Alan Shearer warned yesterday that Newcastle United need a "complete overhaul" after their relegation from the Premier League if they are not to suffer the same drastic fate that befell Leeds United. The interim Newcastle manager said that he would give his opinion on the "million things wrong" at the club but that while the board delayed "another room burned."
After an insipid performance from his side, Shearer admitted that he told his players that "not everyone had played to their maximum" in the dressing room following the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa through a Damien Duff own goal. Scathing of his team, Shearer also admitted that he had to take his share of the blame as well as Newcastle's three other managers this season – Joe Kinnear, Chris Hughton and Kevin Keegan – and the owner Mike Ashley.
"We have not just been relegated today. We have been relegated over the course of the whole season," Shearer said. "It hasn't been good enough. We haven't given those magnificent supporters enough to shout about. We have let them down. I expected to turn them around. I'm hurting now, I'm raw inside."
Shearer said he would speak to Ashley and chairman Derek Llambias in the next week to tell them what he felt needed doing for the future of the club. However, he added that it was still possible he would not be asked to continue as manager.
"Big decisions need to be made at this football club," he said. "I will sit down with the owners and the chairman and I will give them my opinion. Players have to go and other players have to come in. These guys need to decide where the football club is going to go
"I know you won't believe me but I have not had time to sit down and think whether it is right for the club for me to stay. These decisions need to be made sooner rather than later, whoever it is. Pardon the expression but every day that goes by, another room burns. We will be a big scalp in the Championship. Meetings need to take place to see where this club goes."
Ricky Sbragia's response to Sunderland's survival was to step down as manager. The Scot, whose team lost 3-2 at home to Chelsea, had another 18 months on his contract but said that a "bigger name is needed to take Sunderland to the next level".
Chairman Niall Quinn heaped praise on Sbragia, not least for "the lifeline" the club has been given. The two men agreed on Saturday that this would be the situation but Quinn said the process of finding a replacement could not begin until Sunderland knew what division they were in next season.
Now they remain in the Premier League, Quinn said: "I will do everything I can to attract a big name. But it will be a nice, controlled appointment, not like Christmas." That was a reference to Roy Keane's departure. But Sunderland are ambitious and American billionaire Ellis Short will confirm his 100 per cent takeover of the club this week.
The Hull City manager, Phil Brown, led an extraordinary impromptu singsong at the KC stadium after his club escaped relegation despite losing 1-0 to a significantly under-strength Manchester United team, whose goal was scored by Darron Gibson. Doing nothing to change his reputation as a manager who makes some strange judgements, Brown grabbed the microphone and led the stadium in a chorus of "We are staying up".
Later Brown said: "Of course I have sympathy for Alan Shearer. I have empathy for any manager who gets relegated. He gave it his best shot but they got relegated. It's the best time of my career both as player, a coach, and a manager, even greater than beating Bristol City [in the Championship play-off final last year], by a long way."
Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough lost 2-1 to West Ham to seal their relegation. Southgate said: "Everybody's down. They need to understand the reasons why it hasn't happened, we have to learn as individuals and if you see a team slipping to this conclusion they mustn't allow it to happen."
Additional reporting by Ian Herbert and Conrad Leach
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