Let’s not kid ourselves anymore; Newcastle United are staring square in the face of their second relegation in seven years. The mood on Tyneside is at an all-time low and the shortcomings by the board and players have created a toxic atmosphere at St James’ Park in the last two games, which both predictably ended in defeats. Protests and appeals against Mike Ashley and the Toon hierarchy have stolen the headlines before the defeats to Tottenham and Swansea and it has undoubtedly had an effect on the team’s performance. Don’t get me wrong; the players have been woefully under-par this season and many of them deserve to be shown the exit door at the end of the season. I’m talking the likes of Yoan Gouffran, Cheick Tiote, Mike Williamson and Vurnon Anita. But at a time when three points are needed to all but guarantee Premier League safety, the protests and boycotts make no sense to me. The campaign to stay away from the ground at home to Spurs, labelled “Boycott Spurs” by those who organised it, was a decent enough effort by fans that have, quite rightly, had enough of the way the club is run. However, what I have a particular gripe about is those who attended the game against Swansea. A few will have chosen to boycott the game and that’s fair enough but the 40,000+ that went and chose to sat in almost complete silence should be ashamed. A pitiful protest in the 34th minute when said fans waved red cards towards TV cameras was laughable, as Mike Ashley most likely sat at home counting the money that those same fans spent on getting into the ground. As soon as the clock ticked onto 35 minutes, the crowd – once famous for creating one of the most intimidating, raucous atmospheres in England – resembled a library once again. Even when Ayoze Perez scored to give Newcastle the lead, the crowd remained quiet. There was almost a sense – whether it turned out to be justified or not – of them waiting for the team to cock it up. When the team finally did make a mess of the one goal lead, the crowd wasted no time in booing and making the atmosphere almost unplayable for those on the field. People, especially commentators, like to talk about the players giving the crowd a lift during a game, and vice versa. For many weeks, the players haven’t given the crowd anything to cheer about. No goals, no decent football, no results and no heart. But when Perez’s goal against Swansea put them closer to the vital points they need, the crowd could quite easily have carried the team to the final whistle by creating a decent atmosphere. A good example, annoyingly, is Crystal Palace. They have a limited team with a couple of stand-out players (Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha), but a crowd that creates such an atmosphere that it gets the best out of their average squad. That kind of mood needs to come back to St James’ Park quickly. When West Brom visit the North-East in two weeks time, the crowd need to set aside their vitriol for the board and support the team, however tactically inept they may be. Should this hatred for everything about the club continue from its own fans, Newcastle United are in serious trouble.