Pardew defends lack of movement
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has moved to defuse a backlash against director of football Joe Kinnear after his failure to make a single permanent summer signing.
The 52-year-old went into the final days of the transfer window desperately hoping to land at least one attacking player, but ultimately had to be satisfied with just the arrival of loan signing Loic Remy, who had turned down Tyneside for QPR seven months earlier.
A statement released on his behalf was a masterpiece of diplomacy, acknowledging both owner Mike Ashley's January investment in Mathieu Debuchy, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran, and Kinnear's ultimately unsuccessful efforts to bolster his squad further.
Pardew said: "We are delighted to have brought Loic Remy to the club in this window and we believe he will form an exciting and effective partnership with Papiss Cisse.
"Joe has worked hard on numerous targets, particularly an additional offensive player. However, some of the options that were available within our financial means were not as good as the players we already had and there is no point bringing in new players unless they can improve us and take us forward.
"We did the majority of our business in the January window, signing five excellent first-team players. With the strong squad we have we should all approach the season in a positive, optimistic frame of mind."
However, Pardew's attempts at conciliation are likely to cut little ice with fans who were furious at Kinnear's appointment in June and little short of apoplectic at his performance since.
Mark Jensen, editor of online fanzine www.themag.co.uk, said: "Basically if anybody still believes that Joe Kinnear was brought in to co-ordinate incoming transfers, then their glass isn't half-full, it's overflowing because clearly I don't think there's been any real intention of bringing any players in unless it was an absolute bargain or if they had sold somebody.
"Exactly what his role is is a good question. I'm guessing his role was to come in and shake things up, and instantly you saw [managing director] Derek Llambias walk out of the door.
"I don't think you will find too many fans who don't believe Mike Ashley is attempting to use Joe Kinnear to get Alan Pardew out of the door."
Kinnear has repeatedly insisted he is no threat to Pardew and that the pair enjoy a good working relationship.
The 66-year-old has also claimed the manager agreed that the current squad was strong enough to finish in the top half of the table during their early discussions, but Pardew was at pains to make it known during the final days of the window that he wanted to strengthen further, although to no avail.
Jensen said: "I had the lowest expectations possible for this transfer window, and have got to say that Mike Ashley has exceeded those very, very low expectations.
"I was telling people before it all kicked off in June that I didn't expect Newcastle to sign many, maybe one or two players, maybe one or two if we sold somebody.
"But I never thought we would be in the mad position of basically buying nobody and in reality having a smaller squad than last year, when we struggled.
"We have got people now on the bench who would have been behind the likes of James Perch and Danny Simpson last season.
"The thing that strikes me more than anything is that the margin for error is so minute.
"We all know there is a small handful of players who make or score goals or are capable of doing so. We saw last season when [Yohan] Cabaye and [Hatem] Ben Arfa were injured that we struggled to create chances and score goals, especially with Demba Ba out of the door.
"In one word, 'disbelief' sums it up. But on the other hand, you almost take it for granted now that at a time when every single club is spending the extra money they are getting from the TV deal, Newcastle stand out like a sore thumb.
"It could backfire massively. Last season, they had the safety net of making money available in January and we got out of jail. Who's to say it would work out a second time?"
Pardew can at least take consolation from Yohan Cabaye's continued presence at the club after Arsenal failed to meet Newcastle's valuation despite weeks of speculation.