Toronto FC star Laurent Robert has admitted he still cannot understand why Newcastle ever got rid of Sir Bobby Robson as their manager.
The Frenchman spent much of his time at St James' Park in discussion with an exasperated Robson as the manager attempted to get the best out of his enigmatic signing on a sustained basis.
He said: "Newcastle changed too many things in a short space of time.
"They changed Mr Robson - that for me was the most important factor.
"When Mr Robson went, Newcastle slid down the table. It was inevitable. You need a good manager to motivate the players.
"I think they have that now, but they need to buy some players of the quality of four or five years before.
"It's a big club and has a huge fan-base - the biggest I have played in front of.
"Now they need the same again if they want to get back to the top."