Newcastle United are dangerously flirting with relegation this season, but how much damage would it actually cause if the club was to be consigned to the second tier of English football?
The Magpies were relegated back in 2009 but returned after only one season in the Championship. This time around, things may be a lot more difficult.
The Benitez influence
There has a big upturn in performances in recent weeks, which is mostly down to the calming presence and tactical knowledge of Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard has brought hope back to Tyneside and the atmosphere around St. James' Park has been of a much friendlier standard of late, despite the club still lying in 19th place.
However, Benitez has refused to be drawn on his future and the likelihood is that if Newcastle do end up dropping down a division, he will move on to a new club. That is a big concern for the men who work in the boardroom and the supporters.
Benitez has provided more of a reaction than his predecessor Steve McClaren ever could and it begs the question could a new manager get the best out of these temperamental players if they were playing in the Championship?
Back in 2009, Newcastle's charge up the Championship was lead by Chris Hughton. He had players in his side that knew what it took to battle and play for the shirt. The likes of Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll all played gave their all and never hid away when the going got tough.
It is unknown who will stay if the club do get relegated, however, it seems like this time around Newcastle lack the same sort of passion that they had in 2009. The number of French players in the squad has increased and they sometimes struggle to cope with the physicality of the English game. The Championship is a very competitive and tough league to get out of without digging in deep.
In addition to this, some of the top players at the club are likely to be sold to shore up the finances at Newcastle. The likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Chancel Mbemba and Andros Townsend would be subject to interest from other teams.
The reason Mike Ashley has invested so much money over the past year is because the financial benefits of staying in the Premier League are huge. The new TV deal that comes into play next season means being in the top flight of English football is fantastic financially.
In a recent interview, Ashley announced that 'there was no money left' at Newcastle. Pundits believe this will only be true if the club fail to stay in the league. It is no secret a lot of Ashley's money has been used to improve the side during this current campaign.
If the money has dried up, escaping the Championship at the the first time of asking will be a big ask.