Alan Shearer scored a record 206 goals for Newcastle United but stood helpless on Sunday as his hometown club were relegated from the Premier League following a tepid 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa. Shearer, who in April swapped the cosy life of a BBC studio pundit for the stress of trying to steer a terminally ill Newcastle side away from relegation, was brutally honest. "We can have no complaints," an ashen-faced Shearer, who managed just one win in his eight games as manager, told Sky Sports. "We can't say we were unlucky in the season. "We didn't go down today we went down because we weren't good enough over 38 games, that's the simple fact of the matter. "Big changes need to be made, players need to go out, players need to come in, but it's not the right time to talk about that now." Even by their eccentric standards, Newcastle's season has been chaotic both on and off the field. Kevin Keegan, who returned last season as a Messiah after the sacking of Sam Allardyce, left in September after falling out with owner Mike Ashley - a split that provoked bitter hostility towards Ashley from the fans. The abuse meant Ashley stayed away from St James' Park in the aftermath of Keegan's exit and he put the club up for sale with little success. His popularity was not helped by the surprise choice of Joe Kinnear to steady the ship but he was beset by health problems, leaving assistant Chris Hughton at the helm before Shearer took over with relegation looming. Add to that a squad desperately lacking balance and quality and littered with players whose careers appear in terminal decline and relegation always looked on the cards. REBUILDING JOB Whether or not Shearer can be tempted to begin the rebuilding job remains to be seen and he was cagey on his future after Sunday's desperate finale. "I'm angry at the whole situation," he told the BBC. "I haven't been good enough, the players haven't been good enough, the managers before that haven't been good enough. The owners have made mistakes. There are huge things that have gone on at the club that haven't been right. "Now are paying the price. You have seen our magnificent fans and what they deserve. They travel in their thousands and they deserve better than they have had." Sunday's defeat, courtesy of a cruel own goal by Damien Duff, ended Newcastle's 16-year stay in the top flight since Keegan returned them to what they consider to be their rightful place on a wave of euphoria in 1993. The four-times English champions, albeit most recently in 1927, challenged for the Premier League title under Keegan and blew a 12-point lead in 1996 to finish runners-up. They came second again the following season and managed fourth and third-placed finishes under Bobby Robson in 2002 and 2003 before the former England manager was sacked in 2004. The club has been in steady decline since and there is no guarantee of a quick return. The fate of Norwich City, Southampton and Charlton Athletic, all recent Premier League sides who this season slipped into the third tier of English football, is a stark reminder of the damage relegation from the Premier league honeypot can do.
24 May 2009
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