There’s only one place to start — the decision by referee Slavko Vincic to send off Jamal Lewis.
It was very, very, very harsh and I strongly believe the official was sucked in to making a poor call by the Switzerland fans.
It proved to be the decisive moment.
For something so daft to be so crucial in a fixture with a huge bearing on qualification for next year’s World Cup will be extremely hard to take for the Northern Ireland players and manager Ian Baraclough.
They have every right to feel aggrieved.
I’d no issues with Jamal’s first booking. That was cynical when he pulled back the Swiss forward but he should not have received a second yellow card the way he did. To effectively be sent off for time wasting in the first-half was a bad call from the ref who was playing to the crowd.
The Swiss fans were whistling and wanting a Northern Ireland player booked and the referee, as I said, got sucked in.
I felt he was looking to book someone and I’m not sure he remembered that he had already cautioned Jamal which meant that the Newcastle United player had to go.
It was rotten luck for Northern Ireland who I thought had a good shape and aggression about them.
The manager opted for a twist on playing one up front in Conor Washington with a box of midfielders — two eights and two sixes — protecting the back five. It looked good and, after we got a break with VAR, the system was working well in the first-half.
When VAR disallowed the early Swiss goal, I thought it might finally be our night against them and decisions would go our way.
I was even more encouraged when Washington did well to race through and give himself a shooting chance shortly after. That was a big moment and we needed to make that one count.
Then came the red card, which was the turning point.
After that I would have done exactly the same as Ian Baraclough, going 5-3-1, but the goal just before half-time absolutely killed Northern Ireland. There seemed to be a lack of communication and it was almost comical the way the Swiss were allowed in to score. The timing couldn’t have been any worse.
In the second-half, the boys defended together and stuck together and rode their luck until another injury-time goal finished the contest and gave Switzerland a vital 2-0 win.
This will hurt all involved and, being honest, I think our World Cup hopes are over after this result. That is difficult to accept.
There’s still three games to go and I suspect the manager may use some younger players around the senior ones to give them experience so there’s less of a transition for the next campaign.
One positive point was another lively substitute appearance from Conor Bradley, who now has four caps which stops anyone else thinking he can play for them. I always felt Conor was committed to Northern Ireland anyway. He will be important for us going forward.
There was a reason Stoke City gave Michael O’Neill a four year contract.
They wanted to give him time to remove the dead wood and mould the team in his vision.
Potters chiefs were only too aware there were players on big, long term contracts and, to be honest, they didn’t want to be there or play in the Championship.
But due to the deals, it was a case of biding time before finally moving them on.
Michael has done that and now we are seeing his players, his style and his team out on the pitch.
He seems totally immersed in Stoke and his hard work and diligence is currently paying off.
They are fourth in the Championship and on target for the Play-Offs but, having played for Michael and knowing how ambitious he is, he’ll have his sights set firmly on automatic promotion. He may not say it publicly, but Michael will be desperate to join the ranks of Premier League managers.
Joe Allen is vastly experienced and the driving force of the team alongside the likes of James Chester, while Nick Powell is in good form in front of goal.
Northern Ireland midfielder Jordan Thompson is getting plenty of game time and he will only improve as a player performing in a winning and confident side.
There’s still plenty of work to be done for Michael to achieve his goals, but Stoke City, under his leadership, are finally on the right path.
Once the jubilation and hysteria of the Newcastle United takeover dies down, reality will kick in.
Magpies fans are obviously thrilled at the prospect of a new winning era for the club.
But it’s not going to be as simple as that.
I think Newcastle is a brilliant city, there is so much and life and energy about the place. It’s got a great night life and people are so passionate about their football club. It’s a religion for some of them.
You can throw all the money you want at world class players but unless it is a major city like London or Manchester, they don’t want to know. We’ve seen it too many times before.
Chelsea and City had the advantage, when their new owners took over, of being in those cities.
Therefore, despite Newcastle being the so-called richest club in the world, I’m not sure it’s going to be that easy to attract the top stars of world football.
I don’t think it will be a case of splashing the cash and they can buy who they want.
So this is an opportunity to build the club up with the best young talent around.
Those kids with natural, raw talent who are maybe not established and they are looking for a vehicle to drive them to greatness.
If I were Newcastle, I would look at bringing a Jadon Sancho to the club. He’s not seeing much game time at Manchester United and you would give him an opportunity to thrive elsewhere.
Steve Bruce is unlikely to be the man spearheading these changes. Usually when new owners come in they don’t want to inherit the previous boss, so I wouldn’t be shocked if Bruce’s days are numbered.
They’ll want a manager with pedigree, someone who has been there and done that. They’ll have experience of building a club up and, of course, achieving success.
A manager obviously plays a huge role in attracting the players so they’ll want someone with gravitas, someone those players will instantly respect and want to play for.
Of course, new money and takeovers don’t necessarily work all the time.
I’ve witnessed that at West Brom following Jeremy Peace’s time at The Hawthorns.
Even though he didn’t have a lot of money to work with, Jeremy ran a very tight ship at West Brom. It was a structure that worked and now the fans who were initially happy the new consortium came in want them out.
Having been deprived of glory for so long, the passionate Geordie fans deserve a quality team to cheer on.
I look forward to watching that hopefully materialise, but it will not be as easy as many people think.