Kinnear: I have Pardew's blessing
Joe Kinnear has insisted Alan Pardew was delighted to hear of his impending arrival as Newcastle's director of football.
The 66-year-old former Magpies boss revealed on Sunday that he is to return to St James' Park to oversee the club's football operations in a move which many onlookers have interpreted as a worrying omen for manager Pardew.
Kinnear claims the 51-year-old's response to the news of owner Mike Ashley's latest controversial decision was more than positive. He told the Chronicle: "Before I had a meeting with Mike, (managing director) Derek (Llambias) said he's informed Alan, and Alan said 'Great news - I'm delighted with that. At last I've got somebody who's a football guy.'"
Kinnear added: "Derek told me he's had a long talk with Alan and explained that I'm coming in as director of football. He (Llambias) is going to go on the finance side and anything to do with football is coming my side."
Newcastle are still to formally confirm Kinnear's appointment and Pardew is yet to comment on the decision that came after he held end-of-season discussions with Ashley and Llambias to assess the campaign which had just ended and exactly what had gone wrong.
The Magpies finished in 16th place in the Barclays Premier League 12 months after qualifying for Europe and the talks ended with agreement that things will have to get significantly better.
However, just where Kinnear's arrival will leave the pair remains to be seen with the former Wimbledon manager claiming he will have the final say over transfers. The Irishman enjoyed a colourful, if brief, spell in charge on Tyneside during the 2008-09 season before a heart problem ended his stay.
Newcastle were relegated at the end of a disastrous campaign, although he seemed unwilling to accept any responsibility for that as he prepared to return. But the club's fans were mystified as to why Ashley had turned to him once again.
Mark Jensen, editor of fanzine website themag.co.uk, said: "The bizarre thing is, like a lot of people, I was amazed and astounded when I heard - and then after thinking about it, I have to admit I'm not really amazed and astounded, which kind of sums up Mike Ashley's time at the club.
"You learn - or you should do by now - that whenever they seem to be heading in the right direction, you have got a bit of faith in what's happening and you think, 'If we could just sign a couple of players...', then they pull something out of the hat to make you think and something that just leaves you speechless."