Newcastle United and Norwich City have both been relegated from the Premier League following Sunderland's emphatic victory at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening (11 May). Knowing that one more win would secure top-flight football for a 10th consecutive season and condemn their bitter rivals to the drop, the Black Cats ran out 3-0 winners over a desperately poor Everton side courtesy of Patrick van Aanholt's free-kick and a brace from defender Lamine Kone.
The result means that Sunderland, who have spent a whopping 237 days in the bottom three this term, stay 17th but move four points clear of danger with just one match remaining. Norwich were also in action and bounced back from an early Troy Deeney effort to beat Watford 4-2 after goals from Nathan Redmond and Dynamo Kiev loanee Dieumerci Mbokani. That win saw them end a dismal run of four consecutive defeats without scoring, but it means little as last year's play-off winners make an immediate return to the Championship.
"We left it too late," manager Alex Neil said after the full-time whistle at Carrow Road. "In games gone we had opportunities and didn't take them. It's been a season of too many errors. Over the course of the season we didn't perform as well as we'd have liked. We've all fallen a bit short. Ultimately the burden lays with me. The support at the end was very humbling. I feel as though I've let them down."
Newcastle, who failed to beat already relegated Aston Villa at the weekend, last visited the second tier in 2009-10 after Toon legend Alan Shearer failed to prolong their 16-year stay in the Premier League. That proved to be quite an enjoyable season, however, as Chris Hughton's side won 30 of their 46 games with a +55 goal difference and amassed 102 points, just four short of Reading's Football League record.
After their latest demotion was confirmed, a statement from Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley said: "Tonight we are devastated at our relegation from the Premier League, as I know every single person connected to this football club will be. I want to thank all of the fans for the support you have shown for the Club you love throughout the season, in spite of this massive disappointment and underachievement.
"Your support throughout has been magnificent, but I want to pay particular thanks for the incredible backing you have given to Rafa and the team during the latter part of the season. Nothing more could be asked of you and I am truly sorry we have not given you the outcome you deserve.
"I also want to thank every single member of staff here. This Club is their livelihood, but they are fans too. To go through the threat of relegation last season and then to suffer a worse fate this time around has been very hard for them. I know that each and every one of them has done whatever they could to help us out of the situation we now find ourselves in.
"We know that supporters want to know what the future holds and will want to hear more from us as soon as possible. The process of scrutinising what went wrong and planning for what is to come has already begun. Right now, of course, Rafa and the team must prepare for the final game of the season but after that, please rest assured we will communicate more fully with supporters."
Newcastle, who appointed Rafael Benitez as successor to Steve McClaren in March in an unsuccessful bid to stave off relegation, bow out against Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park on Sunday (15 May). Norwich are away to Everton, who will likely be searching for a new manager this summer as the pressure continues to mount on Roberto Martinez. Triumphant Sunderland visit Watford.