At this stage, you have to wonder if Newcastle United are embroiled in one long, cruel prank at the expense of their entire fanbase.
Since 2007 the club has been at the behest of one of the most toxic and unpopular owners in the English footballing pyramid, and for the vast majority of the spell the Toon Army have endured one kick in the teeth after another.
Simply put, Newcastle’s luck is terrible, and every time it seems as if things might be getting better, somebody throws a giant Sports Direct mug into the works to ensure that any optimism is well and truly misplaced.
This summer is a prime example. With a Middle Eastern buyout reportedly in the works, supporters have been left high and dry as information and communication has been at a premium.
Transfer activity is even more scarce, and it’s hard to see the Toon Army wrapping up any kind of meaningful deal in the near future.
With regards to the managerial situation, after three stellar years at the wheel on a shoestring budget, it looks increasingly as if Rafa Benitez – nigh-on universally adored by the Geordie masses – will walk away from the club next Sunday when his contract expires after failing to reach an agreement on a new deal.
A week is a long time in football of course, and there could be some kind of minor miracle that keeps him in the hot seat, but if supporters have learned anything during Ashley’s tenure, it’s that they shouldn’t get their hopes up.
And so, naturally, replacements are beginning to be touted.
In a report from the Chronicle over the weekend, one name in particular caught the eye, for all the wrong reasons.
David Moyes, former Everton manager and Manchester United disaster, has been mentioned as a possible candidate, and were that to happen, there would surely be a revolt on Tyneside.
Moyes had a perfectly admirable record during his time at Goodison Park, and in the context of what has followed, his spell at Old Trafford doesn’t look to abysmal either, but since his dismissal in the north west he has failed to average more than 1.21 points per game for any club [Transfermarkt].
That figure came with Real Sociedad in Spain, but even during his time with West Ham last year, working with a squad that was arguably much more able than the one he would have at his disposal at St. James’ Park were he to takeover, he only registered 1.19.
A more clear and accurate comparison, therefore, would be his record with local rivals Sunderland.
As would be the case with the Toon Army, Moyes was taking over from a well-loved and successful manager in Sam Allardyce, and as would be the case with the Toon Army, resources were limited.
In that season Moyes averaged just o.72 points per match as the Black Cats were relegated from the top flight, finishing dead last.
Newcastle would surely risk a very similar fate if they were to appoint the 56-year-old.