Less than 12 months ago, Mike Ashley promised trophies.
Instead we got turmoil.
Rafa Benitez simply ran out of time at Newcastle United.
Benitez didn’t have time to unpick the mess he inherited in March when he succeeded the sacked Steve McClaren.
It wasn’t all McClaren’s fault.
It was also the fault of the man who appointed McClaren, a good coach with a questionable managerial record.
And it was the fault of the players who let the club down.
Ashley must take ultimate responsibility.
This once-proud club has been run into the ground over the past few years.
Even a spend of almost £80million in the last two transfer windows couldn’t plug the gaps that had widened year by year under Ashley’s ownership and Charnley’s leadership.
And a sizeable chunk of that money was spent badly.
Fundamental flaws in the club’s recruitment policy were never addressed by Ashley and managing director Charnley.
Fans could see this coming, even if Charnley couldn’t. Back in February, Charnley was asked at a Fans Forum meeting if the club was “in a crisis?”.
The minutes of the meeting read: “The club disagreed, but understands its current league position and acknowledged it was very disappointing.
“The club appreciates the work required to move up the table, and remains confident that it will remain in the Premier League at the end of the season.”
That confidence wasn’t shared by supporters, who felt McClaren should have been sacked sooner.
Sunderland, agonisingly, sent Newcastle down.
But the club only has itself to blame.
United won’t be playing Championship football next season because of Sunderland. They will be in English football’s second tier because of Ashley and Charnley’s mismanagement.
The penny-pinching of the past few years has cost the club tens of millions of pounds.
Pound for pound, Newcastle are the worst club in the league.
United, unquestionably, deserved to go down.
But the club’s fans don’t deserve it.