After eight months in charge of Newcastle's overwhelmingly underwhelming transfer activity, Joe Kinnear has resigned as the club's director of football, in the latest twist of the Irishman's bizarre Tyneside adventure.
As shocked as the fans were that he was the replacement for Kevin Keegan as manager back in 2008, to be put in charge of Newcastle's recruitment drive last summer really took the biscuit for strange decisions made by Mike Ashley. Alan Pardew was already feeling the heat after a desperately disappointing 16th place last season, and Kinnear's appointment read like a blatant attempt to undermine him ahead of the new season.
Against all the odds however, Pardew has outlasted Kinnear, with the boss becoming more and more frustrated with a transfer policy that has yielded only two loan signings and the sale of star player Yohan Cabaye. Pardew, in the wake of the shocking 3-0 home defeat to Sunderland, intimated that if he was in charge of player incomings things would have been different - it looks like Kinnear has listened, and jumped before being pushed.
More cynical observers would suggest that Kinnear was merely doing the job set out for him by Ashley. Newcastle have been the most profitable club in all the most recent transfer windows, so from a business point of view the Irishman hasn't done badly. From a football point of view however, the perspective that the manager and fans hold, he badly let the club down. In a season of transition for all the top clubs, with a bit of ambition Newcastle could have been fighting it out for fourth place. Instead, a top-half finish will take some doing, with form and morale low.
Ambition doesn't have to mean splashing millions out on players the club can't afford, as was the case when Freddie Shepherd held ownership. However, to not ensure the replacement of players like Cabaye, or properly strengthen the attack, leaves Newcastle in danger of losing what quality they have. Yet again, an opportunity has been missed, and one suspects that with Ashley in charge the pattern will continue.