Alan Shearer believes that Newcastle United will stay up, just, but that is the only positive he can see for Newcastle fans at this moment in time.
He accepts that the current NUFC squad has heart but is seriously lacking in quality, with only the presence of Rafa Benitez set to help guide Newcastle to survival.
It might be by the smallest of margins at the end of the season but Alan Shearer believes that the Spaniard will perform a minor miracle in ensuring Premier League football on Tyneside for at least one more season.
However, with Mike Ashley continuing to undermine his manager, especially in the transfer market, Alan Shearer is almost as convinced that Rafa Benitez will say enough is enough this summer.
If only Mike Ashley put as much effort into supporting/backing Rafa as he does in trying to spread misinformation and misdirection in the media through his allies, such as the likes of Sky Sports who will give Ashley or his minions such as Dennis Wise, a clear platform to put out unchallenged propaganda into the public domain.
This is why, Newcastle fans should really count their blessings, that in Alan Shearer they have a brilliant asset in fighting their side in what is an unequal contest, with Mike Ashley using his wealth and influence to try and win the media battle on perception of what is happening at St James Park.
We do have other high profile people who generally fight the NUFC corner, Shay Given emerging as a regular now in the media.
However, there is only one Alan Shearer.
A Newcastle fan just like you and me – but one who is listened to and gets the platform to be able to answer and ridicule the Ashley PR machine.
As Alan Shearer illustrates, if Newcastle fans don’t see the back of Mike Ashley, then what hope is there for our club?
Alan Shearer talking to The Sun:
‘If Newcastle fans trust my judgement then I have good news.
We are staying up. Just! It will be tight and may even come down to goal difference but I firmly believe we will do it.
I saw the draw at Palace and there is no lack of fight and commitment among the players…but more crucially, we have a top class manager in Rafa Benitez.
Someone whose love of the Newcastle fans has kept him at the club through a tough time.
He will not desert the ship and let it sink but nobody could blame him given the lack of support he has had from the helm.
With the exception of attendances, there are no good stats where owner Mike Ashley is involved. The 52,400 that attend St James’ every week is not down to him either but a deep-seated loyalty which he will never understand.
Newcastle’s a very big club but one that in 11 years under Ashley, has a net transfer spend of £49million.
Benitez, meanwhile, had to scramble around getting players in on loan.
The hope generated by news of a possible takeover has disappeared. It is not going to happen. Ashley is holding out for more than is being offered up front and is gambling on a bumper new TV pay deal increasing the value of the club.
Meanwhile, Benitez works with what he has got — a team lacking in quality but not heart.
Newcastle will just have enough but it should never be about such fine margins.
Newcastle should be bigger and better than this but under Ashley we never will be.
Unfortunately, Benitez recognises it too and we will probably lose him at the end of the season.
Another huge chance has been missed.’