Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren held talks with managing director Lee Charnley on Wednesday and remained in his job – for the time being at least.
It is understood the pair discussed the team’s troubling situation over the telephone before McClaren, who had taken training for the second successive day, left the Darsley Park training headquarters and headed home.
Reports had suggested McClaren and Charnley were to hold showdown talks at St James’ Park, but a face-to-face conversation did not materialise.
What was said between the two men remained unclear and the club did not comment, although 54-year-old McClaren was wearing a broad smile as cameras captured him walking towards his car.
The saga surrounding his position seemed set to extend into a fifth day since a 3-1 home defeat by Bournemouth left the club in desperate Premier League relegation trouble and saw fans turn on McClaren in a concerted fashion for the first time.
McClaren will be aware of reports claiming the club have placed former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez at the top of a list of candidates to replace him, with just 10 games of the season remaining and the club 19th in the table.
However, McClaren remained in charge of preparations for Monday night’s trip to leaders Leicester and was due to take training again on Thursday.
Former Newcastle winger Keith Gillespie urged the club, headed by owner Mike Ashley, to give McClaren more time.
Gillespie said on Sky Sports News: “It’s typical Newcastle. I think the club need to come out and put it to bed because there’s too much speculation. This club’s got an important game on Monday night and an important 10 games coming up.
“It’s important they remain in the Premiership because it’s a massive club here and it needs Premiership football.
“You need to put this to bed, tell the manager he’s got the job until the end of the season, keep us in the Premiership and then we go from there.”
McClaren is a member of the club’s football board but was not present when his three colleagues – Charnley, chief scout Graham Carr and club ambassador Bob Moncur – met on Monday to discuss the parlous on-field situation.
Despite concerted rumours that his days at the club are numbered, Newcastle have yet to tell McClaren to clear his desk.
Even if the Magpies want to dispense with the services of the man they appointed in June last year to implement a long-term plan, they would not want to plunge themselves back into the kind of limbo they did last January.
Then, they opted not to install a permanent replacement for Alan Pardew following his departure for Crystal Palace.
They only just escaped relegation on the final day of the season after John Carver took temporary charge, and would want to have a new man waiting in the wings this time around if they opted for change.
Given Newcastle’s current situation, however, the post would not be as attractive as it might have been in the past, given the possibility of a drop into the Sky Bet Championship.
With the riches of the new broadcast deal due to kick in at the start of the 2016-17 campaign, Newcastle must weight up the pros and cons of allowing McClaren the chance to dig the club out of a sizeable hole or thinking creatively as they look for an escape route.