Kinnear makes the same mistake as he refuses to learn and evolve with football
By Oliver Wilson
The ‘a bull in the china shop’ metaphor doesn’t even come close to describing what Newcastle United’s newest director of football, Joe Kinnear did when he was interviewed by TalkSport Radio on Monday.
The bull, if we forget for a moment, how and why it is in said china shop, is likely to be scared and uneasy having found itself in such unnatural surroundings. As a result of this unlikely but heavily referenced metaphorical situation, is likely to lash out erratically, thus destroying the fragile and delicate material goods that surround him in, what we can only imagine, is a rather confined space for such a large animal. When all things are considered, the bull cannot be blamed.
Imagine, though, that there are a few more elements that need to be taken into account in this story. For instance, what if the china in the shop knew of the bull and made it public knowledge, even to the bull, that they didn’t want the bull coming into their shop, not even to make a purchase in a calm manner.
What if the bull knew this and still decided to go back to the shop, after smashing it to the ground on a previous occasion. And, despite being armed with this new knowledge, decided to walk straight back into the shop and tell the china that they didn’t know what was best for them and that any doubters, didn’t know what they were talking about. Then the bull proceeds to destroy the shop anyway, rather than making a purchase and leaving in a clam and peaceful manner.
It’s a long winded way of describing what Kinnear did in his interview but the lack of sense and tact shown by the former Wimbledon manager amounts to the same level of care shown by the reckless wild animal in the confines of the china shop.
“The fans have feelings and if they aren't happy with what is going on the manager gets the bullet. Unfortunately for them I've never been sacked in my life,” lashed out the new arrival to the North East on Monday evening.
“They keep saying to me – what did I do? Where have these people been – have they been on another planet? I have played in 5 cup finals – I have won the lot. I had over 400 games for Tottenham Hotspur – been manager of the year 3 times – I have travelled all over the world as a manager.
“Some of them are talking out their backsides, a load of tosh and I'm not accepting it. It's as simple as that. I've certainly got more intelligence than them, that's for sure.”
Cutting his critics down to size wasn’t enough, though, for Kinnear, as he mispronounced a number of Newcastle’s players’ names incorrectly,
Hatem Ben Arfa became Ben Afri, Derek Llambias turned into ‘Lambezzi’, Sammy Ameobi was switched to ‘Amamobi’, Papis Cisse’s future at the club will not have been helped after he was reffered to as ‘Sissy’, while Jonas Gutierrez was called ‘Goltirez and Yohan Cabaye was blurted out as ‘Yohan Kebab’.
Responses from the digital world were fast to criticise the new director for his first foray into the media in his new role. Even Ameobi voiced his frustration via twitter after hearing the interview saying: “Wow, at least get my name right.’
It will be very worrying for all those associated with the club that Joe is making the same mistake that lead to the departure of Charles N’Zogbia from in 2009. The French forward went on strike while under the leadership of Kinnear after the manager called him ‘Charles Insomnia’ during a television interview. It appears nothing has been learnt in the last four-years.
Kinnear comes from the 1990’s school of football management and became lost in the game as money, television and the necessary tact needed to succeed in this new football frontier grew in importance.
The Crazy Gang days of the South London club may have been the calling card of the now 66-year-old's management career - a career that has never reached the same heights of the 1993-94 season as he lead The Dons to 6th place finish in England’s topflight – but Kinnear has never relinquished the spirit and all out confrontational and outspoken nature of those days working for Sam Hammam. Wimbledon embraced the idea because they could afford to and they had the hardened throwback characters in the dressing room who would respond to a brash, outspoken attitude. The likes of Dean Holdsworth, Vinnie Jones and Warren Barton would respond, and almost need to, being treated in that way, but as time wore on, Joe never learnt to work with players more like N’Zogbia and less like John Fashanu. Maybe that is why Joe has voiced his intent to bring Andy Carroll back to his homeland, with the striker’s build and style being reminiscent of his former star striker of 20-years-ago Holdsworth
His vile outburst back in 2008 –that included using more than 30 curse words during a post-match press conference – highlighted his inability to change his nature, and although yesterday’s outburst was a little more civilized, it does nothing to erase the bitter memories of his last venture into management. Kinnear appears to be intent to bring his old school abrasive manner back to Tyneside once again with little disregard for who he upsets or insults in the process but, as Liverpool found with Kenny Dalglish a season ago, the past ways of football management have very little relevance in a sport that has left them behind.