Premier League – Kinnear happy in “job no-one wanted”

Joe Kinnear will deliver a pep talk to Newcastle’s players before Saturday’s Premier League match against Blackburn as he keeps the manager’s seat warm for Kevin Keegan.

FOOTBALL Joe Kinnear file photo - 0

Kinnear admits he only became the club’s interim manager because it was the job no-one else wanted.

The former Wimbledon and Nottingham Forest manager was handed a shock recall to the top-flight ranks when Newcastle owner Mike Ashley offered him a short-term contract at St James’ Park.

He will be in charge for a maximum of eight matches as Ashley is confident of selling the club within weeks, and tonight he headed to Tyneside to start work immediately.

Caretaker boss Chris Hughton will select the team tomorrow but Kinnear has confirmed he will talk to the players ahead of kick-off.

“I understand I’m in this position because nobody else wants it,” Kinnear told Sky Sports News. “The fact is I’m going to be there until the club is sold.

“The move came about when Terry Venables turned it down.

“I had a phone call last night from Mike Ashley and I said I’d come in for between six to eight games.

“He informed me the new owners coming in had Kevin Keegan in mind to come back.

“The brief to me is to try to steady the ship, keep the club out of the bottom three and try to put some morale back in the team and get the team focused for the games they’re going to play in.”

He described his deal as “probably the shortest contract in the world” but is clearly relishing the task ahead, knowing a successful spell could put him in the frame for jobs elsewhere after almost four years out of management.

Kinnear may get a reasonable reception if supporters realise he is at Newcastle only on a short-term basis, and because he readily admits his prospects of long-term employment in the city are non-existent.

“They’ve only got one love at the moment and as far as I can see it’s Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer,” said Kinnear.

“I’m hoping I can go there, lift the gloom, get a few results, and whoever comes in and buys the club, hopefully it’ll be in a better state than it is right now and it makes things probably easier for Kevin when he comes back.”

Investment bankers Seymour Pierce are actively seeking a buyer for Newcastle after billionaire Ashley decided he had had enough following mass protests in the wake of Keegan’s resignation three weeks ago.

A Nigerian consortium has been talking up hopes of doing a deal in recent days and interestingly, they have signalled their intention to bring Keegan back to finish the job he started for the second time in January.

The link with Shearer is intriguing – he and Keegan held lengthy talks after the 57-year-old took over from Sam Allardyce – but decided not to work together as manager and number two, although the door was left open.

There has also been talk of serious interest from both China and the United States, and with Ashley looking to cut his losses, there could be movement soon.

Successive league defeats by Arsenal, Hull and West Ham have left the Magpies second from bottom and a failure on Saturday could see them drop to the foot of the table.

Sporting Life / Eurosport