Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy conceded he felt a sense of relief when his club's relegation from League One was confirmed.
Dale's fate was sealed with a 2-1 defeat at Chesterfield on Saturday, although not before Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro's excellent opener stirred thoughts of an improbable escape.
Dunphy, who sacked manager Steve Eyre after six months in charge in December before persuading John Coleman to leave Accrington to take the reins, believes Rochdale's squad was ultimately ill-equipped to absorb the summer losses of key men Craig Dawson and Chris O'Grady.
"It's been a season where we started off poorly and never really recovered," the Spotland chief told the Manchester Evening News. "It's alright looking back with hindsight and saying we should have changed this and we should have changed that, but the fact is the squad wasn't strong enough.
"In a way, it's a bit of a relief to get it over, we can put it behind us and start rebuilding for next season. I'm very disappointed. We knew it was coming, though being supporters we cling on right to the end."
He added: "I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we have the right man at the helm for next season in John Coleman. He will get results, he will build the team he wants and he will take us forward."