Newcastle's Kinnear Appointment Shows Mike Ashley is Sharpening His Axe

Trent Scott@ IIIJune 20, 2013

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and Managing Director Derek Llambias look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James' Park on May 19, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Businessmen like Newcastle owner Mike Ashley hate making mistakes. Businessmen are often quick to correct those mistakes, usually in a very direct manner.

Sometimes, however, businessmen have to get creative and find ways out of situations they did not expect to go awry.

Ashley is in the process of doing so through the hiring of Joe Kinnear as the Magpies’ director of football. The casualty list is expected to be high, whether through resignations, such as managing director Derek Llambias as reported by Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports, or through player sales.

Martin Hardy of the Independent throws out several items, including a cruel scenario for Newcastle supporters: the departure of Graham Carr.

The piece details that Llambias’ departure and Kinnear’s discouragement of one of Carr’s identified targets is likely to see the scout du jour of English football find employment elsewhere.

Following him might be a gaggle of players, with Kinnear believed to be able to sell anyone who is “not Newcastle.”

Pardew may say he is willing to fight, but how long can he hold out when the owner has stacked the odds against him?

It’s one thing if Ashley was unimpressed, according to ESPNFC, after giving Pardew an eight-year contract, only to watch the squad fight past the relegation trapdoor. Maybe he feels the squad has underperformed, regardless of injuries? Maybe he wants to recoup his outlay?

If there is anyone who should be complaining, it ought to be the Newcastle staff, who were blindsided by the appointment. There may be more problems than meets the eye, and Ashley is seizing the opportunity to change them.

Among the many things that that Ashley could not possibly complain about is the quality of player that Carr has managed to unearth and drop at his doorstep.

The sell-on price for players such as Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye—or Ben Afra and Kabob, if you are a subscriber to the “Joe Kinnear Butchers the Hits” CD library—will be likely more than the combined price Newcastle paid for the three.

That may be part of Ashley’s summer priorities, though. After all, if money is supposed to talk, the Newcastle owner is used to getting an earful.

The next two weeks should make for interesting reading. Whether it is another Kinnear ramble on the radio or rumors of bust-ups in the management, there are clearly going to be winners and losers.

Fans will for sure be on the wrong end of the stick if Newcastle stumble and find themselves mired in the same relegation fight they found themselves in late last year.

Pardew, players in the club and other members in the club’s hierarchy may also find the axe to be ready for them. Maybe even Kinnear will find a way to fall afoul of the executioner’s blade. That would be the one event appeasing to the Magpie faithful.

Mike Ashley himself might be a big loser if the Magpies fall back into the Championship again.

But for now, Ashley is the only one walking without fear in the corridors of Sports Direct Arena, which means Ashley will think he is the winner in the grand scheme of things.


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