JOE Kinnear has revealed he will urge Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to increase his authority as interim manager by handing him a contract until the end of the season when they meet this weekend.
Kinnear insisted he is looking forward to his meeting with Ashley after Saturday’s trip to Chelsea as he feels it is imperative he is given some clarification regarding the progress of a proposed takeover by one of two American investment groups. And, if the club is unlikely to be sold in the next few weeks, Kinnear hopes Ashley will offer him an extended deal as it will bring more stability to the team as they look to keep themselves out of relegation trouble.
Kinnear has managed to lift the Magpies out of the bottom three after seven games at the helm and the former Wimbledon boss also intends to lobby for significant transfer funds to be made available, if he is still going to be in charge when the window opens in January.
“I’m looking forward to the meeting because I think everyone would like some clarification regarding the takeover situation,” said Kinnear, who has guided United to nine points from a possible 21 since he took charge of the side. “Hopefully I’ll hear how far down the line the sale of the club is and if there is going to be any significant progress in the next couple of weeks. As far as I know due diligence has started, or is about to start, but I’m not in contact with Keith Harris directly so I don’t know. This meeting will give me the chance to find out what is going on and what my situation is going to be.
“If the sale isn’t as far down the line as we thought then I think it’s only right I ask for a contract until the end of the season.
“I know why Mike doesn’t want to give me a two or a three-year contract, and I understand that. If I’m on a long-term contract it could jeopardise the sale and I don’t want to do that.
“The most important thing is the club, not my personal situation, but I think it is in the best interests of the team if I am given some long-term authority with a contract until June or something like that. It will clear up a bit of the uncertainty. If the club isn’t going to be sold before the end of the year – and it’s not certain that it is – then I’m also going to give the board a list of players I want to sign and list of players I’m willing to sell in January.”
Kinnear, who described reports earlier this week that former Newcastle captain Alan Shearer would take the manager’s job if asked as “unhelpful”, would love to be offered the job on a permanent basis, but he realises the prospect of a takeover makes that an unrealistic objective.
However, he still intends to do the best he can in the circumstances and hopes positive results as temporary manager will strengthen his own claim to be given the position full time once any takeover is completed. Kinnear received the wholehearted backing
of Newcastle winger Damien Duff yesterday who said he “would love to see” him given the manager’s job permanently, and United’s combative boss has defended his record on Tyneside.
He said: “Some mischievous people in the media have tried to drive a wedge between me and Michael Owen, but that is not going to happen.
“Michael knows how highly I think of him and what a special player he is. It’s just a question of fitness, but he almost 100% again now. There is no problem between me and any of my players, I get on with them all. And I think we’ve done pretty well.
“We were very unfortunate to lose the two games we have done, and I’m unbeaten at home.
“If you look at the Manchester City game, with the penalty that should never have been given, and the Wigan game, where we had the chances to win even though we didn’t play that well, we should be in a much better position in the league than we are.”
DIDIER Drogba is out of Chelsea’s weekend clash with Newcastle after the FA handed the striker a three-match ban for violent conduct. Drogba had already apologised for throwing a coin back at Burnley fans as he celebrated scoring Chelsea’s opening goal in the Blues’ surprise Carling Cup fourth-round defeat. But the Ivorian, who admitted the charge, was given a three-game suspension.
An FA statement read: “The charge related to Drogba throwing a missile into the away section of the crowd after scoring during the League Cup match against Burnley at Stamford Bridge. Drogba will serve the suspension with immediate effect.”