Alan Shearer sat and watched Saturday’s match alongside Air Alex Ferguson.
The Newcastle legend had travelled to Augusta to escape the misery of watching NUFC and instead enjoy the US Masters – but there is no hiding place for Newcastle United fans at the moment.
Sir Alex Ferguson was also out in America watching the golf and sitting with Alan Shearer, the former Manchester United boss saying that he wasn’t surprised at the position Newcastle find themselves in now.
So many reasons for the disaster unfolding at St James Park and of course it all flows down from Mike Ashley at the top.
Alan Shearer pointing out the club’s disastrous transfer policy that has seen players recruited who don’t have the necessary character or fight.
With Shearer pointing out the best example of Ashley’s transfer strategy – the fact that Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor are still playing for Newcastle, some seven years after they were in the last Newcastle team to be relegated.
The staggering decision to give Coloccini a new contract, surely one of the massive warning signs that we all hoped didn’t point to where we feared we were heading this season.
Sissoko and Wijnaldum were totally anonymous at Southampton, as they are 95% of the time, with Shearer pointing out that fact, as well as Mitrovic not getting a kick and the defence being worse than useless.
Only Villa have conceded more goals than Newcastle and with a game in hand on the bottom team, you wouldn’t put it past United overtaking them with only three goals (Newcastle 61 conceded Villa 64) separating them.
The defence of course has been shocking ever since Newcastle returned to the Premier League, with the possible exception of the first half of the 2011/12 season when they went on to finish fifth.
Out of nine players bought in the last two transfer windows only one was a defender and none were brought in during January, instead Newcastle bringing in a striker (Doumbia) and midfielder (Saivet) who can’t even get on the bench!
Alan Shearer writing for The Sun:
‘If Newcastle are going down, they could at least go down with a fight.
At Southampton on Saturday they showed no fight at all until it was obvious they could not win.
They were hopeless for the first 45 minutes and by the time they did improve slightly in the second half, it was already too late.
Some of the other guys I was sat with were actually saying Newcastle have some decent players.
Have they? At the moment it is hard to name them because all I saw on Saturday was Georginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko go missing again away from home, Aleksandar Mitrovic barely touch the ball and another shambolic defensive display.
Sir Alex Ferguson was also with me watching the match.
It was great to be sat there with him — we reminisced and had a few laughs about the ‘old days’.
But it was just a shame we had to watch my old club put in such a weak performance.
Even Sir Alex was saying how sad it is for him to see Newcastle down at the bottom.
He knows just how big a club they are and what football means to the area, with 52,000 die-hard Geordies turning up each week.
But he also admitted he is not surprised at Newcastle’s plight. And let’s face it, we’ve all seen it coming.
Those that have been brought in at Newcastle have either not been good enough for Premier League football or not been up for the challenge.
You need characters that are going to fight. You need players that are going to roll up their sleeves and have a right good go.
It says it all that Steven Taylor, who was hooked at half-time at Southampton, and Fabricio Coloccini, who was playing every week before his injury, were two of the centre-halves I had as manager when we were relegated in 2009.
That alone tells you that centre-half is a position that has not been properly addressed in seven years.
The worry is, if they do go down, would they have enough characters to get back up? There are so many big clubs now in the Championship that promotion would not be the stroll it was in 2010.
Newcastle have flirted with relegation in recent years and got away with it — just like Sunderland and Aston Villa.
So this has been on the cards for some time now. The writing has been on the wall.’