Joe Kinnear is named Newcastle’s director of football – Newcastle fans up in arms

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Joe Kinnear is back at Newcastle, this time as the club’s director of football.

The 66 year old former manager of the Magpies signed a three year deal that will see him oversee the club’s style of football and handle player recruitment and transfers. Amidst supporters’ fears that he may be inching in to replace Mike Ashley, Kinnear has insisted that he will be working with Ashley and not taking his place.

Kinnear managed Newcastle during the 2008-09 season but left the position after suffering a heart attack. But Kinnear insists that he’s healthy and ready to go now. “I am as fit as a fiddle now,” Kinnear said. “I am in the best physical shape that I have ever been and I have been waiting for the opportunity.”

Many Newcastle supporters are up in arms over the hiring, believing that the man they called ‘Mr. Long Ball’ was one of the worst Newcastle managers of all time, having put the club in a horrible position that led to their relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Fortunately, this time around Kinnear insists his role will be limited to player scouting. Explaining that he has “a bright head,”  Kinnear believes that he can bring in the right players to make Newcastle a successful side. Kinnear explained:

What I can offer is that I believe that I am a very good judge of players, I believe that I am a good tactician and I believe that anything to do with football I have been involved in; I’ve worked with the best, I have been with the best and I intend to make Newcastle far better than they are now.

Anticipating the fears of supporters, Kinnear also made clear that he has “no other agenda” and that “if I see players at the club right now and I believe they are not good enough to be at Newcastle then I intend to move them on.”

It will be interesting to see whether Kinnear supports the French Revolution at Newcastle or whether he looks to rebuild the club around the type of players that epitomize his affinity for the hoof-it game that he imposed during his first tenure at St. James’ Park.

 

Mendy a doubt for start of Man City’s Premier League season

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High-flying left back Benjamin Mendy‘s Manchester City takeoff has been delayed by a thigh injury.

Pep Guardiola revealed Thursday that Mendy is doubtful for City’s Aug. 12 Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion despite passing a medical to push through a $68 million move from Monaco.

Saying Mendy is “a little bit injured,” Guardiola said to expect an absence of two to three weeks.

[ MORE: LAFC hires Bob Bradley ]

The depth chart behind Mendy is incomplete, though City has added two right backs this offseason in Kyle Walker and Danilo.

The latter would be the front-runner to start in Mendy’s place, as he did in a 3-5-2 as Man City beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday.

Man City follows its opener at Brighton with a visit from Everton and a trip to Bournemouth.

Roma gives new 4-year deal to Premier League target Nainggolan

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Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.

Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.

[ MORE: Chatting with De Rossi ]

Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.

The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.

While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.

Too many fans: Udinese vs. Hannover friendly called off

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ST. VEIT, Austria (AP) Local authorities in southern Austria have called off Sunday’s friendly match between Udinese and Hannover as the estimated number of spectators exceeds the capacity of the stadium.

The city of St. Veit says about 4,000 fans, including 280 potential football hooligans, were expected for the game at the ground of local amateur club FC Alpe Adria, which has a capacity of 2,430.

St. Veit mayor Gerhard Mock says “it’s a shame … but security comes first.”

It’s not immediately clear whether the match between the Italian and German top-flight teams can be moved to a larger venue. Both Udinese and Hannover are having their preseason training camps in the province of Carinthia.

LIVE – Everton kick off Europa League campaign

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Wayne Rooney will play his first competitive game for Everton in 13 years.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores

That storyline will dominate Everton’s return to Europe as they kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Europa League campaign in front of a packed house at Goodison Park on Thursday.

The Toffees welcome Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok for the first leg of the third qualifying round as they aim to make it back to the group stage for the first time since 2014-15.

Click on the link above to follow not only Everton’s game but all of the Europa League qualifiers going on across Europe this afternoon with the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbache, PSV, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao all in action.

If Ronald Koeman‘s side successfully navigate their way past Ruzomberok then they will be in the play-off round which is the final hurdle before the group stage.