The last time Mike Ashley enlisted the services of Joe Kinnear he ended the season with a Championship club he no longer wanted, and is in danger of repeating the mistake.
Since returning to the Premier League in 2011, relations between Ashley and the fans have markedly improved and a canny transfer policy has seen the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa head to Tyneside.
A spate of injuries to key players coupled with the loss of top scorer Demba Ba to Chelsea sent the team into a tailspin last term, with Newcastle languishing in the lower reaches of the table for much of the campaign.
After last season’s difficulties the chairman has pressed the panic button and installed Kinnear as director of football, and the former Wimbledon boss has the authority to overrule manager Alan Pardew when recruiting new players.
Following Kinnear’s botched attempt to land Darren Bent from Aston Villa, Pardew will feel his influence at the club receding.
There has been much speculation about the terms of Pardew’s eight-year contract, but Ashley is a shrewd businessman and will have ensured he is not exposed to a bumper pay-out.
The former West Ham boss is the hot favourite at 2/1 to be the first Premier League manager to be shown the door, and while it is difficult to see how he can remain in post, the price is a little too short in what is sure to be a volatile market.
The 10/1 offered on relegation represents much better value as the Toon finished last season five points above Wigan in 16th place and only secured their top-flight status with a few games to go.
A chain of events that sees Kinnear replacing Pardew after a bad run of results would leave the club in trouble and out of ideas, and a return to the Championship may be on the cards if Ashley loses control of the Newcastle soap opera.