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Sunday, June 23, 2013
Kinnear derides Shearer over criticism

Kristan Heneage

Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear has hit back at club legend Alan Shearer over criticism of his appointment.

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Kinnear was handed a three-year-deal on Tyneside last week amid disapproval from the club's fanbase. That was followed by strong comments from the Magpies' record goalscorer Shearer, who said he was "sickened" by Kinnear's arrival and claimed it had turned his former club into a "laughing stock".

However, speaking to the Sunday Times, Kinnear was keen to defend his reputation.

Describing Shearer's comments as "diabolical", he also questioned the former striker's managerial credentials after a brief spell in charge of Newcastle - as successor to Kinnear in 2009 - saw the club relegated.

"What Shearer says is diabolical," Kinnear said. "This is a guy who hasn't got a clue about coaching. The last game of the [2008-09] season he came up with the master idea of playing Damien Duff at left-back. Damien is one of the best left-wingers in the business, but can't tackle. And we went down with an own goal from Damien.

"Shearer keeps slagging me off. He is being disrespectful to me. I am entitled to fight back."

Confirming his appointment last weekend in an interview, Kinnear drew ire from the club's supporters early on when he claimed to have "more intelligence" than them.

But the former Wimbledon boss tried to explain his comments, saying: "I regret what I said about the supporters. I can't get anybody to say that Joe has the utmost respect for the supporters and they are the most important people at the club.

"I always go to their forums and loved having the craic with them around the city when I was manager there. There are 10% I'm never going to win over, that is the point I was trying to make, but I regret what I said and if I offended any Newcastle fans I apologise."

Elsewhere Kinnear has also looked to defend himself against claims he called star midfielder Yohan Cabaye 'Yohan Kebab'.

During a fiery interview with talkSPORT, the club's director of football was heard to mispronounce a number of players' names, including Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez and Shola Ameobi. However most notable was France international Cabaye, who appeared to be referred to as 'Kebab'.

Conceding he had made a mistake in his pronunciation, Kinnear attempted to mitigate the situation by claiming the press had exacerbated the issue.

He told the Evening Chronicle: "I did it [the interview] as a favour and I am so disappointed. I was on air and he switched me to the other presenter. I thought I was going to speak to Bobby about the old days.

"Yohan is a brilliant player and I didn't pronounce his name right. But I didn't say 'Kebab'. I said 'Keba' and they put the 'b' onto it. They made a meal of it, no pun intended. Typical journalists, but it is my own fault and I regret what I said about the supporters."

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