Former Newcastle owner Sir John Hall has branded the club's relegated squad "rubbish" and "useless".
Hall oversaw the Magpies' rise to become a force in the top flight before selling his shares in the club to Mike Ashley in 2007. And, following Sunday's defeat by Aston Villa - a result that ensured Championship football next year, he admits his devastation at how United's fortunes have flagged since then.
"The table doesn't lie," Hall told The Sun. "It's been desperately poor all season and the worst thing is they didn't even appear to try on Sunday. I'm not going to pull any punches. This current side is rubbish. Useless."
Hall also savaged the club's policy in the transfer market in recent seasons.
"I'm as baffled as anyone with the signings of players like Joey Barton. Then again, (former manager) Sam Allardyce said he could put him right," he said.
"As for Michael Owen, he's had too many injuries and he's never seemed to be on the ball.
"Now we are saddled with a huge wage bill. The lesson here is obvious: you can't take on yesterday's men and hope to survive. That's for a club with no ambition."
Caretaker coach Alan Shearer's future remains unresolved but Hall has joined Newcastle's fans in appealing for the former captain to help the club back up at the first attempt.
"Shearer must stay," he added.
"He doesn't have experience but then neither did Kevin Keegan the first time round. But, like Keegan, the fans have faith in him. The club is in his blood and he is a rallying point for all the supporters."
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