Stuttgart's honorary president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder has criticised his club's dealings in the transfer market since winning the Bundesliga in 2007, saying this is why they have ended up where they are now.
Stuttgart are in danger of being relegated to the second division with four games of the season remaining and Mayer-Vorfelder, who was the club's president between 1975 and 2000, says too many wrong decisions have been made.
"The biggest problem in recent years has been their transfer policy," he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.
"Big errors have been made with this. I have never understood why Stuttgart have neglected their youth system so much.
"Huge talents such as Andreas Beck or Sebastian Rudy have been sent away and old stars like Yildiray Basturk and Mauro Camoranesi have come and done absolutely nothing for the club."
Stuttgart's youth development programme is the envy of many in the Bundesliga having recently nurtured the likes of Sami Khedira, Mario Gomez and Alexander Merkel, all of whom are no longer at the club.
In their place, large sums of money have been spent on the likes of Camoranesi and Pavel Pogrebnyak, who both failed to make an impact.
Mayer-Vorfelder says that would never have happened while he was in charge.
"No new player was signed who I did not agree to," he said. "I sometimes even chose the players myself to a certain extent."
Nevertheless, Stuttgart will not go down, according to the former president of the German Football Association (DFB), although "it will be tight".