London: Newcastle United's managing director issued an apology to fans after Wednesday's relegation from the English Premier League, saying the club were "devastated" and "truly sorry".
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez gestures during the EPL game against Aston at Villa Park last week. Pic/AFP
Bitter neighbours Sunderland's 3-0 win at home to Everton on Wednesday was enough to put Newcastle in the Championship as they were consigned to the dreaded drop the alongside Norwich City and Aston Villa.
"Tonight we are devastated at our relegation from the Premier League, as I know every single person connected to this football club will be," said managing director Lee Charnley in a statement.
"I want to thank all of the fans for the support you have shown for the club you love throughout the season, in spite of this massive disappointment and underachievement.
"Your support throughout has been magnificent, but I want to pay particular thanks for the incredible backing you have given to Rafa (Benitez) and the team during the latter part of the season. Nothing more could be asked of you and I am truly sorry we have not given you the outcome you deserve."
Newcastle's demotion, which comes 12 months after a last-day victory against West Ham preserved their Premier League status, puts the future of manager Rafael Benitez in doubt. The Spaniard was in charge of giants Real Madrid before being sacked in January.
"We know that supporters want to know what the future holds and will want to hear more from us as soon as possible," added Charnley. "Right now, of course, Rafa and the team must prepare for the final game of the season but after that, please rest assured we will communicate more fully with supporters."