Of the near 11 years in which Mike Ashley has owned the club, Newcastle United have flirted with relegation three times, been relegated twice, and spent two seasons plying our trade in the Championship. The net outcome being that we have had only had four seasons of relative “comfort” in over a decade.

The current season is looking like another one where relegation will very much be a possibility and a topic of debate, but if the previously unthinkable were allowed to happen for a third time, it really could be the beginning of the wilderness years for the club.

Before anyone pipes up with “haven’t we heard this before?”, allow me to explain…..

The first relegation was undoubtedly caused by the, frankly, idiotic way in which the club was organised. We had blokes with strange job titles, signing players from YouTube videos without the consent of the manager, followed by the appointment, stepping down and re-appointment of a man who is to football management what a leech farm owner would be to modern medicine. Along with a final panic appointment of the club’s greatest ever player into his first ever management position, with virtually no time to save the sinking ship.

However, we had players of some world fame, players of true ability and proven international calibre, players such as Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka, Habib Beye, Sebastien Bassong and Damien Duff, to name just a few.

We were relegated, they were sold or left, and a big fat transfer surplus was gained. The following season we found our new Geordie number 9, he helped to fire us out of the second tier of English football with some comfort.

The second relegation was a real freefall shambles, presided over in the dugout mainly by a man who had the cunning talent of never questioning his place in the food chain. Once again we had players of international renown such as Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Janmaat and Cisse who were once again sold to provide a substantial transfer surplus when the inevitable happened, despite (once again) appointing a manager far too late to save us from the trapdoor into the second tier.

The commonalities of the two recent relegations are that we have had players to sell of a value which allowed us to spend above our relative means and to keep the club more than solvent, and able to compete at the very top end of the Championship.

If a third relegation was to occur this season, how much money could we raise from our current saleable assets, whilst still keeping the nucleus of a team to gain promotion, and keeping the books in the black?

Obviously our Captain, Lascelles, would command a decent fee but beyond him who else is there? The top calibre of player in our squad, aside from Lascelles, is arguably Shelvey, Ritchie and Merino, who would all struggle to command £10m a piece on current form from a relegated side, having only shown glimpses of being good top level performers.

If that was the case then there would be no transfer surplus, no major squad overhaul apart from lessening the quality further, and a real struggle to come back would ensue.

The first relegation comeback was a cakewalk, the second was much tighter but never really in doubt from the halfway point of the season, a third might be a stretch too far.

The sad fact is that with every season spent either fighting relegation, or playing at a lower level, the quality of our squad gets ever worse and we are slowly becoming a Championship club in more ways than just the playing squad, the mentality and outlook of the club gets cheapened also.

Everything about the club is becoming a bit bargain basement, a bit pound shop, a bit (dare I say it) Sports Direct. My firm belief is that now more than ever we need to avoid this relegation, whether Ashley sells up or not he certainly seems much less inclined to invest in the club these days, to the point that I would take any major investment in January as the biggest green light so far that the takeover will happen.

Obviously investment in January, if the takeover is moving forwards, will be an issue of contention as to who supplies the funds, and what recompense can be expected from any agreed sale price or relegation. To use a house sale metaphor, it’s like selling your house but being asked by the buyer to carry out some much-needed construction work prior to sale. If you want to sell “as is”  then the price should reflect that, if the buyer is insisting on having important structural work done before they buy then the price should reflect that, and these should be a “guarantee to buy” if you are being asked to spend your money on something you don’t want to.

It seems plainly obvious to me that the future of the club now has two distinct paths ahead of it, the first of which being that we carry on with the current owner and see the club get smaller and weaker every season, until it drops into the relative obscurity now being endured by “them down the road”.

Or the buyout goes through and we roll the dice with new ownership. We can’t carry on as we have been, so given the choice I’ll gladly take my chances with a new regime.

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  • TheNutJob

    Doomed, if we don`t buy

  • Leazes Ender

    Well ‘wrecking Ball’ Ryder is in the process of demonizing our current best player Shelvey… and it’s on the cards that Mitrovic is away so anyone coming in better have credentials.

    If the third relegation under the Chelsea supporting owner does happen then I doubt we’ll climb out of that pit for a long time….

