EXCLUSIVE: Kinnear – I’m ‘head and shoulders’ above the rest

THE BEST MAN ... Joe Kinnear.
THE BEST MAN ... Joe Kinnear.

JOE Kinnear’s claimed his experience puts him “head and shoulders” above any other director of football in English football.

Kinnear was on Tyneside yesterday for the first time since his controversial appointment at Newcastle United.

And top of the agenda was the club’s transfer business, with an improved bid for St Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the agenda.

However, the club face fierce competition for the striker, who is keen to play in the Premier League.

Kinnear, 66, returned to Newcastle last month as the club’s “senior executive in charge of all football-related matters”.

The appointment was widely-criticised on Tyneside – and elsewhere – given that the 66-year-old’s involvement in the game over the past nine years has been limited to a five-month spell in charge of United, which was cut short by a heart attack.

For his part, Kinnear feels the club needed a director of football, a position he feels he is more than qualified to succeed in, despite the misgivings of supporters.

“Every top club in the land has got one,” Kinnear told the Gazette.

“We haven’t – that’s the difference. The manager can’t do everything.

“I’m probably the only football manager to be a director of football.

“I don’t know any other ex-managers who have. I’ve been a manager for 35 years. I’ve been Manager of the Year. I’ve won every award there is in football as a player.

“I think all those qualities put me head and shoulders above every other director of football.”

There has been a trend in English football towards adopting a more continental model behind the scenes, where a senior figure above the manager has overall control over transfers.

Other Premier League clubs, among them Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion, have employed directors of football in recent years.

However, Kinnear feels his experience as a player sets him apart from his counterparts elsewhere in the top flight.

“Some directors of football have never played the game,” added Kinnear.

“I’m lending my experience as a manager for all those years – 10 years at Wimbledon, two years at Nottingham Forest, two years winning promotion at Luton and, of course, almost two years at Newcastle.

“I would still be there had it (a heart attack) not occurred.”

Twitter: @milesstarforth