Manager Steve Tilson was left shell-shocked after watching Lincoln slip out of the Football League following their 3-0 defeat against Aldershot.
The Imps went into the final day knowing victory would ensure their safety, but they slipped to a defeat which, coupled with Barnet's 1-0 victory over Port Vale, meant they drop into the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Tilson said: "When I came in I knew it was going to be a tough job but I thought we'd done enough to be safe. We simply weren't good enough. The league table doesn't lie. It's not just this season. It has been the last three or four years that the club has been battling against relegation."
He added: "We brought in a number of good loan players and we got some good results but once those players went back to those clubs it made it more difficult for us.
"If we could have kept them until the end of the season we wouldn't have been in this position. We knew we had to win this game. It was about us getting a result. We started well enough. In the first 45 minutes we had a number of opportunities to score but we didn't take them.
"Once we conceded the first goal we crumbled. It's hugely disappointing. Even in the second half we created one or two chances but we didn't take them."
Tilson has already set his sights on rebuilding the Imps next season, indicating there needs to be a complete overhaul.
"The club needs rebuilding," he said.
"We've got to start again. There's a board meeting on Tuesday and I'll be seeing the players in the week but at the end of the day they weren't good enough.
"I hate losing at anything whether it's football, table tennis or golf. This hurts me. I just hope the players are going to be as hurt as I am."
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