Former Newcastle chairman Sir John Hall doubts whether the Magpies are good enough to survive in the Barclays Premier League ahead of today's crunch final game.
Hall handed over ownership of the club to Mike Ashley in 2007, since when fortunes have gone from bad to worse with a raft of managers coming and going and their top-flight future hanging in the balance after a disastrous season.
Victory at Aston Villa this afternoon might not be enough to stave off relegation to the Championship, and Hall lamented the degeneration. "The team is not good enough," Hall said on BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek. "They have lost too many home matches. It's a sad state of affairs. They haven't got a good team."
He added: "Some of the buys have not been very good. I'm just hoping and praying like every other fan that we stay up."
Newcastle's future rests very much in the hands of Hull, who will almost certainly ensure their own safety by matching or bettering the Magpies' result this afternoon.
The Tigers are just one point above the drop zone heading into today's clash with Manchester United at the KC Stadium, and manager Phil Brown admits he is gklad the champions have a .
He said: "Manchester United are approaching the game and three days later they're playing in the greatest cup final in club football against one of the greatest teams in the world. Team selection where they are concerned is going to be interesting."
Meanwhile, former Middlesbrough striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink admits the Teessiders appear doomed to the drop, with Gareth Southgate's men three points from safety and needing results to go their way even if they defeat West Ham at Upton Park today.
He said: "I feel sorry for Gareth Southgate - I think money-wise he couldn't buy the players he wanted.
"Hopefully they can bounce back straight away as I think they deserve to be in the Premier League."