Newcastle United director of football Joe Kinnear has resigned from his position on the heels of a 3-0 loss to Sunderland at St James' Park on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Kinnear's decision to step down was first reported by Sky Sports News:
The club's official website released a brief statement regarding Kinnear's decision: "Newcastle United can confirm that Joe Kinnear has this evening resigned from his position as Director of Football with immediate effect. The Club will be making no further comment."
Kinnear managed Newcastle from 2008 to 2009 before signing on as the club's director of football in June 2013. Surprisingly, the 67-year-old's departure comes less than a year later.
At the time he was hired last summer, the move was seen as a controversial one, per The Guardian's Louise Taylor:
Widely portrayed as a human hand grenade on a mission to oust the manager, Alan Pardew, his appointment appears a whim of Newcastle's owner Mike Ashley. Following close in its wake has been the sudden resignation of Derek Llambias, the club's managing director.
Despite an encouraging start to the 2013-14 Premier League campaign, the Magpies have fallen on hard times. A stretch of poor play compounded by a quiet January transfer window has upset fans and even sparked a frustrated reaction from head coach Alan Pardew, per The Daily Star's Ian Murtagh:
I’m a professional manager. You know, if I was in charge solely of transfers, the answer might be different. But I’m not...I think I’ve made my opinion very clear this week and all the rest of it is confidentiality.
In addition to failing to bring in any quality players, Newcastle sold arguably their top player during January's midseason transfer window in midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who completed a deal with French club Paris Saint-Germain.
Lee Ryder of The Chronicle added more details to why Kinnear walked away:
However a source close to one of the Newcastle players told the Chronicle in an exclusive interview: “The players didn’t really have much to do with Joe - they never seen him around the training ground.
“Nobody fully understood what his role was at the club.
“He certainly didn’t attend training sessions and despite him saying he’d have an office at the training ground when he first arrived, none of the lads has many dealings with him.”
On top of recent Premier League losses, Newcastle were eliminated from the FA Cup on Jan. 4 following a 2-1 loss to Cardiff City. Those failures and management's inability to hang onto elite talent have frustrated fans and members within the organization.
With Kinnear having stepped down, the potential for change certainly exists.
Newcastle are still in the running for a top-10 finish in the Premier League this season. However, it remains to be seen just how much of an impact Kinnear's resignation will have on the club's on-field product the rest of the way.
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