JOE Kinnear has defended his transfer record as Newcastle United manager, claiming his successes were overlooked "because I'm a cockney".
Kinnear was one of no less than four Magpies managers who presided over the 2008-09 relegation campaign, appointed caretaker in the wake of Kevin Keegan’s shock resignation, then having to stand down through ill health.
The London-raised former Republic of Ireland international presided over just 26 matches (five won, ten lost), but was also in charge for an eventful transfer window which saw Newcastle sign Peter Løvenkrands, Kevin Nolan and Ryan Taylor.
Kinnear takes pride in the fact all are still part of the rejuvenated Magpies, led by captain Nolan. The signings were funded by the sale of Charles N’Zogbia to Steve Bruce’s Wigan Athletic.
“I wanted to sell him (N’Zogbia) because I didn’t get on with him, I didn’t think he was a fighter,” said Kinnear.
“I got £8m for him and it was me who brought in Kevin Nolan for £4m. He was Newcastle’s player of the year last year but do I get any credit for signing him? No, because I’m a cockney.
“The trouble was, I had to generate my own money. When the £8m was offered by Brucey I knew I had to get Nolan, then I got Løvenkrands. He was a free. With his experience I thought he would be great to come off the bench for us.”
Alan Shearer is the only Newcastle manager since Kinnear’s illness not born in London. United’s “cockney mafia” bore the brunt of supporter anger over Keegan’s controversial departure.
Now Sunderland manager, Bruce will almost certainly try to reunite with midfielder N’Zogbia this summer, and the Latics are sure to make a handsome profit if – or rather when – they sell. The versatile
Taylor, who was a makeweight in the N’Zogbia deal, has never carved out a regular starting place, while Løvenkrands’ fortunes at St James’ Park have been mixed.
After three goals in his debut season, the Dane was not offered an extension when his short-term deal expired at the end of 2008-09, but was signed as a free agent after the August transfer window closed. He has 20 goals from 52 appearances in his second spell, 13 in last season’s Championship.
Nolan struggled in his first six months on Tyneside, picking up a red card but no goals. He rediscovered his touch in the Championship, and is the Premier League’s top-scoring midfielder this term. Made captain last summer, his leadership was important in arresting the Magpies’ decline after relegation.
Kinnear (pictured left) was unhappy with Bruce’s comments yesterday about a failed bid for Andy Carroll. Bruce claimed Wigan offered £2.5m for the then-Newcastle striker, but were quoted £4.5m.
“The only conversation I had with him (Bruce) was over N’Zogbia,” Kinnear insisted. “He said he phoned me on the Monday. I never had a conversation with any manager about Andy Carroll.
“Andy Carroll was a kid I’d given his debut to. Him and Shola Ameobi were going to be my strikers.
“Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias had no intentions of selling him at any stage.
“When Chrissy Hughton put him in the team Andy was able to step down a level and did fantastically well. Whether he is trying to talk himself up or not, I don’t know. But to say he only offered £2.5m, it makes him look stupid.
“For me to let Andy go to Wigan, he would have had to sell his entire team, and then you would have had to pay Andy a fortune just to go to Wigan.
“I think Andy had bigger options in his head even then.”
Current Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is monitoring winger Jason Puncheon, on loan at Blackpool from his former club Southampton.
“Jason was somebody I scooped from MK Dons for a really good price,” he said. “He’s a player I’ll keep an eye on.
“Jason’s at Blackpool at the moment, and whether there’s an opportunity to come here will be determined by what he does at Blackpool.”