I thought I’d check out the United squad and in particular the Newcastle defence, I wanted to check which players I’d forgotten about.

I hadn’t.

Sure enough, Newcastle currently have four fit defenders in Daryl Janmaat, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson and Massadio Haidara.

When you consider that one of those four is almost certainly the worst football player in the Premier League, then it isn’t exactly encouraging.

If Coloccini was knackered, or goes off on his annual mid-season holiday to Argentina, could you imagine the state of our centre of defence with Williamson and some makeshift partner?

If any further evidence were needed of just how desperate Mike Ashley is to squeeze every last penny out of the club, just look at what happened in January to the United defensive options.

Steven Taylor picked up an injury on the first day of last month that ended his season, yet Ashley still went on to sell Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, loan out Davide Santon, plus do the same with Remie Streete as one of the Rangers five.

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United’s defensive choice was already weak and yet the Newcastle owner is happy for United to lose a further four defenders for at  least the remainder of this season. Not even a loan player brought in because of course that would eat into the January window profits.

There is cutting things to the bone and then there is Mike Ashley taking his meat cleaver to what remains of the Newcastle United corpse.

The only other thing that has impacted on our defensive choices is Paul Dummett picking up a knee injury against Palace that will now keep him out for an unspecified period of time. The only other possible first team defensive option is Ryan Taylor and while he has done remarkably well to come back at all, there is absolutely no way you can put any possible reliance on his availability in the next few months.

So you can’t say we’ve suddenly had a desperate run of luck since Ashley made his decisions in January.

Some of you may say the problem will be addressed in the summer but even if some investment is made, we all know that Ashley will as usual leave the squad only two or three injuries away from the next crisis. Jamaal Lascelles can’t even get a game in the Championship for mid-table Forest so you would have to be an eternal optimist to think he will be a major help next season.

Whatever happens at the end of the season is one thing but another is that over forty thousand fans have committed their season ticket money to watch the team THIS SEASON and deserve far better than this cynical short-term dismantling of the squad for instant financial gain, no matter what commitment his ‘customers’ made last summer.

Indeed it is far worse than that because with the majority of fans on the long-term prize free direct debit scheme, they actually committed their money over a year ago, for what they are currently watching.

Mike Ashley is simply ruthless and laughing all the way to the bank, as well as laughing in the faces of supporters who show such blind loyalty to their club.