Jonathan Jackson admits Wigan Athletic’s immediate return to League One is ‘a bitter pill to take’ for everyone at the DW Stadium.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Reading confirmed Wigan’s fate with one game to go - although even a win wouldn’t have been enough with relegation rivals Birmingham and Blackburn both winning.
And the Latics chief executive could not hide his disappointment in the aftermath at the Madejski Stadium.
“I feel quite down,” Jackson admitted. “I know it’s been coming, and it would have taken an unusual set of results to stay up, but even so it’s a bitter pill to take.
“We’ll dust ourselves down and we’ll be back next season, and we think we’ve got the players to bring success back to this football club.
“There are lots of highs and lows in football. We enjoyed the highs last season.
“In the last five years we’ve had an FA Cup win, a relegation, a play off, a relegation, a promotion and now a relegation.
“Every single season seems to have an extreme emotion.
“I guess that’s football - but we’ve felt it more than most.”
The emotions at full-time were in stark contrast to this time last year, when Latics were celebrating winning promotion from League One on a memorable afternoon in Blackpool.
“We had a great time last year in League One,” acknowledged Jackson.
“There were a lot of North West-based teams, and our fans really enjoyed it.
“We’ll certainly look forward to that again.
“It was a really enjoyable time last year, and hopefully we can replicate that.
“But we know it’s going to be tough.
“We haven’t got parachute payments this time.”
Interim boss Graham Barrow was unable to rescue the situation, having taken over last month from Warren Joyce, who himself had succeeded Gary Caldwell in November.
“The Championship has been very tough,” recognised Jackson.
“Unfortunately we’ve not been good enough.
“We’ve not scored enough goals, we’ve not won enough matches...and we have to put that right next season.”