Back in the day when Derek Llambias was doing Mike Ashley’s dirty work, the party line was always that the club was working to a 5 year plan.

This was the stock answer when anybody pointed out whatever particular crisis was happening at that moment in time.

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As though this alleged grand plan had taken into account ‘temporary’ setbacks and was simply one step back before taking another few forward.

Then when all the stars were in line and every single bit of luck came United’s way, that fifth place finish in 2011/12 had Llambias and the rest of them preening themselves, the message being that this was vindication of everythig that had gone before.

The grand five year plan had worked and was even supposedly now ahead of schedule, a plan which bizarrely had even included the team getting relegated!

Moving forward to Alan Pardew being allowed to leave in December 2014.

A month was then spent/wasted pretending to try and bring in a new manager/head coach, fans seeing this as a cynical way of the club helping to deflect criticism of not bringing in new signings and indeed actually selling/loaning out players that weakened the squad even further.

Comically, Lee Charnley talked of having 8o applications, the implication being that this contained any number of strong candidates who would be great for Newcastle.

The punchline was then delivered, despite all these great potential managers applying and after scouring the world, Mike Ashley was giving the job to John Carver…

Those press who are close to the club were then happy to spin the line that this was actually a very fine move by the club, proof that they were looking long-term and had the right candidate lined up to do the job and by waiting to the summer this would mean Newcastle United would be in a much healthier place moving forward.

As time went on it became clearer and clearer that Steve McClaren was this brilliant candidate that Newcastle were waiting for. The fans were/are underwhelmed.

The same slavish press then in all seriousness reported that Newcastle would be appointing the new manager/head coach by the end of May, after the Championship play-offs.

Almost to a man they didn’t point out the sheer folly of Newcastle’s future depending on something was totally out of their hands.

Basically, the consensus was that if Derby failed to go up via the play-offs then Steve McClaren would be willing to leave Derby for Newcastle. If Derby did get promoted then….who knows what the cunning 5 month plan would then have to change to.

Of course Derby didn’t even make the play-offs, Newcastle then approached Steve McClaren to take over with immediate effect and he still said no!

Not a great candidate, an appalling plan and predictable disaster because of it.

John Carver has been a predictable nightmare and so far out of his depth, with Newcastle now serious candidates for relegation.

Mike Ashley’s cunning five year plan apparently included a relegation and now his five month one could well hold the same surprise.

Only at Newcastle.