Birmingham City defender Liam Ridgewell revealed there were more than a few tears shed in the home dressing room after Blues' relegation from the Premier League on Sunday.
The 23-year-old, who captained the side during Damien Johnson's absence through injury during the season, said the reality of relegation set in very quickly after the final whistle and many of the players were overcome at the thought of playing in the Championship rather than running out at Old Trafford, Anfield and the Emirates Stadium next season.Many of the players, including Ridgewell and James McFadden, have played the vast majority of their careers in English football in the Premiership.
"The lads are devastated and it is never nice to be relegated," he said. "We tried our hardest but sadly it wasn't to be. More or less everyone shed a tear because it is a disappointing way to go."
Ridgewell, who made the controversial move across the city from Aston Villa in the summer in a deal worth £2 million, said a failure to take points off their relegation rivals proved ultimately costly. Blues took just six points from a possible 18 against Derby County, Reading and Fulham.
"We haven't got enough points and haven't got enough points off the likes of Fulham. They were crucial games and we didn't make them count," he said.
"We were doing so well up until a month ago. Fulham put a good run of results together and we didn't. It was a crucial game last week and we didn't do well.
"We never wrote off Fulham because West Ham United managed to stay up against the odds last season.
"A lot of people in the team work hard to organise the lads including myself but sometimes it just doesn't happen."
Ridgewell, who was signed by Steve Bruce before he left the club to take over at Wigan Athletic, refused to blame the managerial upheaval which led to the arrival of Alex McLeish as a reason for the club's relegation, and he admitted the squad could be in for a nervy summer as the former Scotland manager begins to mould a squad in his own image.
"Managers come and go and other teams have had managers come and go and stayed in the Premier League," Ridgewell said. "I don't think you can blame it on that and we have to look at ourselves.
"It is going to be interesting to see what happens this summer because the manager has his own ideas and wants to bring his own people in. We'll just have to wait and see."
Ridgewell is expecting the fallout from relegation to continue throughout the summer after the angry scenes at the final whistle on Sunday, when hundreds of fans raced onto the pitch to call for the resignation of the board of directors. Co-owner David Sullivan's children were left in tears as some supporters hurled abuse at Sullivan, chairman David Gold and managing director Karren Brady, which resulted in Sullivan vowing to sell his shares and Gold considering resigning.
However, Ridgewell said the players would try not to get embroiled in the row, despite team-mate Franck Queudrue angrily responding to criticism from Sullivan who called him a waste of money.
"The fans have their opinions and the chairman has his opinion as well. I am sure that will carry on for a long period of time," Ridgewell said diplomatically. "As players we have to keep away from that."