Bristol Rovers caretaker manager Stuart Campbell described it as the low point of his career after a 1-1 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday was not enough to stave off inevitable relegation.
Campbell's side can still finish level on points with fifth-bottom Walsall, but the Saddlers have a far superior goal difference which, barring a miracle, cannot be overturned.
Midfielder Campbell, appointed caretaker until the end of the season after Dave Penney's short spell at the helm, said: "I want to stay on as manager, but that's something for the club to discuss and is out of my hands. I have no idea what the future holds."
He added: "There's a year left on my playing contract and it's not the right time to talk about the management position. My next task is to prepare the team to win our final match at Colchester because that is the least our wonderful supporters deserve.
"They have been truly magnificent throughout a difficult season and I'm devastated that we couldn't reward them. It's definitely the low point in my career. I experienced relegation with Grimsby, but this is much worse because I've been at the club so long."
Visiting manager Gary Megson took no satisfaction in sending down a club his father Don had managed during the 1970s.
Megson said: "I played for Rovers' schoolboy team and when I got to the age of 16 I was either going to sign for them or Plymouth Argyle.
"I ended up going to Plymouth, but I never forgot my dad's time in charge of Rovers. These situations are never easy and I feel for them.
"We didn't perform to the standards we are capable of, but we could have had a second penalty because the linesman clearly signalled a foul on Neil Mellor.
"I thought Gary Madine took some unfair sick from Rovers players and fans after our first penalty. But perhaps it was understandable on a day when they were fighting for their lives."
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