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Is this the greatest-ever sports press conference?

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 10 Apr 2024, 12:52pm
Joe Kinnear, in his time as Newcastle United manager. Photo / Getty Images
Joe Kinnear, in his time as Newcastle United manager. Photo / Getty Images

Is this the greatest-ever sports press conference?

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 10 Apr 2024, 12:52pm

The death this week of former football manager Joe Kinnear at the age of 77 has brought back to light a transcript of his remarkable first press conference in charge of Newcastle United in October 2008.

The former manager of India, Nepal and Wimbledon hadn’t led a team since playing a fateful hand in Nottingham Forest’s relegation from the top flight in 2004. At Newcastle, he was replacing much-admired Kevin Keegan in a caretaker role and raised eyebrows locally when he decided to start his short stint at St James’ Park by letting the players have a few days off – after losing to Blackburn on the Saturday, the team did not work with Kinnear until the Tuesday.

After fans and media expressed surprise about the temporary manager’s lack of engagement with the players, Kinnear (who came to be known as “JFK” or “Joe F***ing Kinnear”) charged into his first press conference on the Thursday.

The following is an edited transcript of Joe Kinnear’s first official press conference at Newcastle.

Joe Kinnear: Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror’s north-east football writer]?

Simon Bird: Me.

JK: You’re a c***.

SB: Thank you.

JK: Which one is Hickman [Niall, football writer for the Express]? You are out of order. Absolutely f***ing out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can f*** off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that f***ing crap. No f***ing way, lies. F***, you’re saying I turned up and they [Newcastle’s players] f***ed off.

SB: No, Joe. Have you read it? It doesn’t actually say that. Have you read it?

JK: I’ve f***ing read it, I’ve read it.

SB: It doesn’t say that. Have you read it?

JK: You are trying to f***ing undermine my position already.

SB: Have you read it? It doesn’t say that. I knew you knew they were having a day off.

JK: F*** off. F*** off. It’s your last f***ing chance.

SB: You read the copy? It doesn’t say that you didn’t know.

JK: What about the headline? You think that’s a good headline?

SB: I didn’t write the headline. You read the copy.

JK: You are negative bastards, the pair of you.

SB: So, if I get a new job next week, would I take the first day off? No, I wouldn’t. If I get a new job, should I call my boss and tell him I am taking the first day off?

JK: It is none of your f***ing business. What the f*** are you going to do? You ain’t got the balls to be a f***ing manager. F***ing day off. Do I want your opinion? Do I have to listen to you?

SB: No, you can listen to who you want.

JK: I had a 24-hour meeting with the entire staff.

SB: Joe, you are only here six weeks; you could have done that on Sunday, or Saturday night.

JK: No, no, no. I didn’t want to do it. I had some other things to do.

SB: What? More important things?

JK: What are you? My personal secretary? F*** off.

SB: You could have done the meeting Saturday night or Sunday. You could have had them watching videos, you could have organised them.

JK: I was meeting the f***ing chairman the owner, everyone else. Talking about things.

SB: It is a valid point that was made in there. A valid point.

JK: I can’t trust any of you.

Niall Hickman: Joe, no one could believe that on your first day at your new club, the first-team players were not in. No one could believe it in town. Your first day in the office.

JK: My first day was with the coaches. I made the decision that I wanted to get as much information out of them.

NH: But why Monday? No one could believe it...

JK: I’m not going to tell you anything. I don’t understand where you are coming from. You are delighted that Newcastle are getting beat and are in the state they are? Delighted, are you?

NH: Certainly not. No one wants to see them get beaten, why would we?

JK: I have done it before. It is going to my f***ing lawyers. So are about three others. If they can find something in it that is a court case, it is going to court. I am not f***ing about. I don’t talk to f***ing anybody. It is raking up stories. You are f***ing so f***ing slimy you are raking up players that I got rid of. Players that I had fallen out with. You are not asking Robbie Earle, because he is sensible. You are not asking Warren Barton? No. Because he is f***ing sensible. Anyone who had played for me for 10 years at any level... [but] you will find some c*** that...

Other journalist: How long is your contract for Joe?

JK: None of your business.

SB: Well, it is actually - because we cover the club. The club say you are here to the end of October, then you say six to eight games, which would take it to the end of November. We are trying to clarify these issues. We are getting no straight answers from anyone. How long are you here for? It is a dead-simple question. And you don’t know...

