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Five weeks after the commotion caused by Joe Kinnear's appointment at Newcastle, the Magpies' director of football is yet to make his first signing to boost a team that finished perilously close to the bottom three last season. As one mailbox writer suggested, perhaps he should be called the director of f**kall.
Indeed, the only semi-meaningful act Kinnear has performed since his arrival at St James' Park is to try and enlist Mick Harford as his new assistant. That Harford chose to continue with his coaching role at Millwall says everything you need to know about Kinnear's powers of persuasion, with Alan Pardew feeling rather antsy just three weeks before the Premier League kick-off.
"I'm pushing Joe to get a transfer in. I think we need a boost. We are in a situation where we want to progress now," said Pardew on Wednesday. As much as the manager knows he now answers to Kinnear, his deliberate message was clearly intended to show fans (and possibly future employers) who's to blame for Newcastle's worrying inertia.
A game is afoot, with Kinnear attempting to strengthen his position with the appointment of one of his cohorts and Pardew publicly demanding the striker he so desperately needs in time for the new season. As the melting pot of chaos begins to bubble once again at Newcastle, fans watch on helplessly with memories of 2009 still fresh in the mind.
If things weren't already difficult enough, Papiss Cisse's now-resolved refusal to wear the Wonga logo left Newcastle facing another complex problem, for once not entirely of their own making. Throw in the departures of useful squad players James Perch and Danny Simpson and Pardew is light on numbers, with those that remain battling to a disappointing 16th in 2012/13.
This predicament is largely a product of panic, as Mike Ashley's fear of another relegation battle prompted the owner to shelve the shrewd transfer market philosophy that saw the club finish fifth in 2011/12. Although that same philosophy led Newcastle to 16th last year, the club's real mistake was adding just one first-team player to the squad - Vurnon Anita - ahead of a gruelling campaign which included a run to the Europa League quarter-final.
The benefit of signing new players in time for pre-season cannot be underestimated, and yet Newcastle have maintained the failings of last summer despite Kinnear being brought in to supposedly make things easier. Recruiting five first-team players in January just about saved Newcastle from the drop in May, but unless the club act now they will be facing the same gamble half-way through the coming season.
Ashley was rightly unhappy with the team's performances in the last campaign and the obvious decision was to replace Pardew with a new manager capable of introducing more than one approach on the pitch. By instead choosing to forgo the club's philosophy and his faith in Graham Carr - appointing a director of football more concerned with finding an assistant than fulfilling his main duty - the owner has only created needless problems for Newcastle.
Ashley twisted on the wrong hand and put his faith in a man incapable of diplomacy or pronunciation, threatening to alienate Pardew and Carr in the process. It will be a miracle if both Pardew and Kinnear are still at the club next summer considering the friction that will no doubt arise in the pair's relationship and the only hope for Newcastle fans is that this entirely avoidable situation doesn't lead to a second relegation in five years.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.