If you have read one or two of my little meanders through the footballing backwaters you might recall that occasionally I try to crack a joke or two. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I get accused of being a twat, and far worse. That’s how it goes.
These little ideas just occur to me from time to time, so I write them down. But just occasionally the real world is so funny, so outrageous, that I don’t have to invent anything, I can just tell you how it is.
And this is how it is. The Manager of Newcastle Zebras, Joe Kinnear, an Irishman – known to many in the trade as Hardly Anyone, speaks openly to journalists at his very first press conference, with a delicacy of touch that is perhaps sometimes lacking within his team.
Everyone associated with Newcastle should be proud to be a… well, a Zebra I suppose….
JK Which one is Simon Bird?
JK You’re a cunt.
SB Thank you.
JK Which one is Hickman? You are out of order. Absolutely fucking out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can fuck off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that fucking crap. No fucking way, lies. Fuck, you’re saying I turned up and they fucked off.
SB No Joe, have you read it, it doesn’t actually say that. Have you read it?
JK I’ve fucking read it, I’ve read it.
SB It doesn’t say that. Have you read it?
JK You are trying to fucking undermine my position already.
SB Have you read it, it doesn’t say that. I knew you knew they were having a day off.
JK Fuck off. Fuck off. It’s your last fucking chance.
SB You read the copy? It doesn’t say that you didn’t know.
JK What about the headline, you think that’s a good headline?
SB I didn’t write the headline, you read the copy.
JK You are negative bastards, the pair of you.
SB So if I get a new job next week would I take the first day off? No I wouldn’t. If I get a new job should I call my boss and tell him I am taking the first day off?
JK It is none of your fucking business. What the fuck are you going to do? You ain’t got the balls to be a fucking manager. Fucking day off. Do I want your opinion. Do I have to listen to you?
SB No, you can listen to who you want.
JK I had a 24-hour meeting with the entire staff.
SB Joe, you are only here six weeks, you could have done that on Sunday, or Saturday night.
JK No, no, no. I didn’t want to do it. I had some other things to do.
SB What? More important things?
JK What are you? My personal secretary? Fuck off.
SB You could have done the meeting Saturday night or Sunday. You could have had them watching videos, you could have organised them.
JK I was meeting the fucking chairman the owner, everyone else. Talking about things.
SB It is a valid point that was made in there. A valid point.
JK I can’t trust any of you.
Niall Hickman Joe, no one could believe that on your first day at your new club, the first-team players were not in. No one could believe it in town. Your first day in the office.
JK My first day was with the coaches. I made the decision that I wanted to get as much information out of them.
NH But why Monday, no one could believe it?
JK I’m not going to tell you anything. I don’t understand where you are coming from. You are delighted that Newcastle are getting beat and are in the state they are? Delighted, are you?
NH Certainly not. No one wants to see them get beaten, why would we?
JK I have done it before. It is going to my fucking lawyers. So are about three others. If they can find something in it that is a court case it is going to court. I am not fucking about. I don’t talk to fucking anybody. It is raking up stories. You are fucking so fucking slimy you are raking up players that I got rid of. Players that I had fallen out with. You are not asking Robbie Earle, because he is sensible. You are not asking Warren Barton? No. Because he is fucking sensible. Anyone who had played for me for 10 years at any level … [but] you will find some cunt that …
A N Other How long is your contract for Joe?
JK None of your business.
SB Well it is actually, because we cover the club. The club say you are here to the end of October, then you say six to eight games which would take it to the end of November. We are trying to clarify these issues. We are getting no straight answers from anyone. How long are you here for. It is a dead simple question. And you don’t know …
JK I was told the length of contract. Then I was told that possibly the club could be sold in that time. That is as far as I know. That’s it finished. I don’t know anything else. But I have been ridiculed. He’s trying to fucking hide, he’s trying to do this or that.
Steve Brenner We are all grown men and can come in here and sit around and talk about football, but coming in here and calling people cunts?
