JOE Kinnear today pleaded with Newcastle United fans to get behind him after making a shock return to the club.
Kinnear yesterday revealed he was returning to St James’s Park as director of football.
And the news was greeted with dismay on Tyneside.
The 66-year-old – who had a five-month spell as manager in 2008-09 – has signed a three-year contract at United, and will work closely with manager Alan Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr.
Kinnear says he will liaise directly with owner Mike Ashley.
The appointment, which is yet to be confirmed formally by the club, led to an angry reaction from supporters.
While Kinnear insists he can take “grief” from fans, he’s hopeful his input into team affairs will be welcomed.
“If I get grief, that’s fine,” Kinnear said.
“I can take it. I can take grief. I certainly hope I don’t – I don’t think there’s any need for it.
“I’m in a role where I only want the best for the club. I’m in a role where I’m the only one who’s going to report to Mike Ashley.
“I think I can sit down and give my business plan to Mike and say this is what it’s going to cost, and these are the players we need, after consulting Alan Pardew and sitting down with Graham.
“I intend to get the best possible team for the Newcastle fans.
“It’s as simple as that. I had an allegiance to them.
“There were some that were probably anti me, as at that particular time the fans wanted Alan Shearer. I think they were a bit miffed I got the job and he didn’t.
“That’s understandable with him being the local hero.
“I’m there because I want to make Newcastle a great team – it’s as simple as that.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of that. Hopefully, the fans will be as loyal as they have been.”
He added: “Tell the fans I’m there, and I’m going to make their team better than it is now, that’s for sure. That’s my message to them.”
Kinnear’s appointment will allow managing director Derek Llambias to concentrate solely on the club’s financial affairs.
“Alan Pardew can’t turn round and talk to anybody else – he can’t talk to Derek Llambias about players,” he said.
“Derek’s honest enough to say ‘look, I’m a financial guy, and I don’t know who the players are’.”
Dublin-born Kinnear – who spent the bulk of his playing career at Tottenham Hotspur – believes his contacts within the game will prove useful to the club.
He added: “What I’m saying is that I’ve got my finger in the pie halfway around the world.
“There’s no-one I can’t pick the phone up to in sports and introduce myself to and talk to them about football or any situation.”
Kinnear has already held detailed talks with Carr, who has drawn up lists of potential summer targets after scouting players across Europe.
“I’ve been with Graham for last three days,” said Kinnear.
“We’ve discussed all the French players and contacts that Graham knows, the players he’s brought in and we’re very happy together.
“I’m known Graham for something like 20 years. He was at Tottenham.
“I know he’s got a good eye for a player and good contacts.
“We’ll go and see as many of these players in action and we’ll get in as many games as we possibly can.
“Once we see something that we think is in our budget, we’ll go for them. It’s as simple as that.
“On the other side, if we see things that we believe are not Newcastle, and not good enough for Newcastle, then I’ll shift them. It’s as simple as that.
“I don’t want anybody there that’s not good enough for Newcastle.”