Newcastle United 3 West Bromwich Albion 0

West Bromwich Albion supporters surely deserve an explanation after their team waved the white flag in an embarrassing capitulation that all but condemned them to Championship football next season.

There is still a mathematical possibility they could survive. However, even if they are still alive and kicking against West Ham United by next Monday does anyone seriously imagine they can win?

For the majority of last Monday night's home fixture with Bolton Wanderers, Albion looked as though they were a team resigned to relegation.

However, that dour draw was poetry in motion compared to his pathetic offering. Considering Albion had to win to stand any chance of preserving their Premiership status, their lack of energy was disturbing.

Newcastle were shorn of Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Scott Parker, Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer, yet still had more than enough ammunition to treat Albion with disdain during the first half.

Baggies' Neil Clement had an afternoon to forget at centre-half and conceded a needless penalty after a pointless shove on Michael Chopra.

Shola Ameobi converted the spot-kick to double Newcastle's lead after Nolberto Solano had capitalised on a flowing move for the opener.

Albion were anonymous in attack, completely outclassed in midfield despite having a numerical advantage in that area and a porous defence sprung leaks all afternoon.

Bryan Robson lamented that he would have used 11 substitutes at half-time were he allowed. They performed like a team who already knew they were relegated and explained why they have garnered only three points from the last 33 available in a dreadful end of season collapse.

However, it isn't just the players who are culpable, as the general malaise has been creeping up on Albion all season. After 36 league games, it is clear that manager Robson still hasn't figured out the right formula.

Injuries, suspensions and downright bad form has led to a stream of changes, both in tactics and personnel that has contributed to their downfall.

One win on the road all season is another telling statistic and aesthetically pleasing football is rendered irrelevant without any cutting edge.

Results against Sunderland (home), Birmingham City, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa (away) can all be cited as turning points of the campaign, but the root cause lies much deeper than that.

A section of supporters might have called for Robson to be the sacrificial lamb after this defeat, but would a knee-jerk reaction solve the problems?

Albion's relegation might have been all but confirmed at St James' Park, but their death warrant was signed back in January.

Nigel Quashie was a bona fide addition to the team but Jan Kozak and Williams Martinez were only ever going to be peripheral squad members.

Geoff Horsfield and Robert Earnshaw were allowed to depart to pastures new and it is no secret that Robson was keen to replenish his squad with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Ugo Ehiogu. However, talks with Ehiogu broke down while Hasselbaink has continued to score freely for Middlesbrough.

Portsmouth spent exorbitant sums in a bid to survive while Birmingham conjured an astronomical deal to sign Chris Sutton.

Yes, Robson has been given funds and some of his acquisitions have had minimal impact, but a statement of intent in January would have boosted a visibly flagging squad.

Chairman Jeremy Peace is entitled to a holiday after the season he has had to endure, but the timing of his trip to the Caribbean will rankle with supporters.

Contrast Peace's low profile to that of David Gold across the city. Gold has very publicly empathised with supporters throughout Birmingham's relegation battle and constantly backed Steve Bruce to the hilt.

Peace is a more reserved character but his reluctance to talk about either Robson or Albion's predicament on a regular basis has been an own goal and led to supporters drawing their own assumptions.

The fact that he is on holiday in the Caribbean at present and has missed Albion's last two fixtures doesn't present a united front in Albion's time of need.

Ultimately, the team haven't been good enough this season.

Whether or not enough investment has been made in the playing side is open for debate but there is no deny-ing that Albion are a team with the necessary resources to bounce back next season under the stewardship of Peace.

However, when Ameobi surged past Albion's defence for the umpteenth time to crash home a third goal in injury time, Robson's team looked a sorry bunch.

The manager has history on his side as he led Middlesbrough back into the Premiership after relegation and deserves to be at the helm come August.

But this defeat has left a lasting scar and was a new low in season of relative purgatory. Tactics, investment and all the other peripherals weren't responsible for Saturday's defeat; it was down to 11 players turning in arguably their worst performance of the season.