Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was today preparing for a brave new world without star striker Andy Carroll as he attempted to draw a line under a simmering row.
Tyneside woke this morning to the reality that the man the fans hoped would prove the talisman for a new era was instead on Merseyside to begin the process of doing the same in a red, rather than black and white shirt.
There was anger and astonishment at the £35million deadline day deal which took Carroll from north-east to north-west and claim and counter-claim over how the deal, which in turn sparked Fernando Torres' exit from Anfield and arrival at Stamford Bridge, unfolded.
Carroll claims he was forced out while Newcastle insist nobody forced him to put in the transfer request that paved the way for his move.
But Pardew's focus is firmly on what happens next. Asked if the windfall the club had received for their most prominent Academy graduate could provide a launch-pad for future success, he replied: "That could be Andy's legacy here and I hope that is the case because we certainly need to strengthen more than Andy's position.
"The one thing I said to [owner] Mike [Ashley] yesterday was, 'Look, if this boy is going to go, this money has to be re-invested in the team, all of it', and he has assured me of that.
"For the Newcastle fan, that is the most important message I can give today, that all that money will be used. Could it have been used yesterday? Late last night, we made a couple of bids, but we were getting extortionate figures thrown at us. It was ridiculous.
"Were we going to pay an over-hiked price for a lesser product than Andy Carroll? No, so unfortunately as I sit here now, I am weaker than I was yesterday because I had Andy Carroll maybe four or five weeks away (from full fitness). No, I am not comfortable with it, but it is what it is."
Newcastle did make last-ditch approaches for a series of players, among them Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia, but were unable to do any business other than landing Stephen Ireland on loan from Aston Villa for the rest of the season, an arrival which was in the pipeline long before Liverpool made their move.
However, even as Carroll completed the formalities of his transfer, there was dissent over the manner of his departure as he claimed he was being forced out of his home-town club in a series of text messages sent to friend and Toon Talk fanzine editor Steve Wraith.
That crystallised further today when the player told the Evening Chronicle: "...[Managing director] Derek [Llambias] asked me to hand in a transfer request, so I was pushed into a corner and had no choice. I wasn't wanted by them and they made it clear they wanted the money. I'm gutted that I wasn't wanted at my home team after everything I have done and [the] progress I have made. I didn't want to leave at all."
However, Pardew insisted the club only decided to sell the player when he and his representatives asked for a new and improved contract just three months after he signed a five and a half-year deal.
He said: "When he says some of the things he has said, he is probably slightly misguided because you don't force anybody to do anything. We certainly didn't twist his arm to put in a transfer request or to get in the helicopter.
"The situation is that nothing was mentioned to his representatives in terms of forcing him out. He indicated to me in my room that he wanted a new deal, and if he wasn't going to get a new deal, he wanted to have the option of talking to Liverpool. I said, 'You need to put that in writing, Andy, if you are going to do that', and he did, and that's it.
"The extraordinary figure that we have got - and it is a record for a British player - for a 22-year-old who has done six months in the Premier League, it's a hell of a figure. The fact that it is so huge is because of the timing of it. We didn't want to lose Andy yesterday and if Andy really wanted to stay, then he could have stayed. But he's not here."
Newcastle travel to Fulham in the Barclays Premier League tomorrow night without Ireland, who arrived with a hamstring injury.