It’s over four months since Newcastle took their Premier League existence into their own hands by appointing John Carver as manager.
Now with four games to go, that seemingly unwise move has evolved into a full-blown catastrophe, with the Magpies on a seven-match losing run that, were it not for points foraged in the early part of the season as if in preparation for such a lean spell as this, would have surely led to their relegation already.
As a result of these months to forget, Mike Ashley and his fellow Toon fat cats will surely dispense with the services of the man they call ‘the Knife’ when his short-term deal expires in a few weeks.
But with whom will they replace him?
Steve McClaren was known to be their top target in January, but the Eredivisie-winning chief wanted to remain at Derby County until the end of the season.
However, since making public this intention and akin to the man he is expected to succeed, the former England gaffer has also had four months to forget.
The Rams have won just two of their last 12 and now cling on to the final Championship play-off place ahead of game 46.
With plans A & B now distinctly less attractive, where else can the Newcastle recruiters turn?
Paco Jemez – 14/1 to be next Newcastle boss
When Jurgen Klopp got too mainstream, the Spaniard became a poster boy for many a football hipster, adored for the way he converted little-known Madrid outfit Rayo Vallecano into one of the most attractive teams in La Liga.
He brought about this overhaul with barely any money to spend, or big-club pulling power; everything was achieved through stellar recruitment and coaching.
His commitment to attacking play is exemplified by the fact that his team never seems to draw – their last in the Spanish top flight came on the second week of the season.
Rayo have amassed 41 points thus far – six more than Newcastle – and are chasing a top-half finish; their best under Jemez is eighth.
Christophe Galtier – 33/1 to be next Newcastle boss
The long-serving St-Etienne supremo currently has his charges on the cusp of Champions League qualification, having persued the goal since 2010.
This season has seen his win percentage improve to a healthy 42 and now Galtier must mastermind how to bridge the two-point gap between fourth-place St-Etienne and Monaco in the final spot for a seat at Europe’s top table.
Frank De Boer – 33/1 to be the next Newcastle boss
Such a move is likely to be a little too ambitious, but it’s one the Toon Army would undoubtedly prefer.
De Boer steered Ajax to four successive titles in the Netherlands and it has taken a phenomenal effort from PSV to usurp them this time around.
A Champions League place is all but assured regardless, having lost just four times domestically all season.