Dundee United must ensure they avoid a downward spiral and return to the Scottish Premiership at the first attempt, warns midfielder John Rankin.
The Tannadice club's 20-year stay in the top flight ended with a 2-1 defeat by city rivals Dundee at Dens Park.
But with owner Stephen Thompson open to offers for his majority stake in the club, United face an uncertain future.
"There needs to be a one-hit wonder - one season and straight back up," out-of-contract Rankin warned.
"It's a massive decision for the chairman. It's Championship football next season and the club really need to go for it because it's a hard division to get out of.
"I hope there is investment because you need to come out of it as soon as possible and not be there for too long.
"You can be stuck in a spiral - in the Championship for one, two, three seasons and before you know it, it's six, seven, eight.
"It took Rangers two years. It's taken Hibs two, maybe three, possibly four, we don't know. Look at other teams that have gone down - Dunfermline ended up in League Two. When you get in that downward spiral it's hard to get out of."
|Reaction from Dundee United fans|
|Gavin Muir, chairman of Dundee United supporters group the Arab Trust: "The club needs change from top to bottom - in the boardroom, on the park, the head coach's position. I'm not a qualified football coach but there just doesn't seem to be any cohesion in his tactics or team selection."|
|Mike Barile, Dundee Utd supporter for over 50 years: "It feels almost like a death in the family, like a long, lingering illness which has finally succumbed. It just feels dreadful. Mixu has blamed everyone except himself. He needs to do the decent thing and walk."|
Rankin, who is yet to hear whether he will be offered a new contract, admitted he was "absolutely devastated" after United's relegation, which he called the "lowest point of his career".
The 32-year-old believes a swift decision is necessary over the future of manager Mixu Paatelainen, who says he is desperate to stay on and lead the club's fight to return to the top flight.
"I don't know if the chairman is trying to keep hold of the club or not but if he is, there needs to be a bit of clarity so everyone knows what is going on," Rankin added.