Former Wimbledon manager Kinnear dies aged 77

Joe Kinnear
Joe Kinnear ended his managerial career at Newcastle United

Former Wimbledon and Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear has died at the age of 77.

Kinnear, who also managed Luton and Nottingham Forest, was diagnosed with dementia in 2015.

His family said in a statement: “We are sad to announce that Joe passed away peacefully this afternoon surrounded by his family.”

Dublin-born Kinnear won 26 caps for the Republic of Ireland during his 11-year playing career.

He started his career with Tottenham and made 258 appearances for the club, scoring twice in 10 seasons in north London.

Kinnear won the FA Cup, the League Cup twice and the Uefa Cup at Spurs.

He joined Brighton in 1975, but retired after just one season on the south coast when a knee injury curtailed his career.

Kinnear’s first role in management was with India’s national side in 1983, before a stint with Nepal in 1987.

He returned to English football with Doncaster Rovers in March 1989 but left at the end of the season having won just once in 11 matches.

Kinnear’s next role came with Wimbledon two-and-a-half-years later and he would spend more than seven years in south-west London.

Inheriting the ‘Crazy Gang’ in January 1992, Kinnear guided Wimbledon to a sixth-place finish in his second full season in charge at the club, helping him to win the 1994 LMA Manager of the Year award.

He registered two further top-10 finishes in the Premier League, but suffered a heart attack in March 1999 that saw him step away from the club.

Kinnear returned to management with Luton Town in 2001 and enjoyed a brief spell with Nottingham Forest after over two years with the Hatters.

The Irishman ended his managerial career with a short and controversial spell at Newcastle United.

Following Kevin Keegan’s resignation just a month into the 2008-09 season, Kinnear was appointed caretaker manager after a failed search for a permanent successor.

In his opening news conference, he swore more than 50 times in front of the attending media and his spell lasted just 18 games before he stepped down following further heart problems.

He returned to St James’ Park in 2013 as Newcastle’s director of football but he resigned after just seven months following criticism of the club’s sale of Yohan Cabaye to Paris St-Germain.

Joe Kinnear as Wimbledon manager
Joe Kinnear was Wimbledon manager for seven years, between 1992 and 1999

‘A true legend’

Wimbledon thanked Kinnear on X for the “amazing memories” that the “true legend” had provided the club with during his time in the capital.

Speaking after his side’s victory against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou told Sky Sports: “I just heard. It is very sad. Our love goes to his family and friends. He will be remembered by everyone at this football club. It is a sad loss, but he will not be forgotten at this football club.”

Jason Euell, who played under Kinnear for four years at Wimbledon between 1995 and 1999, said: “Thank you for giving me my professional debut and playing a part in who I am today and who I was a player. Gone but never forgotten.”

Newcastle said the thoughts of the club were “with Joe’s family and friends at this difficult time”, while Luton and Tottenham also posted tributes.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with Joe’s family and his many friends in football at this difficult time,” the Football Association of Ireland said.

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