Neighbourly Wenger offers advice to Kinnear

October 3, 2008

Newcastle United boss Joe Kinnear has revealed he has kept in touch with the Premier League through neighbour Arsene Wenger.

The 61-year-old has been out of management since December 2004, but as well as scouting for players in South America, he has spent time watching the Frenchman working with his Arsenal players on the training pitch.

Kinnear said: "I live literally three minutes from Arsene Wenger. I've lived where I am for the last 30 years, and Arsene since he moved into Arsenal.

"I sit down and talk to him. I have asked if I can go and watch him and see how he works, and on numerous occasions I have gone down to the training ground with him.

"He's a very infectious guy, and a wonderful coach. He's produced a wonderful team who play quality football.

"I think he'd be the nearest manager that I've been in touch with in the last few years.

"He's been very supportive. I can talk to him, and he can talk to me. We can bounce things off each other, and I have enjoyed it.

"I've especially enjoyed the sessions he's put on and seeing how he turns such a young team around.

"He's up there with the best, there's no question about that."

Kinnear returned to the management game in his own right last Friday when he was appointed interim boss by the Magpies' owner Mike Ashley.

The billionaire is in the process of selling the club - unconfirmed reports have suggested a South African consortium has tabled a £300million offer - and has asked the former Wimbledon supremo to fill the gap left by Kevin Keegan when he resigned last month.

Kinnear knows his spell on Tyneside will be short-lived, although it could extend beyond the realms of his contract - which expires at the end of next month - as potential buyers attempt to seal a deal.

However, he admits he could not turn down the chance, and Wenger agrees with his decision despite the criticism the move has attracted.

The Arsenal boss said: "I know him very well. I like him, personally.

"[The criticism is] unfair because you cannot ask somebody who is out of a job for five or six years and has an opportunity to show his quality to refuse the job.

"Joe is an optimist and he thinks, 'Okay, I have the job for a short time, but if I do well, I might stay in there'.

"For somebody who has been out of a job for such a long time, you cannot deny that opportunity to him.

"I believe he has done the right thing and he has the quality and the strengths to maybe turn people around and change their opinion about him.

"It's a tough job, but as well a job without any risk because the club is in such a bad situation, you can only do well."