But it now looks to be too late for both Villa and the Magpies...
But, with 10 league fixtures left in Newcastle United's calendar, they too look all set for relegation. Their only hope is that Sunderland falter but, considering the Magpies' recent record in the Tyne-Wear derby and Sam Allardyce's expertise in battling relegation, Newcastle appear to have left it far too late.
But both clubs could have guaranteed Premier league safety by this point - had they appointed Nigel Pearson.
Indeed, had Newcastle replaced McClaren with Pearson months ago, there is little doubt they would be in a far stronger position right now.
Not only did Pearson work wonders when Leicester City were battling relegation, he is the perfect coach for Newcastle's current situation. The Magpies possess a squad more than capable of staying up, they need a firm coach who will put the players in their place - unlike pushover McClaren.
At Aston Villa, things are a little more complicated, of course. But, had Pearson been appointed instead of Garde, could you really imagine Joleon Lescott, Gabriel Agbonlahor or Micah Richards even daring to be so lazy during games?
Admittedly, Pearson had a controversial reputation after his last season at Leicester, while Villa's squad may still have struggled to stay up under the disciplinarian. But what both Villa and Newcastle desperately need is a leader who won't take any nonsense from players who are good enough to at least put a fight. Pearson could have been that man.