While there will be the possibility that Joe Kinnear’s health problems will prevent him from returning to manage Newcastle longer term, Steve Harper has come out today and said it’s up to the players to get the team out of relegation trouble in Joe’s absence.
Joe Kinnear – Harper misses having him around
And he is absolutely right.
Steve talked to the Newcastle Journal this morning:
“Colin Calderwood has come in and settled in very quickly.”
“He’s been a different voice on the training pitch and the players have taken to him very well and really enjoyed his coaching sessions.”
“With Chris Hughton and Paul Barron already here, the club have got some good people and excellent coaches at the club .”
“And we’re all confident that, if it comes to it, they can look after the squad for as long as necessary.”
“We’ve got three very experienced coaches to help us progress for the rest of the season.”
There are some Newcastle fans who don’t believe Joe is the right man for the job, even for the next couple of seasons, but Steve says Joe has done a good job by lifting the players at the club.
“We’re all playing for him, of course we are. And we’ll miss him. He’s brought some spark and energy to the place and he’s very enthusiastic. It’s not the same not having him around the training ground.”
“We found out on Saturday morning that Joe had taken ill, Chris Hughton told us the news and obviously it was a huge shock. Obviously, it wasn’t a nice thing to hear but, if anything, it pulled the lads together.”
“There were a few people in the dressing room saying ‘come on, he’s stepped in at the club at a difficult time, so let’s just give it that little bit extra for him’.”
“We already knew that it was a massive game for us against West Brom, but it gave us another reason and another incentive to go out and win it.”
“Thankfully we did that and apparently Joe was being kept informed of how we were doing by phone. He wouldn’t have wanted to miss that game for the world, but he’s in the right place and we all wish him a speedy recovery.”
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I spoke to Joe at the start of the week and he was in really good spirits, if a bit fed-up.”
“He was wanting to know what was going on, how the mood was after the win and how the lads were doing. That’s typical of him.”
“He was incredibly frustrated to be in hospital and missing out when he wanted to be out on the training pitch and that’s what he’s been like ever since he’s been at the club.”
“He’s the first into work every morning and one of the last to leave. He’s been good to have around.”
Before the injuries hit the side in late December we had been doing very well under Joe, and there were some good performances to remember.
Like the way we almost beat Man City at home with 10 men, the win at home against Aston Villa, and the good performances away against Chelsea and Portsmouth.
But then as is usual in almost every season at the club, we had 10 first teamers out with injury, and things went downhill from there, and rather quickly.
We are wishing Joe the very best today with his operation, and trust he will be on his way to full fitness again.
Comments very welcome.