It was, not for the first time in Newcastle's footballing history, a week for reflection, for soul searching, for simply asking why? From upper-level management, through the coaching and playing group, to the faithful fans, that would have been a common theme.
Everyone has an opinion, a theory. Some are obviously in positions where discretion is the better part of brutal honesty, some find it hard to separate their feelings for the club and harsh reality. We all tend to focus on one or two problems that really irritate us, or are our patch of expertise (or so we think).
Where do you start?
Whoa, I've only got a certain amount of column space. How about Friday night's game against Sydney FC. I turned up at the match more concerned that the Jets would win the game, than I was that the Jets would get a hiding.
How's that? A win against Sydney might we'll have suggested all was well, problem solved, new coach, fresh approach, new eyes, you know how it goes. That would have been the classic false dawn.
As it was, the Jets lifted for the high-profile visitors, and for personal pride, gave as good as they got in general play, had a couple of good chances, conceded two pretty soft goals and lost. Familiar script anyone?
Did the Jets do the right thing by sacking coach Ernie Merrick? You can certainly make a case for it based on results, particularly his final four games. But did he forget how to coach? Was he a fraction stubborn in terms of tactical focus, or did reinforcing the belief in principles established under his reign seem a more palatable option than a more cautious, dour approach?
The answer to that will be seen in coming weeks. If there is no movement in the January transfer window, there must be doubts. Concentration, and speculation will centre on the appointment of a new coach, but surely an injection of talent is of optimum importance.
Teams often get a little bounce when a new coach arrives, but seldom does that have lasting effect, unless some new (and improved) faces also arrive to bolster the playing stocks.
If nothing changes in terms of the squad, does this then make the sacking, a case of management being seen to be doing something, rather than solving anything?
Whether you agree or not with Ernie's termination, you have to respect his contribution. A grand final in his first season at the helm was the obvious highlight. It's surely no coincidence that as the funds for the playing roster have dried up, so have the goals. Names like Nabbout, McGree, O'Donovan and Vargas have departed without adequate replacement.
There are a multitude of issues to be addressed. The structure of the club, ownership issues, the running of your club being directly tied to one person's business interests, and as a result long-term planning being almost impossible. The question of accountability in the absence of a board?
The list goes on, and I'm honest enough to admit others more learned than I are better equipped to discuss those topics. But to ignore them is to deny reality.
Which brings me neatly back to Friday night, and a couple of conversations I had while departing McDonald Jones Stadium. The punters in question were naturally disappointed with the result, delighted with the effort, and of the opinion the Jets were unlucky.
I hope I didn't appear too rude, but I was channeling the taciturn Scottish ESPN FC pundits Stevie Nicol and Craig Burley, who often remember periods of their time in the national team being littered with "noble defeats". That's how it felt to me, and I told them up front. Was I leaning to old-age crankiness, I wondered ?
The reassurance came from a reliable, comforting source, as my old teammate Andy Harper espoused on the post-game show I had recorded on Fox Sports. It wasn't about tactics, or effort, or luck, but soft goals conceded through lapses in concentration, and as a result reaction.
That can be worked on, as Craig Deans noted after the game, and as Harps intimated, and I have suggested in recent weeks, seems the most likely route of salvation for the Jets. Keep it tight, don't concede, and go from there.
The Jets won't score 50 goals this season, unless there is a major coup in the transfer window, so they can't expect to pick up points regularly conceding twice in games. Simple fact.
In fact the Jets need look no further than their opponents last Friday for an example. They were missing three key players and were less capable of dominating the game as a result. So they defended fairly deep, and with patience, as is their norm, and it took a bomb of a strike from Steve Ugarkovic to penetrate their defensive fortress.
This was very much a case of job done with as little fuss as possible. Sydney coach Steve Corica was quoted in the press as saying: "We just want to keep winning".
Who would have thought?
We wait now for the big announcement.
Before that, though, I am sure the city of Newcastle would like to thank Ernie for his contribution, and wish him and his family all the best, wherever life takes him. He will be well remembered up this way.