Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has insisted he is still the boss after a turbulent close season.
The 51-year-old returned to work last week having seen Joe Kinnear installed over his head as director of football in his absence following last season's difficulties. Owner Mike Ashley's decision to appoint Kinnear did not go down well with fans, and while Pardew has indicated he is ready to work with the 66-year-old Irishman, he has left little room for doubt as to how he sees their respective duties.
He told the club's official website, www.nufc.co.uk: "As the manager of the football club - which I am - I think it's very, very important that the fans and the players know that I am managing this football team. That's my contract and that's what I'm going to do."
The announcement which confirmed Kinnear's arrival described him as "the senior executive in charge of all football-related matters", although Pardew has very definite ideas about his role.
He and chief scout Graham Carr have already held a series of discussions with the former Wimbledon boss, who is currently away on a pre-arranged holiday, over the club's summer recruitment plan, and the manager is hoping he will now set about the task of bringing in the players he wants.
Pardew said: "Obviously there has been a change above me in that [managing director] Derek [Llambias] has now left the football club, and I want to thank him for the job he did here.
"He was terrific for me and the team, and now we have Joe Kinnear in that role, and I hope Joe can influence Mike to a degree and we can bring in some great players here. Me and Graham will put them there and hopefully Joe can get them over the line and if that's the case, then hopefully we will have a good scenario out of all this bad publicity that we have had."
Pardew will be happy to get back to football after the events of recent weeks, and is already focussing on a significant improvement following last season's unexpected and at times unseemly fight against relegation.
He said: "The most important thing is we have a successful season because last year, we didn't. The huge jump we made the year before impacted on that a little bit in the Europa League.
"But we have got a full programme of Premier League football and two cups, and I think we have the squad to have a really good season - and hopefully we can improve on that squad too. I have had a really nice break, managed to get some quality time with my family, and I can't tell you how motivated I am for the new year."