I’ve been away for a few weeks. In fairness it wasn’t a bad time of the year to have a few personal problems as there is generally not a lot going on regarding football.
Or so I thought anyway…
The big talking point has been the appointment of Joe Kinnear as our new Director of Football. Now I don’t know if this is “old ground” or whether I’ve missed the boat regarding having a say on this appointment but all the same I’m going to carry on writing anyway, mainly so I can get some things off my chest and think aloud if you like.
I want to look at if things can work out with Kinnear at the helm. It’s a big leap of faith and I find myself not believing that it can before I’ve even got my teeth into the article but I’ll give it a try and see what I come up with.
The big problem is that we have very fresh first-hand knowledge of how catastrophically wrong appointing someone in such a role can be. You only have to go back to the whole Keegan/Wise affair to see how quickly and perilously things can turn sour.
This is not to say that a Director of Football can never be a success. They can. They are successful in varying degrees throughout Europe but for whatever reason they don’t seem to be the done thing here in England.
Kinnear’s task is to get the best team we can get, which sounds simple, but it’s not. Have a look around at successful Director’s of Football at some of the biggest clubs and you’ll see that a lot of them have a pedigree from within the game built up in their playing career that has given them a status, some clout if you like, that they have then carried into retirement and into their new roles. Look at German clubs such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund as indicators of that. If I was going to search for a similar United friendly figure the names would probably be something like Alan Shearer (even though that would never happen), Peter Beardsley, David Ginola etc etc. Players who have had a status within the game and an affiliation with United. Surely they would be better choices to promote our club to players?
The way this whole structure has been implemented is also a disaster. Success with a DoF depends on all parties buying into it with defined roles that all parties are clear about. All Mike Ashley has done is dropped the bomb and given people a choice to accept it or not like like it but accept it anyway and you have to think about the possibilities of why Joe Kinnear is actually here. To put pressure on Pardew? To undermine him? To make him up his game? To replace him? A DoF should have no designs on the job of manager or interfering in the team, but with Kinnear at the training ground and travelling with the team to matches could this be too close for comfort for Pardew.
I’ve tried and tried to come up with a reason for this but I simply can’t. I’m still as baffled now as I was when I first heard about the appointment and even a meeting between the club and fans and Joe’s now famous radio and interview ramblings have failed to clarify things. It can only end in disaster really can’t it?
The one positive thing I can think of is that Kinnear seems to have the ear of Mike Ashley. For whatever reason, Kinnear is the one who has been trusted with this role and ultimately the success of both the job and Kinnear hinges on how we recruit players going the forward. I tend to believe (or hope perhaps) that Ashley would be more willing to back Kinnear with him being his own man and all that, but then I though the same about Hughton, Llambias, Carr and Pardew at first…
So basically, after all this, I still don’t know is the answer to my original question…