As if losing a manager was not bad enough, Newcastle crashed 2-1 to Premier League newcomers Hull on Saturday to cap one of the most wretched periods in the club's history.
Marlon King's double, his first goals for Hull since completing a loan move from Wigan in August, ensured the Tigers underlined how bad things have become for crisis club Newcastle.
With supporters, enraged by Kevin Keegan's resignation, demonstrating both inside and outside of St James' Park, the managerless Magpies were outclassed by a side who are expected to spend the season embroiled in a relegation battle.
Newcastle's performance was wretched but, as far as the fans were concerned, what was happening on the pitch was of minimal importance compared to what was occurring off it.
Prior to kick-off, more than 3,000 supporters staged a mass demonstration outside the stadium in which they expressed their anger at Keegan's decision to quit.
Keegan, who will not be returning to St James' for a third time despite holding clear-the-air talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley on Friday, resigned after the level of boardroom interference become too great for him to tolerate.
The supporters clearly hold Ashley and executive director Dennis Wise responsible for his departure, and chants of “Sack the board” and “We want Ashley out” underlined the divide between the club's owners and its supporters.
Despite reports that fans would boycott the game., a near-capacity crowd confirmed the Toon Army still want to support their club, but the depth of anti-Ashley feeling is unlikely to subside quickly and it is difficult to see how the Magpies' owner can attend matches in the future.
Ashley missed his side's worst performance of the campaign, with Newcastle completely outclassed during a one-sided second half that exposed all of their limitations.
Not, however, that those limitations were obvious from the start. With Spain Under-21 international Xisco making his Newcastle debut after arriving on Tyneside on transfer deadline day, the home side dominated the opening half-hour without making a breakthrough.
Michael Owen went closest to breaking the deadlock, but Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill produced a brilliant one-handed save to deny the Newcastle skipper after he glanced on Geremi's free-kick from the middle of the penalty area.
Hull spent most of the first half defending in their own half, but their resilience was rewarded when they were handed an unlikely opportunity from the penalty spot.
Nicky Butt caught Hungarian midfielder Peter Halmosi as he slid into a tackle, and while Shay Given got a hand to King's subsequent spot-kick, he was unable to prevent the ball entering the net off the left-hand post.
Buoyed by their breakthrough, Hull went on to dominate the early stages of the second half, and the visitors duly doubled their lead in the 55th minute.
Craig Fagan's through ball exploited a huge hole in the Newcastle defence, and after turning inside full-back Charles N'Zogbia, King curled a precise finish into the bottom left-hand corner.
Newcastle pulled a goal back with eight minutes left when Xisco tapped home the rebound after N'Zogbia's shot had cannoned against the base of the post.
But the match ended on a fittingly miserable note for the hosts as Danny Guthrie was rightly sent off in stoppage time following a dreadful tackle.
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