It would be easy to laugh at sunderland, in fact I do it quite often, but you have to acknowledge that they are flashing the cash.

The transfer fees they’ve paid for Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson do smack of desperation, the forward costing up to a reported £14m and the winger £10m, but Ellis Short has backed his manager.

We are way off panic stations at Newcastle but surely there is a massive case for Mike Ashley to give Alan Pardew every chance of pushing on.

We are in the dark as to the exact injury situation but there are doubts surrounding Ba, Tiote and Coloccini for the match at Chelsea. Scratch the surface and injuries in key positions exposes the lack of depth, certainly in terms of real quality.

Anita, certainly once he’s completely settled in, gives us extra quality in Tiote’s area but with Ba and Coloccini I think we would be having to shuffle the pack and just getting by, even though Perch has been playing at his optimum in recent times.

For my money a centre-back and a right-back (preferably Debuchy) should be essential buys, with another striker not far behind.

I saw a comment somewhere that we had plenty of depth at right-back with Simpson, Ryan Taylor, Perch and Tavernier, I think at times fans mistake numbers for quality.

I want to have a right-back who is as good as say Coloccini is in the middle, not just making do.

The situation reminds me a bit of the summer of 2003, Newcastle came off the back of a scintillating Champions League campaign and everybody was looking forward to more of the same.

Newcastle’s only new signing was Lee Bowyer on a free in that summer transfer window and the subsequent defeat by Partizan Belgrade in the Champions League qualifier was the end of our CL dreams and with hindsight, when Sir Bobby’s St.James’ Park adventure began to stall.

I’m not upset that we’ve ‘missed out’ on £14m Steven Fletcher but I will be if the Pardew revolution stalls because of a lack of sensible investment.

If you would like to feature like Alastair on our/your website, get writing, ‘The Blog’ is where we profile contributions from anybody who has something to say. Send in your opinions/hopes/fears(!)/articles and we’ll put them up on the website for everybody to enjoy.