Joe Kinnear - the Ultimate Interim Manager ?

As a fellow 'Interim' you just have to love Joe Kinnear !!

If the name means nothing to you, then you've probably been plying your interim trade in a subterranean cave on some distant island on which man has never stepped. (Or you don't live in the North East !!).

Let me paint a picture for you. Back in August 08, at the beginning of the Premier League Football season, Newcastle United had a manager (or messiah to some) by the name of Kevin Keegan. A local lad dun good, a real live Roy of the Rovers who had captained England and played for the Black of White of Newcastle. Kevin was brought into the Managers role by flamboyant billionaire owner and retail baron Mike Ashley. Kevin, Mike and the legions of Georgie fans were optimistic about the new season. (Ok, they were never going to win the premier league, but a top 6 finish and good cup run was not beyond them).

Fast forward a few weeks and all is not well at Newcastle United. 'King' Kev (Kevin Keegan) is not happy in his employment, and when 'King Kev' is not happy he invariably walks. 'King' Kev left Newcastle United on 4th September 2008. The rumblings which followed made the Angel of the North shake. The Geordie fans were up in arms, "How dare this 'cockney wide boy' Ashley treat Kev like that", "Ashley out", "Go back to London", are some of the only 'printable' quotes I could find.

Meanwhile, Joe Kinnear, 61, is sat at home, wandering whether the call will ever come which would see him get another crack at Football management after 3 years in the footballing wilderness. Little did Joe know that the call was imminent ! When Joe Kinnear picked up the phone and answered Mike Ashley's call, he didn't even know what an 'Interim Manager' was, but just days later, Joe was Interim Manager of Newcastle United FC, and the most high profile Interim Manager in the UK.

As Interim Managers we are used to pressure, we go into (often) difficult environments and have to deliver to justify our fee and protect our reputation. However, if you are an Interim Manager having a particularly tough time at the moment, take solace and consider this. When poor old 'Interim Joe' Kinnear goes to work on a Saturday afternoon he has 50,000 snarling shouting critics watching his every move. No pressure there then !!

And lets not forget the scores of journalists watching the match in the press box with sharpened pens and a whole lot of blank space in tomorrows sports pages that needs filling. Thankfully, Joe is probably the only Interim Manager in the country who gets absolutely slaughtered in every Newspaper in the land come Sunday. (makes my recent grilling off a CEO look like school yard stuff !!).

And boy does 'interim Joe' love the press. After a couple of weeks in the job, Joe managed to pack 52 swear words into a 5-minute press call, much of this abuse aimed squarely at the football journalists who have had the proverbial field day with Joe's interim tenure.

If this is not bad enough, how many of us have worked on assignment at a company where the Police have told the owner to stay away from the business? None is my guess. But this is the environment that 'Interim Joe' finds himself in, with Mike Ashley unable to attend matches due to fears over his safety. And how many interim managers performance is measured by what happens over 90 minutes once a week ? I only know one... step forward Joe Kinnear.

Joe I salute you as the ultimate Interim Manager, although yours is one assignment I am happy for you to keep. Mind you, on second thoughts, I bet the daily rates not bad !!!

Have you ever taken on the 'assignment from hell'? Let us know

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