NEWCASTLE fans fear relegation from the Barclays Premier League could tuen them into “another Leeds United”, exiled for years from the top-flight.
That is the message from Mark Jensen, editor of online fanzine The Mag, with Newcastle one point from safety in 19th place after Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth.
Former Newcastle owner Sir John Hall called for under-fire boss Steve McClaren to be sacked in a radio interview on Sunday, while former striker Alan Shearer labelled the club as “a mess from top to bottom” on Match of the Day.
And Jensen agreed with Shearer that Newcastle’s problems run deeper than McClaren, who was appointed last June but has failed to engineer a recovery despite substantial spending on new players in the January transfer window.
“McClaren is certainly part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Jensen told Press Association Sport.
“It’s hard to think the team could do any worse with a new manager in charge.
“But nothing is going to change, either in the short term or the long term, until Mike Ashley sells up or decides to run the club properly.
“We’ve got this situation where players are handed to the manager rather than the manager signing them, and that just creates a total mess.
“People talk about (Brendan) Rodgers, (Rafael) Benitez or (David) Moyes coming in, but what top manager is going to put up with that situation? Newcastle is not a normal club.”
Newcastle were relegated at the end of the 2008-09 season when Shearer was appointed manager for the final eight games.
They bounced back under Chris Hughton the following season as Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan both scored 17 goals in a side which won the Championship with 102 points.
“The fans are already looking beyond this season and what could happen,” said Jensen.
“When we went down the last time there was a strong core of players who stayed at the club.
“But I think the likelihood this time is that four or five players would be sold and when you look at the rest of the squad we would struggle to come straight back.
“We could be another Leeds and be out of the Premier League for some time.
“But what’s happened this season should be no surprise to anyone.
“Last season we stayed up on the last day and before that we stayed up on the last game. If you keep playing with fire you’re going to end up getting burned.”