Former Newcastle United captain Rob Lee believes current owner Mike Ashley must keep Alan Shearer at St James' Park to oversee the club's bid to return to the Barclays Premier League.
Lee was in the stands on Sunday as Newcastle's 16-year spell in the top flight came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa as Shearer's eight-game mission to keep the Magpies among the elite ended in failure.
But despite that Lee, who was part of the Newcastle side which won promotion to the Premier League under Kevin Keegan in 1993, insists Shearer is the only man who can ensure they spend just one season in the Championship.
"I certainly think Alan should stay, I think it is the only appointment Mike Ashley can make with the club going down. It reminds me of the situation when I joined in 1992 under Kevin Keegan when we were in the old first division," Lee told PA Sport.
"The club needs rebuilding, it has needed rebuilding for many years. Mike Ashley takes a lot of the blame, but it has been coming for a long time.
"It's disappointing for the club, but in the long term it might be a blessing in disguise, to take one step back to get two steps forward. I hope Alan stays in charge with a long-term contract because it is a long-term thing."