Relegation. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

The next few months will define Newcastle United’s longer term future for the next three or four years. What a massive period we’ve got coming up.

It’s pretty much the business end of the season – February through to May. The dash to the finishing line is on.

We’re standing almost at the point of no return. If the players, and management cannot pull clear of the Premier League drop zone then we’ll be on the end of a truly horrendous calamity.

Dropping down a division will not be as easy to come back from as the last outing.

The time for action is now. The time for a change of fortune is now. The time to make a run away from this silly dogfight is now.

Let’s not have this go down to the wire. Let’s not have that derby game on March 20 billed as a winner takes all relegation play-off.

There can be no room now for further slip-ups. The onus is on everyone at the club to pull together and make a fight of this mess.

If we do get relegated then the fall from grace will be epic.

Not only will the club miss out on a bumper TV contract, they’ll have to live with the ignominy of being demoted after a six year stay in the top flight.

The fans will suffer at the hands of the gloaters.

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If you thought 2009 was bad, this will be ten times worse. The whole city will feel the effects.

Players, many on large contracts, may not be willing to test their mettle in the second tier of English football. I won’t name names just yet, but relegation would surely prompt a turnover of as many as 15 or 16 first teamers. Now that’s one hell of a rebuilding job for any club, let alone ours, with Mr Charnley at the helm.

I wouldn’t like to think who will stick around if the worst comes to the worst and we succumb to the dreaded drop.

If we are to lose this survival fight then serious questions would have to be asked about Lee Charnley’s position, not to mention the manager, the chief scout and Mr Ashley himself.

What we have seen this month is fresh investment. This has created an uncomfortable truth for Steve McClaren, surely now an embattled manager, but one who has some decent tools at his disposal.

He now has two England internationals at his disposal in Shelvey and Townsend. No excuse. All they need now is a decent striker.

Steve McClaren’s room for manoeuvre has just about ran out. Either he starts to get his tactics and team selections right or the ship goes down.

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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