Was this summer’s transfer window the worst of the Mike Ashley regime?
Not enough signings, little to no money spent and an increasingly frustrated manager in Rafa Benitez, who has gone from seeing Newcastle United as his one and only future, to realising that he might have made the biggest mistake of his managerial career.
Only time will tell whether United have done enough this year to stay up, but what they have done is further strain relations with fans and a manager, worshipped and adored by the public.
A storm is brewing at St James’s Park and it is like no other.
Think the backlash when Kevin Keegan left was bad, if Benitez is forced out the reaction is unthinkable. Mutiny is in the air, of that there is no doubt.
So, where does this summer compare to other windows? Here we take a look at probably the five worst since Ashley bought the club...
Let’s start things off with this summer.
The business done, on the face of it, deserves some credit. Mikel Merino has a look of a young Xabi Alonso about him and Florian Lejeune, when fit, could proved to be the best £8million Newcastle have spent in years.
But the squad required major surgery this summer. It has nothing more than a touch up. And that’s just for starters.
Not only have the United hierarchy put the club’s immediate Premier League status at risk, they’ve also placed the medium to long-term future in even more doubt.
The top and bottom of this is that they’ve broken yet more promises. The lines of power may be clear but the trust between those at the top and the manager is now gone.
After January’s backtracking in the market, the summer had to be different. It wasn’t. It was worse.
While the deals done are far from anywhere near the worst in recent memory, the deals not done could well come back to haunt United.
Alan Pardew had just guided United to a quite brilliant fifth-placed finish, within a whisker of achieving a return to the Champions League after a nine year absence.
United looked like they were back in business.
But purse strings were tightened and players brought in were of a premium. Just Vurnon Anita, who turned out to be a solid servant on the club, was added to a squad which needed depth.
Well, Romain Amalfitano was brought in, so too Curtis Good and Gael Bigirimana. But they had negligible impact on first-team affairs moving forward.
This, due to circumstance, ranks as probably the worst summer window in recent memory.
For comparison, the business done the last time United were promoted makes for interesting reading.
The stand out signings were the loan capture of Hatem Ben Arfa, as well as the Cheick Tiote, who had an incredible first season or so in black and white.
Apart from that things were a bit ropey.
Sol Campbell was a high-profile flop, Dan Gosling never got close to living up to the promise shown earlier in his career and James Perch was an honest pro but a second tier footballer all the same.
Has this summer seen more quality added? Probably. But was the 2010 squad stronger anyway? Almost certainly.
Another summer where little to nothing happened for United.
Frustration reigned under Pardew as the Magpies again failed to significantly strengthen. The only addition of any note that year was Loic Remy. His goals proved vital for United that year, unlike the performances of Luuk de Jong, signed in the January window to provide support.
There’s a case to say the summer of three years ago was up there with one of the worst in Ashley’s tenure.
There were some positives - Ayoze Perez, Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow - but when flops were particularly bad. And also very pricey.
Having baulked at the money asked for now £52million striker Alexandre Lacazette, United brought in bargain basement striker Emmanuel Riviere from Monaco. Having remarkably found some one to take him off their books this summer, the club are finally rid of a player who ranks as probably the worst in United’s Premier League era.
Jack Colback, Siem de Jong and Remy Cabella, seen as shrewd business at the time, have hardly set the world alight either.
And Daryl Janmaat had one brilliant season, then chucked the towel in as United went down in his second campaign at SJP.