DEREK LLambias, who resigned today as chief executive of Newcastle United, has polarised fans’ opinions in his five years at St James’s Park.
The Londoner, who has worked closely with owner Mike Ashley since he took over the club in 2007, has overseen the sales of some of the club’s most popular players, such as Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan.
He has also been involved in several controversial decisions, such as the one to appoint Joe Kinnear as manager in 2008 and changing the name of the club’s famous ground to the Sports Direct Arena.
There have been positives too - the club’s smart recruitment and wage policy was heralded when they finished fifth in the 2012-13 season, but a troubled last campaign stirred things up once more.
Kinnear’s return to the club, which he announced on Sunday but the club did not confirm until yesterday, caused outrage among fans, with the 66-year-old giving a radio interview during which he insulted them.
He also pronounced a number of first-team players’ names wrong, while also referring to Llambias as Llambeeze.
The ex-Wimbledon manager correctly called Llambias’s resignation, before claiming to have replaced him, even though Llambias’s job was a different one.
He told Talksport on Monday: “I only signed the contract last night. So that was someone speaking to Mike, but it’s been ongoing for the last three weeks.
“Derek Llambeeze was the director of football. Derek has resigned now.”
Kinnear would go on to muddle up a number of players before telling dissenting fans he had “more intelligence than them, that’s for sure”.
When asked what he would say to the fans, he added: “To all the Newcastle fans who don’t do this decision, then shall I bring Llambeeze back?”
Llambias arrived at Newcastle in the summer of 2008 and was criticised by the supporters for being part of a so-called ‘Cockney Mafia’, which also included Tony Jimenez and Dennis Wise, who was installed as a director of football.
Between them they signed a number of previously unheard-of players, some of which have proved successful - Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Guttierez - while others, such as Xisco, failed to impress.