By Bhas Kunju
Eleven defeats in 16 league games and four consecutive losses after the forgettable 1-0 defeat to Stoke City on Saturday night.
I doubt even the most optimistic Newcastle fan watched the match believing the Magpies stood a chance of claiming a point at the very least.
Sure, Erik Pieters' goal was a fluke but the fact that Newcastle have allowed in 12 goals since they last scored, meant that they were doomed to begin with. Stoke would have scored again, and they should have given the chances they squandered, and Alan Pardew's side would still have no answer.
This is a team on relegation form and in freefall. From a safe seventh position in the table, Newcastle are looking very likely to finish the season outside the top half.
The defeats have been unforgiveable and even the wins were unconvincing. The 3-0 defeat to Sunderland who are looking certain to play in the Championship was a derby day memory to forget. The 1-0 victory over struggling Crystal Palace with a last minute winner was deceivingly heroic. The Eagles were playing at a level below their division and Newcastle had nearly nothing to show for the entire game.
Pardew's latest gaffe of blaming local press for adding pressure has drawn little empathy, if anything there's only been derision and rightfully so.
Sure, it has been a difficult season. Yohann Cabaye's departure was a huge blow and did little to bring confidence back to a side who are still reeling from the sale of Demba Ba.
The replacements, Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong, both only on loan have looked exactly the sort of bit part mercenaries that they were brough in to be. Remy has already started his sales pitch for a move to a 'great club' come end of the season. Needless to say the goals have dried out too.
Joe Kinnear, responsible, for the transfer dealings since his appointment as Director of Football, has left and that would indicate club management have portioned the blame of poor transfers on the badly unwanted former manager.
Lucky for Pardew, but there's no shelter from blame since then.
All other issues considered it is really difficult to overlook the poor form of the side, and for that Pardew can only accept blame himself.
There are two issues that need to be looked into - Pardew might just not be good enough for the job, or the consistent movement of players in and out of the club together with the club policy of working on a small budget has limited the progress of the side.
A better explanation would be, that it is likely a combination of both.
Yes, Newcastle have shown that they are going to work within their means. But so have at least half the team in the league, with a couple of them placing higher than the Magpies.
If Newcastle's policy is to be frugal, then get in a manager who can work with the limited resources that come with the policy.
Everton have done it and are in contention for a Champions League spot.
Swansea did it and lifted last year's League Cup.
Southampton, a team rescued from the third tier of English football just five years ago have risen like a phoenix on steroids with players bought and groomed on a budget. All the while, seeing future stars like Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain go.
And yes, Saints have leapfrogged Newcastle to seventh.
Working on a budget seems to be interpreted as being stingy and lacking interest in building up the club. On the contrary. It actually shows long-term commitment to build a stable and self-sustainable football club that could stay competitive in the long run.
What it needs for that plan to succeed are the right personnel. On and off-field.
A manager who is running out of ideas and seems tactically challenged and players who are showing little interest in staying on, do little for progress. Understandably, players see little need to stay on for a club that are keen on selling their assets.
Having said that, there has to be mention that the club is in serious need of attacking players, not just strikers but players who can play in the final third and create chances. In the last three to five years, only two names stick out, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohann Cabaye, the former a frustrating player with weak delivery and reduced to cameo appearances, and the latter a largely box-to-box midfielder who was utilised as a playmaker and in his numbered days at the club, as a source for much-needed goals.
A collection of workhorses who could run the length of the field but with no direction or attacking flair will result in just the debacle that is transpiring at Newcastle now.
But Pardew has to share the blame for the misfits he has put together for the club. Keep in mind, the last time Newcastle bought a player was over a year ago, with the last two transfer windows overseen by Kinnear resulting only in loan signings.
Eight-year contract or not, Pardew's time has run out.