THE chant in Leicestershire summed up the mood back on Tyneside.
As the clock ticked down towards another seemingly inevitable FA Cup defeat, the away end at the King Power Stadium snapped.
They’d seen enough.
“We’re ****, and we’re sick of it” was the chant from the 4,319 travelling fans.
Another year, another early FA Cup exit.
Newcastle United have now gone out of the competition at the third-round stage four times in the last five seasons.
It was followed by a call for Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to go.
The club, again, is drifting into a mid-table abyss, though some fear it could yet get dragged into a relegation battle.
There’s seemingly nothing left to play for bar Premier League safety, and United are 13 points off that target. It could be a long five months.
Saturday started with confirmation of Alan Pardew’s appointment at Crystal Palace with a curious Newcastle statement that won’t have gone down particularly well with the thousands of fans making their way down the country for this tie.
Managing director Lee Charnley seemingly celebrated a 10th-placed finish as he lauded Pardew’s achievements at St James’s Park.
Pardew himself admitted that last season was a disappointment. But the feeling among supporters is that for Ashley, a 10th-placed finish is something of a success.
Charnley’s quotes in the statement also included a misguided, but not surprising, dig at the media over its portrayal of the relationship between Pardew and Ashley.
Maybe if someone other than the manager – or head coach – spoke to the Press, then the club could genuinely complain about what it feels are misrepresentations in print.
United are again 10th in the Premier League – and out of both cups.
Assistant manager John Carver, put in charge on a temporary basis, had talked of naming his “strongest” team on the eve of the game, but the team, in truth, was weak.
That said more about the strength of Newcastle’s squad that Carver’s team selection.
Captain Fabricio Coloccini – who has played seven FA Cup ties in six and a half seasons at the club and hasn’t featured in the competition since 2012 – was left behind on Tyneside with an injury.
Moussa Sissoko and Daryl Janmaat also didn’t travel, while Ayoze Perez – who Carver felt had been left exhausted after the busy festive period – was rested.
It’s likely that all will be back for Saturday’s Premier League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a fixture which was always far less significant for those that follow the club up and down the country.
Without Sissoko and Perez, United are not the same team.
Jack Colback, also influential, travelled, but didn’t play, having failed a fitness test on the morning of the game.
Cheik Tiote, leading the team in the absence of Coloccini, was again out of sorts.
If Tiote is unhappy and wants a move, he’s not going to get one playing like this, as the midfielder looks a shadow of the player that once bossed games and caught admiring glances from elsewhere.
Maybe, just maybe, it would have been different had Remy Cabella’s first-half goal, rightly, been allowed to stand.
Cabella put the ball in the net in the 32nd minute after Adam Armstrong played him in with a clever backheel. The strike was disallowed for offside, though TV replays showed it should have stood.
Seven minutes later, Ulloa scored what would turn out to be the only goal, diverting a Matty James shot past Jak Alnwick off the underside of the crossbar.
Newcastle, in truth, never looked like getting back into the game, and they had Alnwick to thank for a couple of important saves.
Leicester were also ordinary, but Nigel Pearson’s side showed a spirit that United’s travelling fans felt was lacking in a visiting team which appeared to meekly accept its fate.
Carver, a passionate man who has served the club half of his life, ushered his players towards the visiting fans at the final whistle.
The 49-year-old and the team were booed by many fans as they went to acknowledge the support they had got during the game, played under a reddening sky.
After the game, Carver, clearly, was hurt by the result and the reaction to it.
The only positives to come from the tie were the debuts handed to Callum Roberts and Lubomir Satka.
Roberts and Satka, however, are for the future.
The present is what supporters care about, and right now they have precious little to look forward to between now and the end of the season.
The cups are not a “priority” for the club, but they are a priority for fans, who travelled to White Hart Lane in large numbers for last month’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
There were 4,319 reasons why the team that represented United – a club with a once-proud cup history – at the King Power Stadium should have put up more of a fight.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: ALNWICK 7; Santon 6 (Satka, 58, 6), Williamson 6, Dummett 6, Haidara 6; Anita 4, Tiote 3; Armstrong 6, Vuckic 5 (Roberts, 79), Cabella 5; Riviere 5. Subs not used: Woodman, Bigirimana, Gouffran, Gilliead, Campbell.
LEICESTER CITY: Hamer, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Cambiasso (Albrighton, 26), James, Knockaert, Nugent (Vardy, 70) Lawrence, Ulloa (Wood, 59). Subs not used: Smith, Simpson, Taylor-Fletcher, Mahrez.
Man of the match: Jak Alnwick. Kept United in the game.
Highlight: The backing from Newcastle’s 4,319 fans at the King Power Stadium. They deserved better, much better.
Lowlight: The meek acceptance on the field from an admittedly-weakened team of another early FA Cup exit.
Goal: Ulloa 39
Bookings: Haidara 18, Lawrence 49, Vardy 71, Tiote 82, Satka 90
Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton)
Attendance: 23,215 (4,319 Newcastle)