Three clubs in the relegation zone and Newcastle United are one of them.

Rock bottom and five points already from safety, Sunderland only above on goal difference and Aston Villa one point better off.

By the new year maybe we’ll all be looking back and laughing about how bleak things seemed by mid-October and how could any Newcastle have doubted that Steve McClaren and his players would get it right.

After all, Alan Pardew fluked it last season with that bizarre five match winning run amongst a sea of despair and mediocrity.

None of us can predict the results but the TV broadcasters have at least let us know which matches they will be showing live for the rest of this calendar year.

Nothing changes, Newcastle United will have been shown 11 times by the time we are all hoping for a better year at midnight on December 31.

As per last season and pretty much all that have gone before, the TV companies can’t get enough of us, certainly it isn’t success on the pitch or talent on show that keeps them coming back for more…and more.

To put it into perspective, our current relegation challengers will have been shown live four (Sunderland) and five (Villa) times by the time the end years, meaning Newcastle are on two more times than the other two clubs put together (one each of their live matches is against Newcastle…).

This isn’t a case of oneupmanship and suggesting Newcastle United are more important than Villa or the mackems (though of course we are…).

It is instead simply more evidence of why Newcastle shouldn’t be struggling down there.

The TV broadcasters show Newcastle because we have more fans willing to pay for the privilege than the other two, plus more neutrals willing to tune in because they have an interest in what happens to NUFC.

They also of course want to show stadiums that are full, which St James Park more or less is still (which of course is the main reason why we were landed with Mike Ashley), at least for the time being.

Newcastle were the tenth best supported team in Europe last season, in the top 20 turnovers (19th in world – 7th in England) in the world and also rated one of the Top 20 clubs in terms of brand value.

Newcastle United garner more column inches than Sunderland and Villa put together but in many ways this just makes it so much worse, there is no escape from reading/hearing what all the (99% clueless) pundits, journalists and commentators are saying about our club.

NUFC being a big deal is really just a millstone around the necks of supporters, at least it is whilst the club is ran in such a ramshackle way by Mike Ashley, with no intelligent strategy as to how to make the club successful on and off the pitch.

Failure is always hard to take but so much harder when you aren’t allowed to quietly crawl away and curl up in a quiet corner.

As fans we all know how exciting and successful Newcastle United could be, if only Mike Ashley and his lackeys were interested in and capable of making it happen.

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