Monday 22 January 2018

Pardew loses ally as Llambias walks

Luke Edwards

Derek Llambias quit as Newcastle United's managing director because he was uneasy with the appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football.

Although Llambias made no reference to the appointment of Kinnear in his resignation statement, it is believed the two are linked.

Llambias had been under pressure from owner Mike Ashley following last season's dismal campaign and went on holiday when he was told Kinnear was to take control of the football matters.

Kinnear is now the most senior figure at the club in the day-to-day absence of Ashley and it is difficult not to conclude that Llambias has left because he felt a mistake had been made. "I have had an incredible journey during my five years at the club," Llambias said. "I will reflect with great fondness on my time in the North-East."

His exit, after doing so much to make the club financially self-sufficient, also leaves Alan Pardew in a vulnerable position as he has lost his main boardroom ally.

However, Pardew intends to stay and to give the new management structure, in which he answers directly to Kinnear, a chance to work.

Although he is wary of being undermined by Kinnear, Pardew remains committed to a job he has held for two-and-a-half seasons. Pardew, who was aware Ashley was considering appointing a director of football, but had no idea who, has finally met Kinnear and passed on his transfer targets to his new boss.

Aston Villa's Darren Bent is high on the wish-list and that deal will be the first real test of Kinnear's supposed recruitment skills. Villa are looking for £8m, although Newcastle had valued the 29-year-old at only £6m. For now, all Pardew can do is hope Kinnear leaves match-day matters up to him.

Pardew has seven years left on his contract and believes he would be entitled to all of that in compensation if he were to be sacked. He has made only one public comment on Kinnear, telling the 'Newcastle Chronicle': "I'm staying to lead United back up the Premier League table." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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