Shearer's Bar at Newcastle

Tough week for Newcastle ends with Shearer’s iconic sign torn down

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What a terrible week it’s been for Newcastle supporters.

On Sunday owner Mike Ashley makes the highly controversial decision of hiring Joe Kinnear as Director of Football. Kinnear, who managed the club for a brief stint in 2009 but was forced to abandon his post after being rushed to hospital with heart problems, is the figure who specialized in ‘long ball’ and many believe led to the club’s relegation.

In the midst of public outcry, Kinnear decided to give an interview to Talksport on Monday in which he embarrased himself by making ridiculous and untrue claims while botching the names of numerous figures in the club.

Among his soundbites, the 66 year old claimed responsibility for signing Tim Krul (he was recruited by Graeme Souness) and James Perch (he was bought by Chris Hughton), called Newcastle’s managing director, Derek Llambias, “Derek Llambezee,” claimed Llambias had resigned as “director of football” (that was not his position and at that point in time, had not resigned) and also referred to Shola Ameobi as “Shola Amenobee”, Yohan Cabaye as “Yohan Kebab” and Hatem Ben Arfa “Hatem Ben Afre”.

By Wednesday, Llambias handed in his resignation, which was widely understood to be a direct consequence of Ashley’s decision to appoint Kinnear. Llambias, who is credited for bringing the likes of Fabricio Coloccini and Jonás Guttiérez to the club, kept it classy in his exit, graciously thanking the club staff and supporters while not mentioning Kinnear.

Many feared that Alan Pardew, who signed an eight year contract with the club last fall, would be the next in line to show himself to the gallows but Pards refused, saying “I am staying to take the club up the league.”

The situation was enough for Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who ripped the club for hiring Kinnear:

Right now people are laughing at the club I support and that sickens me. I promised myself years ago to never be surprised by anything which happens in football, particularly when it came to Newcastle. But this situation really is stretching it a bit.

Newcastle have a manager who has just been totally undermined. I’m sure it will be a difficult situation. It’s no way to treat a man who 12 months ago was manager of the year after guiding Newcastle to fifth place. He is in such an intolerable position.

What are the players to think when Joe Kinnear can’t even get their names right. It’s all a PR disaster. Mike Ashley just keeps on making too many decisions which alienate the Newcastle fans. They deserve better, much better.

Just after Shearer made the comments, the club sent a wrecking crew to tear down the iconic “Shearer’s” sign at the entrance to the St James’ Park bar named after the striker. The move incensed supporters and a club official was quick to note that the sign change was “purely coincidence,” and that the decision to revamp the bar and change the name to “Nine” (Shearer’s number) had been made long ago.

It’s sad to see a club be tortured by such a difficult week of news especially since the effects could be devastating. Current players – especially those who Kinnear botched in his radio interview – will feel alienated and may be more inclined to seek a transfer (Cabaye and Ben Arfa have been the subject of rumors) while potential transfers into the club – Joleon Lescott, Eder, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Loic Remy – could look elsewhere for their future home.

D.C. United acquires Igboananike from Fire in trade

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 06:  Andrea Pirlo #21 of the New York City FC looks to pass against Kennedy Igboananike #77 of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on March 6, 2016 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The New York City FC defeated the Fire 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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With the playoffs still very much in sight, D.C. United is making another attempt to boost its struggling attack.

[ MORE: NYCFC, Rapids meet in Bronx on Saturday ]

After recently trading for New York City FC forward Patrick Mullins and New York Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, D.C. has completed a trade for Chicago Fire attacker Kennedy Igboananike in exchange for target allocation money and a third-round draft selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

In over a season-and-a-half in MLS with the Fire, Igboananike notched 11 goals and four assists in 49 matches. The Nigerian forward is a Designated Player, and is due to make over $900,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union website.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

D.C United is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, sitting on 20 points through 21 matches. The team is four points behind the New England Revolution for the final playoff position.

Report: Atletico set to offer $52 million for Chelsea’s Costa

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Diego Costa of Chelsea shoots past Thiago Silva of PSG to score a gol to level the scores at 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain at Stamford Bridge on March 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Already with one of the world’s most dangerous attacks, Atletico Madrid is prepared to add another dimension into the mix.

[ MORE: Man City makes final bid for defender John Stones ]

Daily Mail is reporting that the Spanish side is prepared to offer Chelsea over $52 million for striker Diego Costa, who joined the team from Atletico back in 2014.

While the Blues have maintained their position that Costa isn’t for sale, Atletico looks to boost its already strong offense with the 27-year-old Spaniard. Diego Simeone’s group already features talented attacking duo Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres.

During his previous stint in La Liga, Costa netted 56 goals across all competitions in two seasons with the Rojiblancos.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri trying to make comeback in Chinese Super League ]

Chelsea is reportedly pursuing former striker Romelu Lukaku after signing Belgian Michy Batshuayi this summer. Antonio Conte’s side also features young forward Bertrand Traore, who has made a strong impression during the preseason.

Report: Manchester City makes final bid for John Stones

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Diego Costa of Chelsea and John Stones of Everton compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on January 16, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Take it or leave it.

Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.

[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]

City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.

While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.

NASL weekend preview: Rayo OKC faces stiff test against Minnesota

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Following a midweek loss against FC Edmonton, the New York Cosmos will try to rebound at home against Puerto Rico FC.

The Cosmos currently have two losses during the Fall Season, having conceded 10 goals in six matches, which is the second-most in NASL.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview ]

With no unbeatens remaining, Spring Season champion Indy Eleven looks to keep its place near the top of the table against Miami FC.

Minnesota United looks to build off of its strong start against league leaders Rayo OKC, with the two teams separated by a mere two points.

Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to search for their first win of the Fall Season against the struggling Jacksonville Armada.

Saturday

New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC

Ottawa Fury vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Jacksonville Armada

Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven

Rayo OKC vs. Minnesota United

Sunday

FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks