NEWCASTLE // The Newcastle United interim manager Joe Kinnear has moved to ease the uncertainty hanging over the club, telling the players exactly what is going on off the pitch. The former Wimbledon coach called in the captain Michael Owen after getting the low-down over the proposed sale of the Magpies from the managing director Derek Llambias, and asked him to pass the message on to his teammates.
Owen had earlier admitted that a lack of information from the boardroom had not helped the situation on the pitch, where Newcastle have lost their last five games, four of them in the wake of Kevin Keegan's resignation. Kinnear hopes the information he was able to pass on will ease the players' concerns and lead to improved performances. He said: "I have had a long chat with Michael Owen and he told me that one of the problems with the players has been that they have been kept in the dark as to what is happening.
"Now after talking at length to Derek Llambias, I have been able to have a clear-the-air-talk with Michael, and this has been passed on to the rest of the players. They are now up to date with what is going on and they are a lot happier." Kinnear himself arrived at St James' Park last weekend in little doubt as to the ongoing situation after the owner Mike Ashley asked him to take over as he attempts to offload the club.
The investment bankers Seymour Pierce will push through the sale as a series of prospective buyers jockey for position. A South African consortium and a Nigerian group are likely to be among the would-be owners. * PA Sport