EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle are a basket case, Charnley won’t resign, Ashley’s created a cancer

McClaren’s execution was as public as his appointment had been private, smuggled into the ground last June for exclusive interviews with the club’s preferred media partners.

He never looked a comfortable fit for the job and his optimistic musings became as laughable as they were misplaced.

McClaren had little input into last summer’s recruitment drive and was soon telling pals the squad he took over was ill-balanced and lacking characters.

At least the man got that one right. January’s transfer window was meant to correct so many wrongs but proved an exercise in vanity rather than surgery.

Newcastle were Europe’s biggest spenders. McClaren was even allowed to bring in players he actually wanted in Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey.

But what the Magpies really needed was a reliable centre half, a proven goalscorer and a fit left-back. They got none of them.

Charnley, McClaren, chief scout Graham Carr and players such as Fabricio Coloccini, Moussa Sissoko, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Shelvey must all shoulder some of the blame for this seasons’ disaster.

But the buck stops with Ashley.

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