Former chairman Sir John Hall has warned Newcastle United they can expect to spend up to three years in the Championship should they suffer relegation on the final day of the season.
The Magpies are in grave danger of dropping out of the Premier League ahead of Sunday's trip to Aston Villa and Hall has issued a stark warning over the club's short-term future.
Hall sold his controlling share of the club to Mike Ashley in 2007.
Referring to Leeds United's demise from the Premier League to League One within five seasons, he told BBC Radio Five Live: "I don't think it's as bad as Leeds.
"If they go down, it might take them two or three years to rebuild the team and get out of the Championship.
"But the club is too strong to be in Leeds' situation."
Meanwhile, Hall believes Alan Shearer should be persuaded to stay on as manager next season whether he guides the club to Premier League safety of not.
"I have the utmost regard for Alan Shearer," he added.
""If ever there is a dedicated professional, it's Alan Shearer.
"I hope he stays. He will be welcomed by all the fans and everyone will rally round him."