The vast majority of the fans have seen the way Newcastle United was being run and knew that it was not right.

There were elements we agreed with, such as a focus on youth development and managerial stability, but glaring errors in both the execution of those as well as other areas meant it was never in with a chance of working.

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So with the obvious flaws, why then has it taken so long for everything to finally look to be falling apart?

The first reason is obvious, running a club as a high street store, buying low and selling high, is not a productive approach to a stable club, even when you have a long term manager.

Taking this approach means the overall quality of the squad then depletes and we are left replying on new players to work out immediately.  It has worked in the past, but sadly the latest crop of ‘talent’ hasn’t stacked up compared to those that came before.

The second reason and possibly the biggest one why we are struggling, is if you continue buying players just because they are cheap without addressing areas on the pitch that clearly require additions, then eventually it catches up with you.

We are seeing the fruits of this with a lack of first team defenders at the club, by my count we have one senior defender fit and able to play for the West Brom game while we have a huge roster of midfield players available.

Buying cheap is great if they work out, but they need to be in the right positions on the field, NOT just because they are available and represent a profit potential should they work out.

Thirdly, there has been the problem of papering over cracks for far too long.  Ashley has ridden his luck in the players he’s bought and sold (and not replaced) time after time.

Despite the flaws, the obvious problem areas, we have somehow managed to pull out results when needed which tended to give the pro-Ashley groups plenty of ammunition to say “see it works”.  But it isn’t.  It hasn’t been for a long time and a few good results here and there do not change the fact that things were eventually going to change…for the worse!

Lastly (at least for this list), as has been said before, our lack of youth development has really hindered us.  Being able to bring through young kids from the academy is crucial for a club that is unwilling to spend to bring in the amount of players required to produce a deep enough squad.

There is never any suggestion of expecting every player in the academy to turn into the next Beckham, Ronaldo or Messi.  However, there is a legitimate concern at how few players seem to even reach a standard that they can come into the first team and perform a job at any level.

Be it through recruitment of lower class talent, failure to develop them properly or even just a lack of first team opportunity for their progression, something is not right.

How different we may have been this season has we managed to develop the likes of Vuckic, Ferguson and others into stable squad players who could have come in and maybe not worked miracles, but at least made the squad stronger.

Like it or not, we seem to have finally hit the breaking point, where the initial influx of players under Ashley are beginning to run out and the cover they provided to Ashley’s flaws is dissipating and the cracks are starting to appear.

Surely Ashley can see that this master plan has worked so far by sheer luck and by characters in the dressing room that are now non-existent.  Something needs to change.  A different attitude by the whole club in which direction it is going.  We can’t afford to just paper over the cracks any more, positive action needs to take place at the highest level of the club to stop further sliding into obscurity.

It may have worked, but the glue holding the squad together has finally gone, the spackle over the cracks has failed to stretch far enough and the cracks are now too wide for this approach to work any longer.

Let’s hope changes are finally on the horizon or we could be in for a nothing season again next campaign.

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