there are trophies in the club's cabinet, but an extremely forgiving soul could argue that his inaction at least allowed for an element of stability upon which Pardew could build. Player turnover hasn't been terribly high. But the Cabaye sale and subsequent malaise shows the very worst of a transfer guru who didn't do transfers.
Kinnear, who returned to the club under Mike Ashley after a spell as manager in 2008-09, has overseen what is surely one of the most disastrous tenureships as a club official in Newcastle United's history. That's saying something.
It is Ashley, of course, who brought Kinnear and previously Dennis Wise to the club in the first place. It is Ashley who, when it comes to paying the fees, dotting the Is and crossing the Ts, who is in overall charge. What the owner sanctions and what he doesn't is open to speculation. Kinnear, a company man, may well have been hamstrung in the first place.
But he asked for this. "Judge me on my signings". Kinnear and his eight-month directorship is simply another piece of evidence against Ashley's suitability as the owner of Newcastle United. There is no defence of Kinnear's appointment or lack of tangible transfer activity. The evidence, two loan signings aside, is empty. The club have not and will not comment on him further.
Yet it's the fans who will take this, another haymaker, on the chin. They will be at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to watch an opposition team built on a billionaire's bounty. They will be back at St James' four days later, when Tottenham come to Tyneside chasing European football. They will come in hope - expectation has surely long gone - of something better than this. Newcastle fans have developed a thick skin, but being the butt of the joke will always hurt when it becomes this relentless.
What now for Kinnear is anybody's guess. He claimed from the day he joined that he was "certainly more intelligent" than the fans who were questioning his appointment, but even he, in his imperial wisdom, never managed to answer the most difficult question over this whole sorry state: just why on Earth was he there in the first place?