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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Joe's Don roaming
Joe Kinnear
Joe Kinnear is the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday
Joe Kinnear is inextricably linked with the Crazy Gang era at Wimbledon, and their descent into the Nationwide First Division will have saddened him.

But it is an indication of his managerial ability and man-management skills that when Kinnear stepped down after a heart attack, it was the club who were unable to recover.

Fortunately, Kinnear is well again and looks set to return to management with Sheffield Wednesday, the south Yorkshire giants relegated from the Premiership with Wimbledon this season.

Kinnear, who played for the legendary Spurs manager Bill Nicholson, gained his first managerial experience when he worked under Dave Mackay in Dubai.
Joe Kinnear
Born Joseph Patrick Kinnear in Dublin on 27 December 1946
Played right back for Spurs from 1965 to 1975
Won 26 caps for the Republic of Ireland
Earned his coaching stripes under Dave Mackay in Dubai
Moved from reserve team coach to manager at Wimbledon in 1992
Suffered heart attack before game in March 1999

But his big break came when Bobby Gould offered him the post of reserve team coach at Wimbledon, where he eventually became manager in 1992.

Although he was unable to repeat Wimbledon's FA Cup Final victory of 1988, he took them to the semi-final of both domestic cup competitions and the brink of Uefa Cup qualification during his successful stint with the unfashionable south London club.

More than just staying in the top flight against the odds, Wimbledon prospered in the Premiership, frequently outdoing their richer rivals, as well as producing a steady flow of young talent.

Former Wimbledon owner Sam Hammam, one of Kinnear's most avid supporters, is in no doubt of his ability.

"As a manager he has a multitude of strengths," Hammam said.

His best ability is probably his tactical and technical knowledge. He's as good as anyone in that field

Sam Hammam

"He's also good at spotting the right talent and he's a great motivator."

It is all of these skills - especially his eye for a bargain and knowing how to get the best out of his players - that will serve Kinnear well if he takes the Hillsborough job.

Kinnear suffered a mild heart attack in March 1999 ironically at Hillsborough before Wimbledon were due to play Sheffield Wednesday.

Perfect choice

After taking time to recover and consider his options, he decided not to return to Wimbledon.

The club went into freefall without him and only just avoided relegation in the summer of 1999, but after a disastrous campaign under Egil Olsen this season the Dons were dragged down.

A fit-again Kinnear says he is "buzzing with ideas", and would seem to be an ideal choice for Sheffield Wednesday, a club alarmingly short on confidence and cohesion last season.

The Dublin-born Kinnear spent almost his entire career as a right back with Tottenham Hotspur.

He joined them from St Albans City in 1965 and stayed for 10 years before spending a season with Brighton where he won the last of his 26 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

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