Alan Shearer believes the appointment of Joe Kinnear as Newcastle 's director of football has turned the club into a laughing stock.
Kinnear has wasted little time in making his presence felt with a series of free-ranging interviews which have hardly enhanced his reputation as he struggled to pronounce the names of some of his players, as well as managing director Derek Llambias.
Llambias subsequently resigned after learning that the 66-year-old Irishman would assume some of his duties under a surprise shake-up of the club's football activities instigated by sportswear tycoon Ashley.
Former Newcastle striker Shearer wrote in Thursday's Sun: "Where do we start? What I do know is that right now people are laughing at the football club I support. And that sickens me.
"I promised myself years ago never to be surprised by what happens in football - particularly when it comes to Newcastle.
"But this situation really is stretching it a bit.