Sunderland survived the relegation battle after defeating Everton at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night.
Patrick van Aanholt’s opener and Lamine Kone’s brace earned the Black Cats a 3-0 victory over Everton to inevitably relegate fierce rival Newcastle United and Norwich City.
The victory took Sam Allardyce’s side four points clear of danger with one game remaining.
Norwich returned to the Championship a year after promotion despite a 4-2 win over Watford, while Newcastle, Sunderland’s arch rivals, will play in the second tier for the first time since 2010.
It is the fourth season in a row that Sunderland have pulled off a late escape to avoid relegation and it guarantees the northeast club top-flight football for a 10th consecutive season. Allardyce was the architect of their surge to safety, succeeding the sacked
Dick Advocaat in October and overseeing a late-season run that has seen them take 11 points from a possible 15.
The no-nonsense Allardyce has made a career out of working with teams in trouble. With stints in the Premier League with Bolton, Blackburn, Newcastle, West Ham and Sunderland, Big Sam has never been relegated.
A record that makes him one of the most valuable managers in the league, Allardyce transformed a disjointed Sunderland side into an organised unit that ultimately deserved to stay up.
“It’s the attitude of the players who absorb the pressure and deliver a performance like that,” He told Sky Sports in a post-match interview.
“That’s what’s happened over the past 10 games — only one defeat. It’s pretty miraculous. To the lads and all the staff, thank you very much.”
That Sunderland sent Newcastle down in saving themselves will go down in local legend, in north-east history. It will be there forever. Never to be erased. Never to be forgotten.
For Norwich – who defeated Watford 4-2 on Wednesday night, it was a valiant fight for a newly-promoted team to stay up and they will have an opportunity to come again.
Alex Neil’s Norwich got the better of Watford after goals from Nathan Redmond, Dieumerci Mbokani and a Craig Cathcart own goal ensured the Canaries got a deserved victory in their last home game of the season.
“Obviously it’s a severe disappointment,” said Neil, the Norwich manager. “We’ve known it was going to be a really difficult task. We had it in our hands three, four, five games ago, but unfortunately we came up short.”
However for Newcastle it was a shambolic catalogue of catastrophic errors as they lost their way and lost their top-flight status and simply left it too late for Rafael Benítez to try to save them.
This will always go down in the Magpies’ history, that they were relegated by bitter rivals, Sunderland.
Sunderland fans now look optimistically towards next season, as Allardyce will work to ensure they take this form into the 2016/17 campaign.
The Black Cats travel to Watford on the last day of the Premier League season with their survival guaranteed.
In the day’s other game, Christian Benteke’s stoppage-time header earned Europa League finalists Liverpool a 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea, to cancel out Eden Hazard’s first half opener.