We are told that Derek Llambias' exit from the corridors of power at St James' Park comes after a disagreement over exactly how Newcastle United's new set-up is going to pan out.

And whatever people think of Joe Kinnear's interview on Talksport this week the former Wimbledon boss was anything but kind when talking about United's departing managing director.

We've had just a few scraps of official statements from United this week and they managed to contradict each other.

Joe Kinnear's appointment as Newcastle United's director of football was described by many as a shock.

But given Mike Ashley's track record with making big decisions since taking over the club this should not be a surprise.

After all this is Newcastle United we are talking about.

KEVIN KEEGAN has suggested that Newcastle United will never be the same club while Mike Ashley is in charge.

In a powerful interview with Sky Sports he told cricketing legend Steve Harmison that his second stint as boss was a "living nightmare".

Regardless of whatever else happens in the summer transfer window for Newcastle United - losing Fabricio Coloccini could end up being a bigger blow than anything that has happened in the last 12 months.

Coloccini has been told to report back to the club's Benton base next month.

And even the sight of the Argentine jogging around the training pitch will be a significant boost for United fans.

Twice now, Coloccini has held discussions about his future on Tyneside and both times the need for him to be close to his family have been the main theme.Fabricio-Coloccini-3307186.jpg

THEY ALWAYS say in football that you should never go back.

But although Jose Mourhino's return to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea boss has resulted in the London media exploding in the last 24 hours, here on Tyneside it merely evoked memories of the return of Kevin Keegan half a decade ago.

Without doubt plenty of water has gone under the Tyne Bridge since Keegan was appointed as United manager for a second time five years ago.

When Steve Harper was handed the chance of a farewell game in front of a full house against Arsenal in a game that will be watched by a worldwide audience - it was almost as if it was written in the stars for the long-serving stopper.

And even if it did come at the expense of Rob Elliot after his red card at QPR, the chances are deep down the former Charlton Athletic man won't begrudge Harper a fond send off he will probably never forget.

Harper has seen it all down the years at Newcastle but fans or journalists don't always see the other side of life at the club.


When the final whistle at the DW Stadium sounded in Wigan's game against Swansea City it was very much a case of relief all round for Newcastle United fans.

But while Premier League safety is everything to Newcastle right now the facts of the matter are they should not be anywhere near this situation.

Pats on the back and praise were the order of the day just 12 months ago with United flying high and back in Europe.

You can do two things in football when things aren't going well.

You can either sulk and look for excuses.

Or you can work around the clock to find a solution to put wrongs right.

For Newcastle United the hard work continued this week.

Just a fortnight ago Newcastle United's clash with Benfica was quite rightly dubbed the biggest game at St James' Park for eight years.

In terms of stature it was the closest that United had come to the latter stages of winning a trophy since Graeme Souness' side had reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

We're always hearing football managers say that "every" match is a big one these days in the Premier League.

And from a financial point of view, they aren't wrong.

But with Newcastle knowing they can take a massive step to securing survival against Liverpool on Saturday, just where does this one rank and how much is it worth to the Magpies?

It's hard to believe that just a fortnight ago Newcastle United fans were still allowed to dream of heading off to the Europa League final in Amsterdam and the possibility of a top 10 finish.

But football moves fast, especially at St James' Park.

Suddenly Alan Pardew has found his role on the cast change from the man who could become the first since Joe Harvey to lift a trophy with black and white ribbons on it, to a man facing the fury of the Geordie public after losing a Tyne-Wear derby.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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