London: The war of words at Newcastle United over Joe Kinnear's appointment as director of football has gathered pace with Kinnear hitting back at Magpies goal-scoring legend Alan Shearer.
Shearer, who scored 206 goals in 404 games for the club, told The Sun last week that the appointment of Kinnear had "undermined" manager Alan Pardew and said recent developmemnts at St James' Park had turned the club into a "laughing stock".
In response, Kinnear has recalled how Shearer failed to keep Newcastle in the Premier League in the final eight games of the 2008-09 season, when he succeeded Kinnear after he had suffered a heart attack.
"What Shearer says is diabolical," Kinnear said in an interview with the Sunday Times.
"This is a guy who hasn't got a clue about coaching."
"The last game of the (2008-09) season he came up with the master idea of playing Damien Duff at left-back. Damien is one of the best left-wingers in the business, but can't tackle. And we went down with an own goal from Damien.
"Shearer keeps slagging me off. He is being disrespectful to me. I am entitled to fight back."
The interview with the Sunday Times was his first in print since returning to Newcastle, following on from two colourful and controversial interviews on television and radio where he made a number of erroneous claims, mispronounced the names of several players and claimed he had "more intelligence" than Magpies supporters.
In the ionterview with the Sunday Times, Kinnear apologised to Newcastle fans for the latter remark.
"I regret what I said about the supporters," he said.
"There are 10 per cent I'm never going to win over, that is the point I was trying to make, but I regret what I said and if I offended any Newcastle fans I apologise."
Kinnear's appointment immediately created speculation around the future of Pardew and also of influential chief scout Graham Carr, who both now report into him.
But the Irishman insists he will not be interfering in first-team matters and believes his job may be under bigger threat than the former Charlton manager's.
"I will have the job of over-looking the reserves and the youth team and see where we are progressing, as well as being chief advisor to (chairman) Mike Ashley," he said.
"If things are going wrong at the club I am accountable and he will be coming through me and not anybody else.
"Everybody thinks Pardew is under pressure. He's not. I am. I could get sacked."