Just two days after angry Newcastle fans demanded change at the top during the Magpies' crushing 3-0 defeat to rivals Sunderland on Tyneside, it was announced Kinnear had quit.
The controversial 67-year-old has been criticised ever since he accepted owner Mike Ashley's decision to take on the role last June.
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But the defeat to Sunderland less than 24 hours after a frustrating January transfer window closed for Newcastle supporters proved the tipping point.
A Newcastle statement issued just after 11pm 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."
Fans have blamed Kinnear and Ashley for the failure to strengthen Alan Pardew's squad for the remaining months of the season after a promising start to the campaign.
The sale of key midfielder Yohan Cabaye last week to Paris St Germain for a reported £20m was seen as a real blow to Pardew's squad.
But Newcastle were expected to bring in a replacement only for Kinnear and the boardroom to fail with attempts to land Lyon's Clement Grenier and Montpellier's Remy Cabella.
There have been suggestions that former managing director Derek Llambias could be an option to come back in to provide the link between Ashley and the manager.
But it is Kinnear's departure which will be seen as a positive step by the Newcastle fans who have always been unhappy with his appointment.
And former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer said: "I always say nothing should surprise you in football particularly with Newcastle.
"I was surprised in the first place particularly the way it was announced whew Joe announced it on the radio and got all of those names wrong and had been out of the game for so long.
"It was a strange appointment in the first place. When you sell your best player as they did three days before the deadline you have to have a plan and someone ready to come in.
"There was talk about Cabaye going to PSG anyway so there must have been a plan there whether that was Newcastle’s way of saying he didn’t do his job or he didn’t bring players in we are not sure. I hope it is not ill health but I am not sure what his job was anyway.
"There is only one guy who can sign the cheques and that is the owner. If Mike does not sign any cheques then the manager and director of football have got their arms tied.
"On Saturday there was no fight, no heart and it was as poor as I have seen for a long time and they were lucky to get away with 3-0.
"It was a really nasty atmosphere at St James’ Park and I am sure a lot of that anger was vented at Joe. It wasn’t a popular appointment."
Kinnear's return to the club he officially managed for five months between September 2008 and May 2009 got off to the worst possible start when he pronounced a number of the team's players' names wrong in a radio interview.
And he never won over any of his doubters because of a failure to give the Newcastle squad a significant boost in personnel.
Kinnear did not make one permanent addition to the first team squad during his time as director of football and his only acquisitions were the loan signings of Loic Remy and Luuk De Jong.
There have been mutterings around St James' Park that something would have to change following the Sunderland debacle on Saturday, which saw the Black Cats beat Newcastle for the third time in a row for the first time since 1923.
Newcastle's situation could have suffered a further blow yesterday when two more clubs did their best to sign £8m-rated Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse before the Turkey transfer deadline.
Turkish club Trabzonspor made a fresh approach in a bid try to land Cisse but there was no agreement reached and he remains part of the Newcastle squad.
Then sources in Istanbul claimed Fenerbahce tried to broker a deal before the Turkish transfer window closed at 11pm after identifying the former Freiburg man to fill the void left by injured pair Emmanuel Emenike and Pierre Webo.
Pardew is understood to be keen to avoid another player leaving before the end of the season, but it is understood that a more attractive offer will arrive from Russia before the end of this month for him to deal with.
The Russian transfer window remains open until February 27 and Rubin Kazan have the financial clout to seriously tempt the Newcastle boardroom in to selling – and there has already been contact made.