    The takeover better happen before Rafa’s date 20th Jan….. that would give him under a fortnight to try and upgrade this squad.

    • robbersdog

      A takeover can’t happen before 20th Jan – the Premier League takes a minimum of 30 days to do their ‘fit and proper person’ test and rubber-stamp takeovers.

      If Staveley does purchase the club, I think we’re looking at the back end of the season before everything is actually signed off.

      But I agree with you about a third relegation; we’d be absolutely f*cked.

      • TheNutJob

        bad news guys, the chrons reporting that the toon are after 2 strikers, 1 from the Swiss league & 1 from France.
        is the ghost of Carr still here ?

        • robbersdog

          I’ll be happy if they’re an upgrade on Joselu!

          • TheNutJob

            that won`t be difficult

        • HarryHype59

          It still haunts SJP and will do so until the entity that is Ashley is exorcised!

        • Viru leckworth

          There will be at least half a dozen other rumours. How many will materialise? Over to you.

      • Leazes Ender

        You mean Ashley was subjected to a ‘Fit and Proper’ assessment and passed?

        There’s no such ruling ….is there? Looking at the assortment of Dictators, Oligarchic narcissists it can’t be much of a test.

        Shearers latest comments are that the takeover may have taken place already and no declaration made in order to purchase players at a lower price, or to stop a hike….. its possible.

        • HarryHype59

          Hope so!

        • FatParosite

          I think that is a likely scenario. Only the formal registration with the FA would need 30 days to complete. This could be officially rubber stamped after all the financial agreements (that might have already taken place) have been made. It would make sense to hold back the news of the agreement to be assured of less politically motivated player sales. One thing is for sure, Ashley will be holding ashes if he pulls back from the deal.

  • Rich Lawson

    ”Go ask Amanda,when she’s ten feet tall”

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    Yep… no more player assets to strip. Club has to be worth 40m less than now after a drop – and even more if Rafa walks.

    • HarryHype59

      £125 million less according to PCP.

  • Soldier

    how much is in the bank, at a stretch it`ll be that and maybe the income generated by selling players. the cracks will be papered over & the manager told to soldier on. as for the takeover, anything could happen on that front

  • HarryHype59

    The current value of the club derives mainly from the EPL TV money. Without that the club is worth 60% less. That’s why no one has matched the fat ones valuation.

    If this club is relegated again welcome to NUFC, the wilderness years!

  • John reilly

    Not sure how this can help Newcastle , but the use of leeches is a legitimate medical practice ,

    • Danimal

      Sadly, we’ve just had the one for the last ten and a half years.

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Can we stop these articles? We can’t keep re-writing history, we didn’t have a good side in 2006-7, we managed to avoid the drop but we were a poor aging side and the club had run out of money in order to patch up the mess.

    The headline signings of past-their-best players who’d come for a payday had to end.

    The situation now is that this transfer window will be conducted on an understanding that the takeover will be completed. Both parties, Ashley and the PNO have agreed a budget and Rafa will get to present his targets (this process started in September) . The premier league will be notified in the New year and barring a serious problem or a dangerous slump in form, we’ll have a new owner before the end of February.

    • Danimal

      Yes Notts, stop being beastly to Bobbi’s friend, nice Mr Ashley. Anyway, for those of us who don’t really enjoy the current regime, your article highlighted how we are doing the opposite of previous yo-yo clubs like WBA and Burnley. They went back down, kept a nucleus of a squad, then used the PL money to gradually strengthen each time they came back up. Eventually they became PL regulars. We are gradually diminishing the nucleus each time we go down, making it more difficult each time we come back up. Eventually we will be EFL regulars. Genius.

    • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

      Sadly history does repeat itself particularly if you are a certain Mike Ashley. The same cyclic patterns of behaviour are clear for all to see. I hope we’re not relegated but without investment it’s odds on.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        How much investment? £30m of new faces?

  • Joe Cosgrove

    You’re being unfair to leech farmers. Leeches continue to have useful roles in modern medicine

  • mactoon

    Over the years the quality of the squad has been whittled down until we have a squad who gained promotion from the Championship but struggled along the way. If this squad takes us down to the Championship again I doubt we have the quality to get back up. It all depends what happens during the January window. invest and stay up, don’t invest and probably relegation with a hard struggle to get back up.