Newcastle United are not down... yet. There is a scenario in which they can save themselves, but it's going to require the Makems to drop both of their remaining matches and a victory against Spurs and is the stuff straight out of yet another chapter of the serial "Red-and-white escape by the skin of their teeth yet again Chronicles". But there is a chance... which is of course the most Newcastle United thing ever. They can't even relegate themselves in a timely manner. This last week of the 2015-16 Premier League season is the culmination of a long stretch of applied effort. As our friend Stewmanji pointed out in the comments of the sad.gif thread yesterday, this is our third year in a row in which our PL fate was up in the air into the last two matches of the season. After putting off a decision on Alan Pardew's replacement for 6 months by installing Working Class John Carver™ (and almost getting relegated), hiring a fired and failed Championship manager, delaying getting his backroom staff solidified until the second day of preseason training, arranging a last-minute tour of the US, and waiting until too late to remove a manager who was obviously taking us down there is no real surprise in our current situation. This is by far the most dire of the three situations, of course.
If Newcastle go down this season (which they most likely will... hypotheticals are fun and all, but c'mon), this will be the absolute worst year to have finally accomplished the mission of the last three years. After all the futzing about, avoiding any real, proactive decision (those kinds of things cost money, ya know) they finally brought in the finest pedigreed manager that has walked the Newcastle sideline since Sir Bobby Robson. And if we go down, he will walk having managed only 10 matches for the club. The failures of this club lay squarely on the board and non-football man Charnley who have continually surpassed the slight-by-comparison failings of previous Managing Director Derek Llambias.
The known problem of the Mike Ashley era at Newcastle United is that he has continually surrounded himself by cronies and friends. I had a boss back when I lived in Arkansas who told me "It's hard to fire a friend". His point was that in a contract-based service business that we were in, building relationships is important because if you slip up, it's harder to get fired. On the flip side is what Ashley has done at NUFC. Inept and under-performing friends were given far too much leeway when it became clear that they were not succeeding and/or qualified for their positions. The worst part of (probably) losing Rafa Benitez is that he is the first manager (outside of Chris Hughton, perhaps) who has understood several "home truths". The business model needed to change. The club couldn't alienate and blame the fans for the club's situation. He managed to draw performances out of a squad that his predecessor was given too much time with.
What really needs to happen at this point is that Rafael Benitez needs to be given one of those over-sized prize checks that is filled out with his name and the amount left blank. "Fill it in, mate. Whatever price. Just stay with us and fix our club." Underneath that should be a contract giving him explicit control over everything. "You can make whatever changes you deem necessary, Rafa. We'll (finally) step out of the way." The saddest truth in an era of sad truths is that this will not happen. Ashley's pride or obstinacy or whatever it is that causes his bad decisions won't allow it. So we'll lose the Premier League. We'll lose Rafa. At least, however, we'll be able to continue to bankroll Ashley's cronies.
Fun Fact!: The symptoms of depression can make time seem to slow down, so there's that. Draw your own conclusions. Have Newcastle depressed you?