Kinnear to stay Newcastle boss for the season

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The Independent Football

Joe Kinnear was today appointed as Newcastle boss until the end of the season.

The 61-year-old, who has been working on a month-to-month contract at St James' Park since the end of September, will take charge for the rest of the campaign with efforts to sell the club so far coming to nothing.

Kinnear said: "Ever since I came to Newcastle United, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

"The players have been great to work with and the fans have made me feel at home since day one.

"We have a big challenge ahead of us for the rest of the season, but together, I'm confident we will make good progress.

"We have some very good players already at this club and hopefully we can further strengthen the squad in January, and I will be working very closely with the directors to try to achieve that."

Kinnear met owner Mike Ashley last weekend to discuss his own situation and what the club might be able to do during the January transfer window to strengthen the squad he inherited from Kevin Keegan.

The Magpies slipped into the bottom three on Monday night despite their impressive 0-0 draw away to Barclays Premmier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday, but have lost only two of the eight games for which the former Wimbledon manager has been in charge to date.

Managing director Derek Llambias said: "Joe has done an excellent job since coming to the club, and everyone is delighted he has agreed to remain in charge for the rest of the season."

Today's development comes as no real surprise with Ashley's hopes of offloading the business he bought for £134.4million in May last year having been hit by the prevailing economic conditions.

He announced his decision to sell in September amid a furious fans' backlash over Keegan's walk-out in protest at the way the club handled their summer recruitment drive.

However, Keith Harris, chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce, who was appointed to find a buyer, has had little luck despite scouring the world for potential purchasers ever since.

He hinted last weekend that any deal was unlikely to be struck before February despite interest from two American consortia, and that simply confirmed the feeling on Tyneside in recent weeks that Ashley's stay, and therefore that of Kinnear, would continue.

That change of plan has left the billionaire facing a decision over whether or not to sanction spending on transfers in January on a squad which, while containing several good quality players, is perilously thin.

Kinnear has already presented executive director (football) Dennis Wise with a wishlist, although that is understood to contain the names of a series of loan targets including Roma defender John Arne Riise and the likes of Arsenal youngsters Denilson, Johan Djourou and Alexandre Song.

In the meantime, he will send out his side for the derby clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow hoping to celebrate his good news with a much-needed victory.