Monday saw the latest meeting of the NUFC Fans Forum at St James Park.

No sign of Steve McClaren at the meeting but club officials, headed by Lee Charnley, dismissed allegations that Newcastle United was in crisis.

Accepting that the club had failed this season as a higher league position was accepted, fans were told that survival would be achieved thanks to the ‘quality in the squad’ as well as some of the 26 Premier League matches so far being ‘positive indicators’.

Asked about the clearly lopsided squad that Newcastle now have, with so few options up front and at the back – but loads of midfielders – the club claimed that the team had ”strong options in most positions’.

Extracts from the NUFC Fans Forum meeting minutes on Monday night (22 February):

Craig English (CE): “The aim at the start of the season was top eight but we’re miles away from it. Where does the club feel it has gone wrong this season?”

The club stated it is collectively reviewing all areas on an on-going basis in order to identify problems and learn from them. The club had previously stated it would not achieve all of its aims within two transfer windows but given its transfer activity to date, it absolutely accepted a higher league position was expected at this stage.

Paul Loughlin (PL): “With 12 games to go, is the club in a crisis?”

The club disagreed but understands its current league position and acknowledged it was very disappointing.

The club explained that the squad’s recent training camp in La Manga, Spain, was designed to help find solutions on the pitch in the final 12 games of the season. The camp was wholly focused on training and recovery, as well as a game.

The club appreciates the work required to move up the table and remains confident that it will remain in the Premier League at the end of the season.

David Maudlin: “What is that belief based on?”

The club believes the quality in the squad and some of the team’s performances this season are positive indicators, but acknowledged that performances had not been consistent.

Craig English: “Do you not think the squad is a bit lopsided?”

The club reiterated its belief that the squad now has strong options in most positions, but did look to strengthen in other areas in January.