Mick Harford turns down Newcastle United role

Mick Harford has revealed that turning down the role to assist Joe Kinnear at Newcastle United was one of the hardest decisions of his life

Clive Rose/Getty Images Mick Harford
Mick Harford

Mick Harford last night vehemently denied claims he was to be parachuted into Newcastle United to become part of Joe Kinnear’s coaching team.

The 54-year-old, who yesterday turned down the chance of a return to St James’ Park, insisted his proposed role was merely to assist the director of football and nothing else.

Tyneside was awash with speculation that had Harford said yes to the offer, it was Mike Ashley’s way of putting in a new management team.

But when The Journal asked Harford directly whether any coaching had been spoken about during his discussion with Ashley and Kinnear, he said: “No, absolutely not. I was going to assist Joe and nothing else.

“I was not going to have any direct involvement with the team. That was never discussed. The idea was that I could support Joe and work alongside him. That was it.”

Harford opted to stay at Millwall, where he was yesterday announced as assistant manager to Steve Lomas.

But he didn’t rule out moving to Newcastle at some stage.

Harford said: “You never know what might happen. But that decision wouldn’t be down to me. That’s for other people to decide.

“I was really flattered to be asked to go into such a fantastic club. I played for Newcastle, remember, so I know what that club is all about and what it means to the people.

“It was just the wrong time for me, despite the fact I would love to have worked with Joe again.”

Alan Pardew told The Journal yesterday that he fully expected signings to be made this week – although he had hoped at least one deal would be done by last weekend.

Kinnear has still to deliver a single player and is now under serious pressure to get the transfers of Lyon’s France international striker Bafetimbi Gomis and Aston Villa’s Darren Bent over the line.

Pardew, who did not speak on the subject of Harford, said: “This week is an important week. Decisions will be made.

“Agents know now that they need to get their players into clubs quickly because we are getting down to the nitty-gritty.

“It’s not like a month ago when people were waiting to see what was happening or whether a bigger club would come in. I think decisions need to be made over the next few days.

“And it’s not just for us, it’s for other clubs as well. Dan Gosling is going from us (to Crystal Palace) so things like that need to be done so people can make a new start.” Harford is a close ally and staunch supporter of Kinnear and, while he won’t be working with him for a fourth time, he believes Newcastle as a club is in good hands.

He said: “Joe has been working really hard to get players in. I know that for a fact.

“He is doing all he can to get the most talented people who will be best for Newcastle United. And I have to say I was really impressed with Mike Ashley. I had never met him before and thought he was an amazing guy. I liked what he had to say. He and Joe want the best for the club.”

Newcastle will tonight play their final match of their stay in Portugal when they face Pacos de Ferreira.

Shola Ameobi is fit, having feared he had broken a bone in his wrist, an injury that turned out to be a trapped nerve which had caused him a lot of pain.

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