JK: I was told the length of contract. Then I was told that possibly the club could be sold in that time. That is as far as I know. That’s it finished. I don’t know anything else. But I have been ridiculed. He’s trying to f***ing hide, he’s trying to do this or that.

There is discussion about Kinnear’s meeting with club owner Mike Ashley.

Steve Brenner (football writer for the Sun): We are all grown men and can come in here and sit around and talk about football, but coming in here and calling people c***s?

JK: Why? Because I am annoyed. I am not accepting that. If it is libellous, it is going to where I want it to go.

Newcastle press officer: What has been said in here is off the record and doesn’t go outside.

Journalist: Well, is that what Joe thinks?

JK: Write what you like. Makes no difference to me. Don’t affect me, I assure you. It’ll be the last time I see you anyway. Won’t affect me. See how we go at Everton and Chrissy [Chris Hughton, assistant manager] can do it, someone else can do it. Don’t trust any of yous. I will pick two local papers and speak to them and the rest can f*** off. I ain’t coming up here to have the piss taken out of me. I have a million pages of crap that has been written about me. I’m ridiculed for no reason. I’m defenceless. I can’t get a point in, I can’t say nothing, I can’t do nothing, but I ain’t going to be negative. Then, half of you, most of you are trying to get into the players. I’m not going to tell you what the players think of you, so then you try and get into them in some way or another, so I’ve got a split camp or something like that, something like that. It’s ongoing. It just doesn’t stop.

Journalist: It’s only been a week.

JK: Exactly. It feels more like a year.

Journalist: It’s early days for you to be like this.

JK: No, I’m clearing the air. And this is the last time I’m going to speak to you. You want to know why, I’m telling you. This is the last time. You can do what you like.

Journalist: But this isn’t going to do you or us any good.

JK: I’ll speak to the supporters. I’m going to tell them what the story is. I’m going to tell them. I don’t think they’ll interpret it any different, I don’t think they’ll mix it up, I don’t think they’ll miss out things. I mean, one of them last week said to me... I was talking about in that press conference where you were there, I said something like “Well, that’s a load of bollocks...”

Journalist: “Bollocks to that” is what you said.

JK: Bollocks to that. And what goes after that?

Journalist: That was it.

JK: No it wasn’t, no it wasn’t. What was after it? I don’t know if it was your paper, but what went after it?

Journalist: I don’t know.

JK: It even had the cheek to say “bollocks to Newcastle”.

Journalist: I didn’t write that.

JK: That was my first f***ing day. What does that tell you? What does that tell you?

Journalist: Where was that? Which paper said that?

JK: I’ve got it. I can’t remember. It was one of the Sundays, not a Saturday. It was a Sunday.

Journalist: But you didn’t say that to the Sundays, you said that to us. That was during the Monday press conference.

JK: I’ll bring it in and show it to you. Why would I want to say that?

Journalist: Are you saying that someone has reported you saying “bollocks to Newcastle?”

JK: Yes. Lovely.

Journalist: I don’t know who’s reported that.

JK: I’ll tell you what, I’ll bring it in.

Journalist: That’s obviously going to damage you. That’s not a good thing. But I don’t think someone’s done that. We have to have some sort of relationship with you.

JK: So have I. But I haven’t come in here for you lot to take the piss out of me. And if I’m not flavour of the month for you, it don’t f***ing bother me. I’ve got a job to do. And I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I’m not going to spend any more time listening to any crap or reading any crap. Stick to the truth and the facts. And don’t twist anything.

Journalist: You know, you know the game...

JK: Of course I know, but I don’t have to like it.

Journalist: Today we’ll print the absolute truth, that you think we’re c***s, we can all f*** off and we’re slimy. Is that fair enough?

JK: Do it. Fine. F***ing print it. Am I going to worry about it? Put in also that it’ll be the last time I see you. Put that in as well. Good. Do it.

Press officer: Let’s get on to football. Let’s have an agreement that everything said so far, if anyone has got their tapes on, it’s wiped off and we’re not discussing it.

Journalist: But that’s what Joe has said he thinks of us.

Press officer: I’m saying don’t push it. Let’s accept what’s been said and try and move on.

Journalist: Move on to not doing any more press conferences?

Press officer: No, to doing something now.

Journalist: What, one press conference only?


Journalist: Any knocks?

Press officer: Come on, let’s go football.

Journalist: What are your plans for training in the next three days? How’s the training going?

JK: It’s going very well. No problems at all.

Journalist: Enjoyed getting back in the swing of things?

JK: Absolutely. I’ve loved every moment of it.

This story was originally published on the Herald, here

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