Alan Shearer says 'disinterest' from Sunderland owner Ellis Short has contributed to Sunderland's demise.
The Black Cats saw relegation from the Premier League confirmed after a 1-0 loss at home to Bournemouth at the weekend.
It has been a miserable campaign for the Wearsiders, and Shearer says the problems at the club start at the very top.
And the Newcastle United legend says it's a shame there won't be any Tyne-Wear derbies next season after the Magpies were promoted from the Championship last week.
"I fear for them (Sunderland)," Shearer told BBC Five Live. "It's been a desperately poor season for them.
"When there’s disinterest from the top, at the very top, then I think that’s transferred itself down onto the pitch.
"I know fans in the region, well come of them, will be gloating because Sunderland have gone down but in reality they (derbies) are great games for fans to be involved in, and certainly great games for players to be involved in.
"But Sunderland have had it coming to them for the last few years, haven't they?
"They’ve flirted with relegation for the last three or four years and had a few miracles out there but it was always going to happen because of the situation that they find themselves in."