The penny has somewhat belatedly dropped for Mike Ashley with the latest threat of missing out on the ever burgeoning pot of TV gold.

But his next act could unwittingly turn Newcastle United back into a real, living/breathing football club once again.

With the club sleepwalking into the abyss of relegation the Board we are told were still reluctant to replace McClaren, showing just how far they are prepared to save their own face and ‘reputations’.

After all, these are the persons responsible for appointing McClaren but are now apparently ‘seeking with due diligence’ to source a replacement, only after being told enough is enough from above though.

Hopefully more diligence will be shown than that used when appointing McClaren in the first place? Or when deciding John Carver was capable of overseeing the club?

It really doesn’t bode well does it?

So with the Board dithering, without McClaren this time it appears they have thankfully been overruled by the Fat Controller himself possibly with a shove from PR ‘guru’ Keith Bishop.

Has this put an end to the lunatics running the asylum?

Ashley has imposed a rigid control over the club and there has only ever been a puppet as a manager, ever since Keegan decided to walk.

Steve McClaren was only the right man for the job in the sense of meeting Ashley’s criteria of a Head Coach and being a yes man. An Alan Pardew given a quick shoe shine.

I was willing to give McClaren a chance and give it time to see just how we conciliated throughout the coming transfer windows as promised.

After all, it was perfectly obvious Ashley wasn’t going to appoint the likes of the names bandied around at the time; Klopp, De Boer and ironically, Benitez.

So what makes the situation any different this year, after all we have been embroiled in a relegation battle of sorts almost ever since the high water mark of the 2011/ 12 season?

The stance Ashley has taken has shown some signs of softening ever since his road to Damascus style trip to the Sky cameras before last season’s finale and crunch match against West Ham.

Firstly, actually making a decent outlay on new players and secondly (due to the insistence of McClaren?) and just as radically – buying British, and England internationals at that!

Unfortunately, the mistakes of the Summer continued and defensive and goal scoring frailties were again not addressed, exacerbating the sorry mess we thus find ourselves in.

Will Ashley’s next step, albeit because his hand is forced, be even more radical?

By conceding defeat that his Carr journey has led him to a dead end and conceding control to a proper football manager with their own vision and thoughts about how about to implement it?

A big ‘if’ stands in the way, will Mike Ashley really countenance such a departure from the norm? Additionally, will a new manager now have the time to save the team’s Premiership status?

But we need no reminding of the impact that a new manager can make on a relegation struggle. Our ‘neighbours’ have used that tactic successively, with us on the receiving end of a morale boasting result which have kept them afloat each time.

Maybe it’s time we gave them some of their own medicine.

If the rumours are correct and the club are now in the process of convincing Rafa Benitez to take charge, let us pray that they do so because he would be a godsend to us right now.

Out of all the contenders you’d reckon he would be the one to have the quickest impact and consequently give us the best chance of survival.

He could also be the manager all the current playing staff would actually respect and play for too.

The other touted candidates fall into being more suited to longer term rebuilding projects like Moyes and Rodgers, or the disasters waiting to happen a la Harry Redknapp, or the potentially explosive Pearson.

The winds of change seem set to blow across St James Park once again and you sense as a supporter that there will never be a better chance to have the likes of Rafa Benitez as our manager, whilst this current regime remains.

Mike Ashley’s greed in his panic to save his stock, might actually be the making of the club for once.