Last night’s game against Everton was the perfect chance for Newcastle United to build on what had widely been deemed a hugely successful January transfer window by moving themselves out of the bottom three with a win at Goodison Park.

However, the Magpies turned in one of the poorest displays seen in recent months and by the end of the 90 minutes, relegation looked more likely than ever for Steve McClaren’s side.

“Judge me after 12 games”, the former England manager said when he arrived in the summer.

Twice as many games have now been played and with Newcastle sitting 18th in the Premier League table, I think the fans that are demanding more effort, fight and talent from their “too good to go down” squad, have every right to ask their questions.

Having signed Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend, Henri Saivet and Seydou Doumbia in January, McClaren’s task last night was to get them into a formation that would give his side the best chance of taking something from Merseyside.

It was a task he failed miserably.

Ayoze Perez – all of 5’10” and 12 stone wet through – was given the unenviable task of playing up front on his own, while the more powerful Aleksandar Mitrovic was dropped to the bench. The decision was obviously to accommodate Townsend on the wing but with Mitrovic’s all-round level of play improving – even if his finishing is still woeful – it made little sense.

Perhaps it was McClaren’s decision to attempt to play on the counter attack that inspired his decision to play Perez up front but Newcastle never had enough of the ball to launch any meaningful forays forward.

Paul Dummett’s night summed up Newcastle’s season – falling over when about to deliver a cross into the box (which Perez would have struggled to head in had it arrived) and then being hooked off at half-time.

Fair enough it was down to injury rather than a tactical choice from the Magpies manager but throwing Rolando Aarons on at left-back was only going to make the result more one-sided.

The teenager has never played there before and it looked that way when he naively slid in on Aaron Lennon and conceded the first penalty.

More inexperience followed when fellow substitute Jamaal Lascelles failed to control a simple loose ball and allowed Ross Barkley to break into the box. The former Nottingham Forest defender chased him before failing to trust Rob Elliot – who had been outstanding all night – to save the one on one; he clattered into Barkley to concede another spot kick.

And it’s that kind of inexperience that will take Newcastle United into the Championship next season.

Transfer inexperience from the board as they failed to get a left-back in the transfer window, matched every step of the way by a team that showed nothing in the 90 minutes on the turf.

Next up for McClaren is West Brom at home on Saturday. A team renowned for their rigid, uninspiring style and threat from set-pieces. They regularly play three centre-backs and three defensive midfielders in their line-up and won’t roll over, especially when they know they aren’t far from the relegation scrap themselves.

Should West Brom win (you can see it now, Berahino netting the winner), McClaren will find it hard to keep any fans on his side. He is unlikely to be sacked so shortly after being trusted with a huge budget so any plans to hire David Moyes look premature.

But something has to improve soon. Normally, managers are summoned to a board meeting to discuss what’s going wrong at the club but with McClaren ON that board, it looks a pointless exercise for Lee Charnley and co.

Maybe the only time McClaren will discuss his time at Newcastle will be when it’s too late. Time and support is against him after last night’s shambles.