Newcastle United have been relegated from the Premier League, after Sunderland hammered Everton at the Stadium of Light. It’s been coming for months, but even the appointment of Rafa Benitez couldn’t save the Magpies, as Lamine Kone scored twice to down the Toffees in a game Roberto Martinez’s side needed to win if Newcastle were to live another day. Questions on who is to blame for the Geordies’ second relegation in seven years will be thrown around in the coming days, but it can only be themselves who carry the responsibility. The board made a fatal error in appointing Steve McClaren, and then failing to realise the danger the club was in as they daydreamed towards relegation. Benitez could only do so much in his ten games, but the board handed him a mammoth task with so little time left in the season. If the Spaniard had had 15 games or even less, Newcastle might have edged over the line in the way Sunderland do every single season. But that’s because despite being utterly shite for 30 games, the bunch from up the road find form when they need it most, and fight their way out of sticky situations. That’s why they win derbies, that’s why they escape every year without fail. Ironically, the last time Newcastle had a bit of grit about them, they returned to the Premier League from the Championship at the first time of asking. The likes of Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan were instrumental, but there’s no characters similar in the current Newcastle squad. Fabricio Coloccini is a big a shithouse as any, Moussa Sissoko had the audacity to ask for a 100k-a-week contract, and nearly every one of Graham Carr’s recent signings have been awful. The continued trawling of the French league is said to have had its time, as the captures of Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy have moved on without being suitably replaced. But there is value in that league, as Dimitri Payet has proved this season, along with the likes of TWO of Sunderland’s finds, Wahbi Khazri and Lamine Kone. Why Carr couldn’t find those players is laughable, as both have gone on to transform their clubs since arriving in the Premier League. Newcastle must now find new heroes, and potentially a new manager. Adam Armstrong is a star of the future and will surely get his chance now, as the clear out of big names begins. Sissoko, Wijnaldum and Cisse won’t be missed, while efforts will be made to keep hold of Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend but nothing is certain. That’s because Mike Ashley’s gamble with Newcastle’s fate has backfired, and now he’ll miss out on the massive TV deal that kicks in from next season in the Premier League. That’ll hit him hard, but he won’t leave – so the Magpies must learn from their fatal mistakes, regroup and come again. Whether they will or not is another question. The trips to Burton Albion and Rotherham will be demoralising, especially when you consider the budgets of the two clubs. Another away day is interesting – the trip to Leeds United. A club the absolute epitome of what Newcastle United might become.