Newcastle fans were still at the hopeful/honeymoon stage when 23 September 2015 came around last season.

Supporters were never ever convinced about Steve McClaren but once he was appointed we all just got on with it.

On the back of no wins in the first six league games and defeats in the last three Premier League matches, it is remarkable just how restrained the ‘deluded’ Newcastle fans were as almost thirty four thousand of us paid to get into St James Park.

The game was in the third round of the League Cup and the opposition Sheffield Wednesday.

Whilst the visitors left out 10 first team players and kept only one in from the side that played the previous game in the Championship, Newcastle played this starting eleven:

Krul, Janmaat, Lascelles, Williamson, Mbemba, Sissoko, Anita,Wijnaldum, Thauvin, Obertan, De Jong

Seven full internationals, a team costing over £60m to assemble, one shot on target in the whole game.

Yes, Newcastle managed one attempt on target against Sheffield Wednesday reserves and only two corners, whilst the visitors had four of each.

Maybe the most worrying thing was that it wasn’t a case of an Alamo type of situation, where an inspired goalkeeper has a once in a lifetime game.

The possession was only 52%/48% in Newcastle’s favour and you have to seriously look at the character of those players who were on the pitch that night.

Two of those (Williamson and Obertan) are already on their way with no doubt others to follow but it is a big reminder that this descent into the Championship is not going to be any kind of a stroll for Newcastle.

Maybe the biggest challenge for Rafa Benitez is to sort out which of the current squad have the right character/attitude to succeed in the competitive 46 match Championship season.

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