At a time when managers and boardroom members should be busy reading scouts’ reports, organising training sessions or spending hours watching videos of a Brazilian midfielder plucked from the obscurity of the Kazakhstan’s second division, Newcastle are doing none of the above.
The season might be less two months away, but the attention and energies of many at St James’ Park are focused on the lingering feud between Joe Kinnear and pretty much everybody connected with the club.
If the former Wimbledon manager wanted to endear himself to the Toon Army, criticising one of – if not the – Newcastle’s greatest ever players isn’t going to significantly bolster Kinnear’s chances.
For once, Alan Shearer wasn’t his usual, boring, self delivering tedium in spades from the MOTD’s couch, instead he delivered a rather direct – and scathing – verdict on the quicksand his former club has found itself trapped in since Kinnear’s appointment.
“Right now people are laughing at the club I support, and that sickens me,” explained Shearer last week.
“I promised myself years ago to never be surprised by anything which happens in football, particularly when it came to Newcastle. But this situation really is stretching it a bit.”
Considering the legendary status Shearer still holds in Newcastle, a more PR-friendly man than Kinnear would have simply batted those comments aside for a quick single.
Instead, the former Wimbledon manager opted to clear the fence with his reply:
“What Shearer says is diabolical,” blasted away Kinnear.
“This is a guy who hasn’t got a clue about coaching. The last game of the (2008-09) season he came up with the master idea of playing Damien Duff at left-back.
“Damien is one of the best left-wingers in the business, but can’t tackle. And we went down with an own-goal from Damien.
“Shearer keeps slagging me off. He is being disrespectful to me. I am entitled to fight back.”
No one is questioning Kinnear’s right to tell his version of the story – even though, it’s worth remembering, Shearer took charge of a side that, under Kinnear’s tutelage, had already taken long strides towards the bottom three – but the attitude displayed by the 66-year-old makes him look more like a man looking to address personal feuds, rather than working in the best interest of his football club.
Of all the enemies Kinnear could pick on Tyneside, Alan Shearer is the worst possible choice.
Forget about the former striker’s bar at St James’ Park being renamed “Nine”, Shearer’s stock is as high as ever among the Toon Army but, crucially, he’s an outsider, at least in the strictest of terms.
Kinnear, unlike Shearer, is a Newcastle United’s employee and his most pressing issues should include sitting down with Alan Pardew to plan next season in detail and recruiting players, rather than vent his anger at former players, however popular they might be with the fans.
Alan Shearer knows the club inside out and he’s as entitled to his opinion as Kinnear is to his but, as a pundit, the former Newcastle’s number nine isn’t burdened with the pressure of having to deliver results on the pitch. Kinnear, on the other hand, will be held accountable for the Magpies’ performance and should therefore learn to pick his fights better, particularly as the number of critics is likely to increase throughout the season.
When Newcastle appointed him last week, Kinnear boasted of knowing more about football that most in Newcastle. It’s about time he began to follow his speeches with some actions, rather than letting himself into tit-for-tat altercations.
Otherwise, Shearer’s won’t be the only voice criticising Kinnear.
Alan Shearer’s comments struck a raw nerve. Did Joe Kinnear do the right thing by responding or was it the first of many blunders?We want your views so have your say below or get involved on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.