Kinnear keen to return
Former Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear has been given the go-ahead to return to management. The ex-Wimbledon manager was a surprise choice to take over from Chris Hughton at St James' Park back in September, just under four weeks after Kevin Keegan had parted ways with the north-east club.
Kinnear's arrival brought about a small upturn in fortunes as the Magpies battled against relegation. However, after suddenly falling ill before the club's trip to West Bromwich Albion on 7 February he was required to undergo triple heart bypass surgery.
Alan Shearer was appointed as manager for the final eight games of the season, but was unable to prevent the club from being relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship on the final day. With plenty of ownership issues to be sorted out in the boardroom at St James' Park, mystery still also surrounds who will be in the hot-seat this season with Hughton currently back in charge on a caretaker basis. Shearer remains very much in the frame, although Kinnear insists he would love to be given another chance now he has his health back once again.
"I've gone from bad to being much, much better than I was. I've got the all-clear," he said. "Things are working out well for me. I feel as fit as a fiddle.
"I love the game. I'm desperate to get back into it. It just depends where and when. I just hope it happens sooner [rather] than later."
The 62-year-old continued: "My contract was up at the end of the season. [Current owner] Mike [Ashley] knows I'm still available. I'm not sure how far down the road they are of selling it.
"I spoke to Mike last week. He told me he has people very much interested in it and maybe the decision for me to go back there is away from him, because obviously new owners might come in," he said.
"Obviously if they don't and they haven't got anybody else I thoroughly enjoyed my time when I was up there. I thought I did well up there. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the people. I enjoyed the team.
"I'm pretty sure that the run I got the team on at the time, it would have seen us through, but it's a bit late for that now," said Kinnear.
"My opportunity would be to support Mike and [managing director] Derek [Llambias]. They are the people who gave me the job in the first place. If it does come, with the same scenario as last season, then I'm ready for the right."