In a move that suggests the sale of Newcastle United is effectively postponed, it was announced yesterday that the caretaker manager Joe Kinnear will remain in charge until the end of the season.
As the credit crunch bit into the owner Mike Ashley's hopes of selling the club, it became increasingly clear that this was the most likely scenario and it means that Kinnear will oversee incomings and outgoings in January's transfer window.
With Dennis Wise still head of recruitment that places Kinnear in the same position as Kevin Keegan in August.
Kinnear said yesterday that he has received assurances that he will be "in total control" of transfers, though answering to Wise and Ashley. That was also Keegan's understanding.
It would be negligent even by the Ashley regime's standards for Kinnear to be similarly compromised.
Nevertheless, Kinnear requested clarity before accepting the post. "I have asked for assurances and that will not happen to me," Kinnear said of the Keegan comparison. "That was one of the things I spoke about. Every signing who comes in the new year will be a Joe Kinnear signing, absolutely.
"I have cleared that at boardroom level. I just said I feel it is much easier and healthier when everyone knows what their job details are. My job is to get the players that I want in to make Newcastle a lot better team than it is at present. Then the board make money available and they will give the task to Dennis Wise to go and negotiate." Asked if Ashley acknowledged that mistakes had been made with Keegan and transfers, Kinnear replied: "That is a possibility." Of Wise he added: "Dennis is in a position to chase up the players I want but I will hang my hat on those players. There ain't going to be any mix-up about who signed them. Only me."?
Kinnear said in discussions with Ashley he stressed the importance of survival if Ashley is to sell the club for a price he finds agreeable.
"I would not know what price the club would be worth if it went down. It would be a massive loss I would have thought. I explained to Mikey [sic], he needs to protect that. The only way to protect that is to invest and make sure we are not in the bottom three at the end of the season."
Another conversation Kinnear had this week was with Alan Shearer. Kinnear said Shearer called to clarify that Robert Lee's comments about Shearer being ready for the Newcastle job were not "sanctioned" by Shearer and were not part of a campaign. "It was very honourable of him," Kinnear said of Shearer.