Never let it be forgotten which idiots were responsible for appointing Steve McClaren, John Carver, JFK…

Mike Ashley and his minions have so much to answer for and let’s hope that the rare moment of sanity in appointing Rafa Benitez isn’t wasted, as have been the odd other positives during Ashley’s nine year reign – failing to build on fifth position and the undermining of Kevin Keegan via Dennis Wise being two of the most glaring.

However, Steve McClaren, just when you think the bloke has scraped the bottom of the barrel, here he is off again.

Appearing on Sky Sports and sporting his usual daft grin, McClaren has cheerfully volunteered the fact that he and the rest of the Newcastle United brains trust, passed up the chance to bring in Lamine Kone on a free loan arrangement in January after a move to Sunderland had twice broken down.

Remember this is a Newcastle United who at the time were deep in relegation trouble with arguably the worst defence in the Premier League and the goals against column to prove that.

With Newcastle supporters crying out for new defenders and strikers to be bought in, instead Steve McClaren and the rest of the backroom dream team paid £30m for three players to play across the middle of the pitch, no new defenders, and the only new striker the last minute disastrous loan of Seydou Doumbia who hadn’t played for two months…make that an eventual eight months – give or take half an hour wandering around the pitch in a Newcastle strip.

After Newcastle failed to take up the option on Lamine Kone, Sunderland eventually made it third time lucky, with Lamine Kone almost certainly the factor that kept the mackems up.

He started 15 Premier League matches and Sunderland only lost three of them, whilst he scored two of the three mackem goals on the night they beat Everton and confirmed Newcastle’s relegation before the final weekend’s fixtures.

Now of course Everton are strongly reported to be set to pay £18m now for the defender who Sunderland paid out £5m for to French club Lorient only seven months ago.

Steve McClaren takes up the story appearing on Sky Sports today:

“We were talking about it earlier (Newcastle offered Lamine Kone in January) on the sofa, weren’t we, it was just something…£18m talking about (for Kone now)?

“Willie McKay was his agent I remember, in January he came to us and just sat down and said…

‘His (Lamine Kone’s) move to Sunderland has not gone through, he’s moved out, his move has broken down twice. The player is disillusioned and doesn’t know what to do, would you take him? Will you take him on loan, even a free loan – and things like that.’

“When we looked into it…it was just the wrong time really, it was coming to the end of the window and we had to make a quick decision and he couldn’t go through in time.

“Unfortunately for us, he went to Sunderland and helped them to stay up.”

As for running out of time…

27  January – Lamine Kone signs for Sunderland.

1 February – Seydou Doumbia signs for Newcastle.

Newcastle sold Mike Williamson in that January window, brought in no defenders, Chancel Mbemba left to single-handedly try and make up for the failings of Coloccini and Taylor, until Rafa arrived and gave Jamaal Lascelles a run in the team alongside Mbemba.

Travel Posters - Tyneside Prints