Newcastle United angered and astonished their supporters by finally confirming the appointment of Joe Kinnear as their director of football.
That ratification came against a backdrop of enduring public silence from Alan Pardew, the team's manager, and only hours after Kinnear had given an extraordinary radio interview to Talksport.
Among a litany of outlandish comments, contradictions and falsehoods the 66-year-old claimed, wrongly, that Derek Llambias, Newcastle's managing director, had recently resigned as director of football and called the team's France midfielder Yohan Cabaye, "Yohan Kebab".
Arguably, worst of all, was Kinnear's reflection on Newcastle's fans. "Some are talking out of their backsides, a load of tosh," he said. "I'm not accepting it, as simple as that. I have certainly got more intelligence than them, that's a fact."
Rather than rendering his new role untenable, Kinnear was formally installed a few minutes before noon. If Mike Ashley, Newcastle's owner, who apparently thrashed out a deal with the club's former manager at the Orange Tree pub in Totteridge, north London, last week, remained undaunted, others saw things differently. The Newcastle Evening Chronicle's front-page headline read "What a Joke".
As fans threatened to boycott games and surrender season tickets, Chi Onwurah, the MP for Newcastle Central and a keen supporter of the team, summed up the general mood of bewilderment, albeit expressing her feelings rather more politely than most. "It does seem that Ashley moves in ways more mysterious than the Almighty," she said.
In a club statement which, significantly, lacked any input from Pardew the club said Kinnear – who managed Newcastle for five months during the 2008-09 season before suffering serious heart problems – had signed a three-year contract and would report directly to the board as the senior executive in charge of all football related matters. "Graham Carr and Alan Pardew will report into Joe," it declared in a politically loaded sentence which not only emphasised that Kinnear is now the most powerful football figure but also undermined Pardew's authority.
Although he is said to be "relatively relaxed" about this latest development, Newcastle's manager now finds himself in a position where he is answerable to Kinnear, with Carr, the influential chief scout whom many regarded as a de facto director of football, in the same situation.
While Carr rather than Pardew always had the final say on transfers, the latter retained sole responsibility for first-team matters, including style of play.
This is a sphere in which he is determined that Kinnear – who claimed they were due to meet for lunch on Tuesday– will not be allowed to interfere. Should the former Tottenham full-back and Wimbledon manager try to dictate such matters, Pardew could construe it as a breach of contract on Newcastle's part. He is understood to have been a little taken aback by Kinnear's insistence that the director of football will not only be responsible for incoming transfers but will also decide which players should be shipped out.
Kinnear is due to move into his new office at the training ground on Thursday and expects to travel to Portugal with the senior squad for a pre-season training camp next month. By then he hopes to have made some signings, with FC Twente's Brazilian defender Douglas high on his shopping list.
"The board is pleased to welcome Joe back," said Llambias. "Joe has many years of experience working within the game and this experience will be of great benefit in achieving our objectives over the coming seasons."
Meanwhile Freddy Shepherd dubbed Kinnear "ridiculous" before predicting that the new arrangement could end in tears. "I certainly wouldn't have let him into Newcastle because I would have got rid of him before he got there," said the club's former chairman. "It's ridiculous what he's been saying, it really is. There's something that isn't right here. There's only one man who can make this marriage work and that's Alan Pardew. I think he will be manager at the start of the season but I am not sure he will be at the end. If it doesn't work, Pardew will be off."