Newcastle United earned £93 million in revenue the 2011/12 Premier League season, the 7th highest in the league. The year before they’d spent a not inconsiderable £27 million on transfer fees, which, as you know, are amortized and so still on the books. Wages totalled £64 million as well. With the club posting a £1 million profit last season, the margins are quite tight. Mike Ashley has already loaned himself £129 million, and the club continues to seek ways to expand its commercial revenues under managing director Derek Llambas.
Once could easily see a need here for a director of football, but only if the person filling that role had a considerable track record of responsible spending, intelligent and cost-effective allocation of resources, and a good sense of areas of the player market that have yet to be fully explored as a source of Premier League-ready talent.
I don’t know for certain Joe Kinnear isn’t that man. But I’m pretty damn sure he’s not. In any case, his train wreck interview with talkSPORT yesterday revealed a man who may not have a grasp on things that actually happened in real life. From the Guardian:
On Monday evening Kinnear gave a shambolic interview to Talksport in which the former Wimbledon manager claimed responsibility for signing Tim Krul [a goalkeeper recruited by Graeme Souness] as well as James Perch [bought by Chris Hughton], said Derek Llambezee [Llambias] had resigned as director of football [a position he has never held] and talked about Shola Amenobee, Yohan Kebab and Hatem Ben Afre rather than Shola Ameobi, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa.
It’s certainly possible that Joe Kinnear’s David Brent-like public deportment may not reflect on his abilities as a future director of football. But if a company were interviewing for a position that involved the oversight of spending tens of millions of pounds on acquisitions vital to the future well-being of the business, and that person claimed the accomplishments of other persons as their own in a public forum mere hours after hiring them, one would hope that company would see the error of their ways and restart the process, whilst at the same apologizing for failing to do due diligence on such a crucial hire.
But this is Newcastle. When I first read Louise Taylor’s thesis on how Kinnear got hired–Mike Ashley didn’t like how Alan Pardew ‘shared the blame’ for Newcastle’s struggles last season with the owner, and so hired a director of football as revenge–it struck me as journalistic speculomasturbation in the extreme. Now I’m not so sure. The Premier League, despite any claims that gobs of money somehow equal sophistication, slouches toward television to be born and reborn over and over again, in spite of itself.
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