Joe Kinnear sensationally quit as Newcastle United’s director of football in a move which will stun the club and delight its supporters.

His resignation ends a farcical seven months at St James’ Park and will allay fears among Newcastle fans that he would return for a second stint as manager.

The club issued a statement at 11.01pm which read: ‘Newcastle United can confirm that Joe Kinnear has this evening resigned from his position as Director of Football with immediate effect. The Club will be making no further comment.’

The shock move must strengthen the position of manager Alan Pardew who was left to justify Newcastle’s failure to land a permanent signing in the January transfer window after Sunderland’s 3-0 win at St James’ Park on Saturday. Chief scout Graham Carr, whose success in the French market has shaped the Newcastle squad in the last two years, is also staying on unaffected.

During the game Newcastle supporters again turned on Kinnear and Ashley, mocking the director of football with chants of ‘where’s your signings Joe Kinnear?’ Neither men were at the game.

Last week Newcastle failed to signed a direct replacement for Yohan Cabaye who left St James’ Park in a £20million move to Paris St Germain last week. Newcastle tried but failed with inquiries for midfielders Clement Grenier form Lyon, Montpellier’s Remy Cabella and Benfica’s Filip Djuricic.

Kinnear signed a three-year deal when he was appointed last summer by owner Mike Ashley following the departure of managing director Derek Llambias.

He was put in charge of the club’s transfers but signed only Loic Remy on loan from QPR in the summer window. Only Holland striker Luuk de Jong was signed in another loan deal from Borussia Monchengladbach in January.