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Monday, 29 September 2008

Joe Kinnear probably can't believe his luck

It's tough at the top and given the influx of foreign coaches and increased desire for local heroes getting a shot in the Premier League as a manager is very difficult. Which makes the appointment of Joe Kinnear somewhat puzzling, but he at least arrives with a clean slate.
Gianfranco Zola recently had to fend off his Chelsea roots, Mark Hughes his Manchester United ones and you can't see Roy Keane being welcome at every league ground as a manager.

In short as decent managers like Bryan Robson, John Barnes, Sam Allardyce, Graeme Souness, Graham Taylor, David Pleat, David O'Leary, Terry Venables and others have found even employment can be tough after a couple of dodgy seasons. So Joe Kinnear's appointment at St James Park must have been met with gasps on the pundits couches across the land.

Kinnear is fundamentally a Championship manager, with stints at Nottingham Forest and Luton. His attraction is based on his top flight experience with Wimbledon, where he inherited a club from Dave Bassett (via Bobby Gould, Joe Harford and Peter Withe) that was well established in the top flight. He did well at Wimbledon (coincidentally managing Dennis Wise) securing a series of top half finishes in his seven years in charge before his well documented health problems.

But he has been out of football since his resignation at Forest in 2004 and must have been surprised as anyone when Newcastle came calling. His best years as a manager were in motivating and re-energising the Wimbledon team of 15 years ago - which is a distant memory in the modern game. Was Graham Taylor an option? Ron Atkinson?

But if he can get some of the underperforming Newcastle team to play to their ability he can win games and restore his reputation.

To be fair he is in a no-lose situation. His pension pot will be enhanced by a reported £50,000 per game, no-one expects anything from him and so anything that he does achieve will be well received. His name is back in the football firmament and if he scrambles 6 or 7 points from the next few games it could well be enough to secure a Championship team in the coming months. In many ways he is an older Sam Allardyce used to eking out decent, if limited teams, on a tight budget. It does make you wonder what was so wrong with the younger version and I'm sure that Kinnear can't believe his luck.


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