The arrival of Joe Kinnear at Newcastle United has been viewed as a direct threat to boss Alan Pardew – but the former West Ham manager is odds-on favourite to outlast his new director of football at the club.
Kinnear has made a series of bizarre, erroneous claims and PR blunders since being re-appointed by owner Mike Ashley, including falling out with Toon legend Alan Shearer and suggesting that he is “more intelligent” than the long-suffering Magpies fans.
While Kinnear has since attempted to appease supporters in an interview with local newspaper the Chronicle, it is the nature of his relationship with Pardew that will provide plenty of intrigue in the coming months.
The former West Ham boss has maintained a dignified silence throughout the media furore that has surrounded the latest developments on Tyneside but Kinnear’s return will surely create friction between the pair.
Of course, the official line is that Kinnear is exactly the kind of ‘football man’ required by the club to take the pressure off Pardew as he looks to reshape a squad which finished a disappointing 16th in the Premier League last term.
But while Kinnear is believed to be chasing Aston Villa striker Darren Bent and West Ham defender James Tomkins at the request of Pardew, the former Wimbledon boss ultimately has the final say on transfers.
How that will sit with Pardew is unclear, but he is a proud man and will probably be more focused on attempting to restore Newcastle to the heights of 2011/12, when they narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification, than on walking away.
With that in mind, bwin offers a price of 7/10 on Pardew – who has an eight-year contract, lest we forget – outlasting Kinnear at St James’ Park, with the Irishman a 7/5 chance to remain longer than the manager.
Alternatively, punters who believe Ashley will eventually seek to freshen up the structure entirely in one fell swoop can get 7/1 on Pardew and Kinnear both departing at the same time.
But whoever stays in their job the longest, one thing is guaranteed: there won’t be a dull moment at Newcastle United Football Club next season.