JOE Kinnear insists he is fighting fit and able to cope with the stress of big-time football again.
Kinnear was named as Newcastle United’s new director of football in a shock move last week.
It marked a return to the game for the 66-year-old for the first time since he was forced to quit as the Magpies’ manager in February 2009 after undergoing a triple heart bypass.
That incident, when Kinnear was taken to the hospital on the morning of Newcastle’s game at West Bromwich Albion, was believed to be the end of the former Wimbledon manager’s time in football.
But Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has turned to his old friend once again as he looks to make changes to the senior structure at St James’s Park after last season’s dismal form, which saw the club narrowly avoid relegation.
Within 24 hours of Kinnear’s appointment being confirmed by the club, managing director Derek Llambias resigned, leaving Kinnear with more responsibilities.
But he insists he is fit enough to cope with the extra strain.
“Mike, the owner, came round my house and we had a chat,” Kinnear told SportMail.
“He asked me about my medical condition, how I was feeling and one thing and another.
“I said I’ve been cleared, medically, for the last four or five months.
“I’m coming off my treatment. I’ve lost a stone and a half of weight. I’m very fit, and I’ve been looking after myself.”
SEE Tuesday’s Mail for the full story plus the best North-East football coverage and news from boxing, rugby and tennis