Newcastle’s new owners were left with little doubt as to the task before them as they watched a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham in a game delayed for 20 minutes by a medical emergency in the crowd.
In many ways, the result on a long-anticipated day was rendered largely irrelevant after players and fans looked on anxiously as medical crews battled to save the life of a spectator in the East Stand at St James’ Park during an eventful first half on the pitch.
Expectations on Tyneside are high for a huge injection of funding by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) to transform Newcastle's fortunes on the field.
PIF governor Yassir Al-Rumayyan was given a hero's welcome by the 55,000 crowd when he was presented before kick-off.
A jubilant atmosphere was matched by the perfect start for the home side when Callum Wilson headed home Javier Manquillo's cross inside two minutes.
Al-Rumayyan celebrated wildly in the stands alongside co-owner Amanda Staveley, who has bought a 10 per cent stake in the club and been the face of the takeover bid for well over a year.
Staveley said this week her ambition is for the Magpies to become champions of England within the next 10 years.
However, the gulf between where Newcastle are and where the new owners want them to go was exposed after their flying start.
If they were stung by the early setback, Spurs did not panic and gradually worked their way back into the game before launching a blistering response.
Tanguy Ndombele levelled with a sumptuous strike from the edge of the box with 17 minutes gone and worse was to follow for the home crowd when Harry Kane got the benefit of a tight offside call following a VAR review after running on to a ball over the top and lifting it over the advancing Darlow to end his league drought.
Lucas Moura was unfortunate not to kill off a renewed sense of hope when he got his head to Son’s corner and saw his effort come back off the crossbar, but with four minutes of a pulsating first-half remaining, the game was suspended after players alerted referee Andre Marriner to an continuing medical emergency in the crowd and he took them off.
The game restarted after a 20-minute delay with the casualty stabilised and on the way to hospital, and Newcastle fell further behind during seven minutes of added time when Kane crossed for Son to slide home at the far post.
Substitute Jonjo Shelvey was dismissed for a second bookable offence with seven minutes remaining, with Eric Dier’s comical late own goal sparking fresh, but ultimately vain, hope.
Many expected Newcastle's consortium of owners to dispense with the services of manager Steve Bruce as one of their first points of business.
The former Manchester United captain was handed a reprieve to take charge of his 1,000th game of his managerial career.
But the 60-year-old is deeply unpopular among the Newcastle support and was met with persistent chants of “we want Brucey out” and “you're getting sacked in the morning".
The result leaves Newcastle with three points from eight games, stuck in the relegation zone and with no ability to spend on new players until the January transfer window.
“Unreal start, great atmosphere. When you walked out you could feel it, you could feel the crowd was with you. We started great but things went downhill from there, “ admitted Wilson after the match.
“The fans feel it is a new era and something to build on. We want to keep the fans close, they spur you on like the 12th man at this place.
“I am glad the guy is OK and sending him our best wishes. It was stop start but you have to be ready for those moments.”
Spurs captain Kane, who scored his first league goal of the season, said: “Firstly we want to say best wishes to the guy in the stands, it was not a good sight to see. We hear that he might be stable now, so we’re thankful to the medical teams and the fans who were doing the CPR.
“Hopefully he’s OK and we wish him all the best from all the players at Tottenham.
“The game itself didn’t start great, we knew they were going to come out fast and they got their early goal. After that, we composed ourselves really well, created some good chances.
“The only disappointment is that we should have seen the game out, got the fourth, the fifth. We made it a bit more difficult at the end there.”