After yet another appallingly listless performance and heavy defeat on the road, many fans have started to question the manager’s (or head coach’s…) role and if we should be using the enforced break to appoint some new blood to hopefully get us back on track.

On the face of it, that may not seem like such a bad idea.

The simple facts are that a change of manager often results in a sudden charge of fresh vigour, renewed energy and an upturn in results, at least in the short-term.  But that is surely all we are wishing for now isn’t it?

A short-term fix to get enough points on the board to secure another top flight season and hope beyond hope that Ashley sees sense and spends some more of that TV revenue on some sort of defence?

But will sacking Steve McClaren, as unlikely as it is, really do anything for our current plight?

With 12 games to go, we are in danger of slipping into a four-way scrap for three places, only Bournemouth and Swansea’s results at the weekend saving us from staring at a large gap to that 5th from bottom spot.  Can a new man really affect THAT much change in such a short space?

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, Steve McClaren may have said to judge him on 12 games…not 12 games to go, so he is partly to blame for the pressure and the calls for his head.  Yes his tactics may leave a lot to be desired.  But can anyone come in and turn such a sorry looking group of players into something that is willing to fight for our top flight survival?

I suspect that many of our players will already be telling their agents to plan a way out rather than be looking to fight for the club, the fans and each other.

Even some master tactician and motivational genius would still be stuck fielding an understrength side, players pigeon-holed into strange positions, or playing when their own form deserves a place amongst the reserves.

A new face in the hot seat would still be staring a defence bereft of leadership and organisation, let alone skill and determination.  Our failure to bring in bodies to bolster the worst attack in the league is surely our biggest failing in the window.

Perhaps I’m being cynical but this has all the hallmarks of the fans being blamed for wanting that all-out-attack football from yesteryear, those Geordie fools clearly being unrealistic again.

For this writer though, the biggest thing a new face in the dugout would bring is not players putting effort in, tactical nous or sensible substitutions.  No, it is that it would rekindle something that seems long dead if the Chelsea game is anything to go by…that is belief.  Not just from players, but from fans as well.

I was shocked that such a lacklustre showing by those in black and white was met with such apathy, a feeling of acceptance that we are going down.  Previously, those games have been met with booing and derision…not so on Saturday.  Fans clapped the players off the pitch without a boo in earshot.

It was as if the fans had all but given up, going out with a whimper.

That is such a worrying sign for fans who have always supported the players, but with passion, now that passion has disappeared into a feeling of inevitability, even acceptance that nothing they do will make a difference anyway so why bother.

Whether you believe that Ashley is to blame, or McClaren has been dealt a raw hand, something needs to change.  The club needs a shake-up because right now we are slipping into the Championship without even putting up a fight.  That is disgraceful.

Maybe sacking McClaren won’t help.  Perhaps we will struggle to find anyone better who will be willing to come.  The one thing though is it would at least show some fight against what is fast appearing the inevitable.

But it needs to happen quickly if it is going to happen at all…to give the new man some time while we are on a break, not our usual effort of the wrong decision made at the wrong time for the wrong reasons!

Let’s at least have a go at staying up, let’s at least try and put a better man in charge for the final 12 games.  What have we to lose??

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