It did take 168 days but eventually the cracks behind the scenes became public at Newcastle United.

Wednesday night brought an ‘exclusive’, stating that Steve McClaren was drawing a line in the sand, having confronted a number of senior players and telling them that they weren’t committed and didn’t care enough about the club.

The reports claim a stay of execution on the un-named (though most of us are making the same assumptions) culprits but a lot points to what happens at Selhurst Park on Saturday, not just the result but the performance as well.

To be honest, you would have to say that Steve McClaren has done a pretty good job in deflecting the criticism of both himself and especially the players, no doubt working with Sir Alex Ferguson has helped him when it comes to dealing with the press and making it a difficult target to land any blows on.

McClaren spoke of giving it 10 Premier League games before judging, then it was 12 matches and finally end of the season, but like all managers (head coaches…) it does eventually catch up with you a lot sooner than that.

In 15 matches we have seen a win against League Two Northampton, the most fortunate win you can imagine at Bournemouth, plus the madcap win over Norwich, despite the visitors scoring two and hitting the woodwork twice.

On the debit side, there were decisive defeats to Leicester, West Ham, Swansea, Watford, Sunderland, Manchester City and of course Sheffield Wednesday reserves.

At some point, somebody has to take responsibility.

It appears that Steve McClaren could wait no longer, you can cover up for some of the people (culprits) some of the time.

McClaren is an average manager with an average CV but clearly he has some players who think they are well above what he and Newcastle United have to offer.

In recent years there have been regular pronouncements that the Newcastle team/players are better than what they are showing and finally it is the last chance saloon for so many to show they at least have the self-respect to take the fight to Pardew’s Palace on Saturday.

Whether Steve McClaren will be last man standing remains to be seen.