It hasn’t gone unnoticed that Newcastle United and indeed Aston Villa have dropped into the second tier.

Two big name clubs fallen on hard times and many people having a laugh at their expense.

This week saw the live TV games announced up until the end of September and in the opening two months, Villa feature five times and Newcastle four.

One interesting aspect is that Sky Sports are using Newcastle United in a very specific way.

NUFC are being used to launch the Championship season on Friday 5 August when United visit Fulham, then after that the three live games are in the 5.30pm Saturday afternoon slot.

There are only five of these slots (5.30pm Sat) in the opening two months and the other two featured matches are Derby v Aston Villa and Birmingham v Sheffield Wednesday (both matches also featuring big name clubs).

This 5.30pm Saturday slot is the real battle ground, with Sky Sports’ Championship coverage going up against BT Sport live Premier League games in direct competition.

After so many Newcastle fans feeling used and abused by Rupert Murdoch over the years, it is ironic that when dropping into the Championship he sees an even bigger use for Newcastle United.

On 27 August NUFC v Brighton goes up against Hull v Man Utd.

The 10 Sept has Derby v NUFC taking on Liverpool v Leicester.

Whilst 24 Sept is Villa v NUFC challenging Arsenal v Chelsea.

So many ‘big clubs’ in the Championship and no disrespect but would your average neutral be more interested in Hull v Bournemouth or Newcastle v Leeds (if you’re over 30 anyway!)?

The one thing Newcastle fans should be grateful for is that the televised live game battle is taking place over the Saturday teatime slot, rather than a Sunday lunchtime.

Newcastle will continue to be newsworthy but in Rafa we trust that in every way the coverage will be positive.