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Hox in the Box: Joke Kinnear? Why Newcastle United fans need a reality check
12:36pm Friday 7th February 2014 in Sport
So it would appear Joe Kinnear has been made the fall guy in the Newcastle United saga; the scapegoat for the Magpies’ inability to redress the balance in the wake of their most influential player’s departure.
The usual fanfare that surrounds deadline day was an overwhelming disappointment for long-suffering Newcastle fans, with the many eyes that were focussed on the supposed imminent arrival of the next Ligue One import left gazing in wonder at what could have been.
Clement Grenier was the man Newcastle fans were expecting, a 23 year-old midfield maestro with huge potential and a hankering to make the French World Cup squad.
In other words, the only player fit to fill the gaping void left by the previous standard bearer Yohan Cabaye. His move to PSG was, by all accounts, completely expected. Which does beg the question: why on earth did they allow a player to move for big money without lining up someone to replace him?
The assumption is that it was Kinnear’s job to get someone through the door, but his subsequent departure will do little to placate the fans, whose demand for blood after the home defeat to bitter rivals Sunderland led to a visceral outpouring of hatred aimed in Kinnear’s direction.
Joe Kinnear has been sacked from his position as Director of Football at Newscastle United
Some fans invaded the pitch, others simply walked out, and the reaction at the final whistle was predictably angry, with many season ticket holders left wondering what happened to a season that held such promise just a few weeks ago.
But should they really be that surprised? Newcastle is a selling club, that much has been established since the Mike Ashley regime took full effect. And it has to be said the club has posted some impressive returns for their investment over the years, with Cabaye and Carroll raking in 50 million in profits alone.
Clearly Kinnear isn’t the only problem, but for a Director of Football whose sole job at the club is to oversee player recruitment, to sign just two players in two transfer windows is a monumental cock-up.
Intriguingly both were brought in on loan, suggesting the root cause of the problem lies with the man controlling the purse strings: Mike Ashley.
Loic Remy has been a fine addition to the Newcastle firing line; the jury’s still out on Luuk De Jong, but if his debut at the weekend is anything to go by he could be following Kinnear out of the door before too long.
The problem for Ashley is abundantly clear. Pardew has been a victim of his own relative success in stabilising the club as a Premier League force without having to spend big.
He and his scouting network - namely Graeme Carr - have mapped out a clear strategy for success: invest in young, talented players in France from clubs who need to sell.
It worked with Cabaye, Sissokko and Debuchy, but to mould an entire transfer policy around that ethic is naive and hopelessly optimistic.
Newcastle would be better off focussing on the cup competitions because, with six teams laying credible claims to being title contenders, there’s no way the Magpies can get close without investing heavily.
And, as we’ve just seen with Kinnear’s departure, players and staff are more likely to leave St James’ Park than enter.
Setting realistic goals is an essential part of a manager’s job, and for Alan Pardew the task that lies before him now is of tempering the sky-high ambitions of his passionate fanbase. Good luck with that.