Five reasons to trust Kinnear - Newcastle United director of football's best signings

Kevin Nolan

Joe Kinnear may be getting some stick in the press; but he has made some impressive signings in the past.

This weekend, whilst keeping track of the latest football news via Twitter, my attention was grabbed by Joe Kinnear’s apparent employment as director of football at Newcastle United.

I dismissed it as a hoax.

It was not until later that evening a colleague informed me of its place in reality and I could not believe what I was seeing.

Kinnear? Surely this is a ploy to get Alan Pardew walking before he is made to jump off a very expensive plank courtesy of his massive contract deal.

So I set about writing an article on the woeful signings he might have made during his time as manager at the likes of Wimbledon, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United.

And it turns out he has actually picked up some absolute gems throughout his prolonged career; which may make you think twice about the nationwide lynch mob attempting to hang Kinnear up before he has even had lunch with Pardew.

Here is the pick of the bunch; Kinnear’s top five signings….

Kevin Nicholls - Wigan Athletic to Luton Town (£150,000)

In the summer of 2001 Kinnear snapped up Nicholls on a bargain fee from Wigan Athletic due to the midfielder’s previous injury problems; and it was a gamble that paid off.

He was the pivotal member of The Hatters line-up as they won promotion in his first season at the club and went on to become a club cult hero as Luton rose to the brink of Championship play-off football under Mike Newell.

Kevin Nolan - Bolton Wanderers to Newcastle United (£4 million)

Many believe it was Sam Allardyce who brought Nolan to St James Park because of the pair’s excellent working relationship but it was actually Kinnear in 2009.

Despite not being able to avoid relegation with The Magpies that season he was a crucial member of the team that led them to an automatic return to Premier League football; before re-joining Allardyce at West Ham.

Kinnear also signed Peter Lovenkrands on a free transfer that window; a deal that certainly worked out for all parties concerned.

Kris Commons - Stoke City to Nottingham Forest (Free)

I had no idea that Kinnear was the man who signed Commons for Forest but when the young left winger refused to sign a new deal with The Potters, for fear of first-team football opportunities, he went to the City Ground.

Arriving as a replacement for Tottenham bound Andy Reid he eventually went on to become a regular at the club and was vital in their League One promotion campaign of 2008.

Now at Celtic this was a bargain that proves Kinnear’s eye for talent.

Marcus Gayle - Brentford to Wimbledon (£250,000)

Jamaican international Gayle will forever be a cult hero to fans of Wimbledon and their continuation AFC Wimbledon as being the only man to have scored for both carnations of the London outfit.

Snapped up as a striker from The Bees he ended up becoming a utility player; featuring in midfield and defence as his career went on.

But he played over 250 games for The Dons and is a club legend.

Oyvind Leonhardsen - Rosenborg to Wimbledon (Undisclosed)

Kinnear took a chance with this talented Norwegian playmaker in 1994 and was not left disappointed as he was the creative spark they had always missed throughout the ‘Crazy Gang’ era.

After three successful seasons he was eventually sold to Roy Evans’ Liverpool for £3.5 million in 1997.

Have these five transfers given you hope for Kinnear’s role in the transfer market?

image: © mikebrown59

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