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Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley has promised a full inquest after the club was relegated from the Barclays Premier League for the second time in seven years.
The Magpies, whose fate was not in their own hands, were condemned to at least one season in the Sky Bet Championship along with Norwich and Aston Villa by arch-rivals Sunderland's 3-0 home victory over Everton on Wednesday evening.
In a statement aimed at fans desperate for Rafael Benitez to stay at St James' Park,- where Tottenham are the visitors on Sunday - despite the break clause in the contract he signed back in March, Charnley apologised for the club's on-field failure this season.
He said: "Tonight we are devastated at our relegation from the Premier League, as I know every single person connected to this football club will be.
"I want to thank all of the fans for the support you have shown for the club you love throughout the season, in spite of this massive disappointment and under-achievement.
"Your support throughout has been magnificent, but I want to pay particular thanks for the incredible backing you have given to Rafa and the team during the latter part of the season. Nothing more could be asked of you and I am truly sorry we have not given you the outcome you deserve.
"I also want to thank every single member of staff here. This club is their livelihood, but they are fans too. To go through the threat of relegation last season and then to suffer a worse fate this time around has been very hard for them.
"I know that each and every one of them has done whatever they could to help us out of the situation we now find ourselves in.
"We know that supporters want to know what the future holds and will want to hear more from us as soon as possible. The process of scrutinising what went wrong and planning for what is to come has already begun
"Right now, of course, Rafa and the team must prepare for the final game of the season but after that, please rest assured we will communicate more fully with supporters."
If Charnley has a job on his hands to convince Benitez his future lies on Tyneside, he perhaps faces an even bigger task to persuade fans furious at the way in which a disastrous campaign has unfolded that there is cause for optimism.
Former striker Alan Shearer, who was unable to keep the club up at the end of the 2008-09 campaign after being installed for the final eight games, tweeted: "You can't pretend it hadn't been coming. @NUFC not learned lessons from 2009. Hard as it is for me to say, well done Sam and @SunderlandAFC."
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