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Nightmare becomes reality: Newcastle condemned to the drop as Hull escape
Published : 24 May 2009 19:55:21
Newcastle's fate was finally sealed today as they were sent tumbling down to the Championship. Despite Hull's 1-0 defeat at home to a severely weakened Manchester United side, Newcastle were unable to capitalise as they went down 1-0 at Aston Villa. Alan Shearer's men can have few complaints - they were dreadful for much of the season, and were easily second best at Villa Park. Damien Duff's own goal - his deflection from Gareth Barry's long-range drive deceiving goalkeeper Steve Harper in the first half - was enough to condemn the Geordies to the second tier of English football for the first time since 1993. The Toon army travelled to the Midlands in hope but their team again let the travelling support down with a poor display. Shearer now believes Newcastle need to change from top to bottom but does not know if he will be in charge at St James' Park next season. 'Big changes need to be made, players need to go out, players need to come in,' he said. 'I can't complain, we weren't good enough over the 38 games. 'I always thought that if we came here and won or even got a point that would be enough. I always felt any team of Manchester United could go there and win the game. 'It's what's in the dressing room that hasn't been good enough. Congratulations to the other teams who have stayed up. They will build in the Premier League and this club will have to build to get back up. 'There's big changes needed to be made, from top to bottom. Big mistakes have been made.' Asked if he wanted to stay on as manager, Shearer said: 'Ask me that in a few days. I haven't even thought about it. First and foremost I haven't been offered it and I haven't thought about it. 'It's a magnificent football club, you've seen our following today. They deserve better than we've given them all season.' The result left Hull celebrating a survival by the skin of their teeth. Phil Brown's men were in the bottom three after Darron Gibson's fine first-half strike at the KC Stadium - but Duff's clanger offered them a priceless reprieve. 'I think everyone has expected us this season to be one of the bottom three and I think we have proved a lot of people wrong,' he said. 'How we have done it has been different - especially after those first nine games. 'It wasn't about the one today but the 37 before that and I don't think anyone can have any complaints. We got to where we got to with sheer guts, determination, drive - all of the things that have been questioned at times.' Sunderland also sealed their place in the Barclays Premier League next season despite a 3-2 defeat at home to Chelsea, although manager Ricky Sbragia announced his resignation after the final whistle. The Black Cats will now look for a high-profile boss after the Scot saved their season in the wake of Roy Keane's departure. 'I've had a chat with Niall Quinn this week and I think we need a bigger name to carry the club further. I've done everything I needed to,' said Sbragia. 'I was given the opportunity to manage the club - and I've kept them in the Premier League. I would like to have done it better but I'm really pleased westayed up.' Middlesbrough were given little hope before kick-off but they did themselves no favours by losing 2-1 at West Ham United. They will join Newcastle in the Championship next season and the North-East pair can now prepare for a match against Scunthorpe, who won promotion to the league after winning the League One play-off final against Millwall.