JK Why? Because I am annoyed. I am not accepting that. If it is libellous, it is going to where I want it to go.
Newcastle club man What has been said in here is off the record and doesn’t go outside.
Journalist Well, is that what Joe thinks?
JK Write what you like. Makes no difference to me. Don’t affect me I assure you. It’ll be the last time I see you anyway. Won’t affect me. See how we go at Everton and Chrissy can do it, someone else can do it. Don’t trust any of yous. I will pick two local papers and speak to them and the rest can fuck off. I ain’t coming up here to have the piss taken out of me. I have a million pages of crap that has been written about me. I’m ridiculed for no reason. I’m defenceless. I can’t get a point in, I can’t say nothing, I can’t do nothing, but I ain’t going to be negative. Then, half of you, most of you are trying to get into the players. I’m not going to tell you what the players think of you, so then you try and get into them in some way or another, so I’ve got a split camp or something like that, something like that. It’s ongoing. It just doesn’t stop.
Journalist It’s only been a week.
JK Exactly. It feels more like a year.
Journalist It’s early days for you to be like this.
JK No, I’m clearing the air. And this is the last time I’m going to speak to you. You want to know why, I’m telling you. This is the last time. You can do what you like.
Journalist But this isn’t going to do you or us any good.
JK I’ll speak to the supporters. I’m going to tell them what the story is. I’m going to tell them. I don’t think they’ll interpret it any different, I don’t think they’ll mix it up, I don’t think they’ll miss out things. I mean, one of them last week said to me … I was talking about in that press conference where you were there, I said something like “Well, that’s a load of bollocks …”
Journalist “Bollocks to that” is what you said.
JK Bollocks to that. And what goes after that?
Journalist That was it.
JK No it wasn’t, no it wasn’t. What was after it? I don’t know if it was your paper, but what went after it?
Journalist I don’t know.
JK It even had the cheek to say “bollocks to Newcastle”.
Journalist I didn’t write that.
JK That was my first fucking day. What does that tell you? What does that tell you?
Journalist Where was that? Which paper said that?
JK I’ve got it. I can’t remember. It was one of the Sundays, not a Saturday. It was a Sunday.
Journalist But you didn’t say that to the Sundays, you said that to us. That was during the Monday press conference.
JK I’ll bring it in and show it to you. Why would I want to say that?
Journalist Are you saying that someone has reported you saying “bollocks to Newcastle?”
JK Yes. Lovely.
Journalist I don’t know who’s reported that.
JK I’ll tell you what, I’ll bring it in.
Journalist That’s obviously going to damage you. That’s not a good thing. But I don’t think someone’s done that. We have to have some sort of relationship with you.
JK So have I. But I haven’t come in here for you lot to take the piss out of me. And if I’m not flavour of the month for you, it don’t fucking bother me. I’ve got a job to do. And I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I’m not going to spend any more time listening to any crap or reading any crap. Stick to the truth and the facts. And don’t twist anything.
Journalist You know, you know the game …
JK Of course I know, but I don’t have to like it.
Journalist Today we’ll print the absolute truth, that you think we’re cunts, we can all fuck off and we’re slimy. Is that fair enough?
JK Do it. Fine. Fucking print it. Am I going to worry about it? Put in also that it’ll be the last time I see you. Put that in as well. Good. Do it.
Press officer Let’s get on to football. Let’s have an agreement that everything said so far, if anyone has got their tapes on, it’s wiped off and we’re not discussing it.
Journalist But that’s what Joe has said he thinks of us.
Press officer I’m saying don’t push it. Let’s accept what’s been said and try and move on.
Journalist: Move on to not doing any more press conferences?
PO: No, to doing something now.
Journalist: What, one press conference only?
Journalist: Any knocks?
PO: Come on, let’s go football.
Journalist: What are your plans for training in the next three days? How’s the training going?
JK It’s going very well. No problems at all.
Journalist Enjoyed getting back in the swing of things?
JK Absolutely. I’ve loved every moment of it.