Hull City have been relegated from the Premier League following a goalless draw with Manchester United at the KC Stadium.
Heading into the last match of the 2014/15 campaign two points adrift of 18<sup>th-place Newcastle following a run of three consecutive defeats, Steve Bruce's side needed to claim all three points at the KC Stadium and hope that West Ham could prevent their rivals from doing the same in the North East.
Former Manchester United centre-back Bruce had never previously won a competitive fixture against his former club in a managerial career spanning 17 years, but that record could easily have been ended as goalkeeper Victor Valdes, making his first start in the Premier League with in-demand number one David de Gea ruled out with a hamstring problem, produced a series of fine saves to keep Hull at bay.
Both Paul McShane and Dame N'Doye had goals chalked off for offside before the break and not even a late red card issued to Manchester United substitute Marouane Fellaini for a dangerous tackle on the Irish international could break the visitors' stern resistance.
As it happened, even a win for Hull would not have been enough to avoid a first return to the Championship since 2013 as Newcastle edged ahead at St James' Park courtesy of an emphatic header from Moussa Sissoko before Argentine Jonas Gutierrez, diagnosed with testicular cancer last year, sent tense home supporters into raptures with a decisive second five minutes from time.
"It's one of these awful, awful experiences, but it's football and there's plenty of highs and lows," Bruce, who lamented Hull's lack of firepower this season, remarked after the full-time whistle.
"We had umpteen chances today and were not able to convert them. We can have excuses but, we've not been good enough."
Elsewhere on an eventful final day, Liverpool left contract rebel Raheem Sterling on the substitutes bench and were subsequently humiliated 6-1 by Stoke at the Britannia Stadium to end a very bad week indeed for Brendan Rodgers.
Steven Gerrard did at least find the net in his last match before a summer switch to the Los Angeles Galaxy but it was not enough to avoid a devastating result that his under-pressure manager dubbed "embarrassing" and saw Liverpool finish sixth behind automatic Europa League qualifiers Tottenham.
Didier Drogba was carried from the pitch by his teammates in the first half of Chelsea's 3-1 win over Sunderland following a knee injury before returning to take centre stage during the ensuing title celebrations.
The 37-year-old, handed the captain's armband by John Terry, confirmed before kick-off that he would be leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer in order to play more regularly next season but at least finished his second stint with a positive result as replacement Diego Costa cancelled out Steven Fletcher's early opener from the penalty spot before fellow substitute Loic Remy added a brace.
Theo Walcott netted a 33-minute hat-trick as Arsenal prepared for next week's FA Cup final with a comfortable 4-1 win over West Brom, Frank Lampard scored what will likely be his final ever top-flight goal as Manchester City saw off Southampton 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium and Marouane Chamakh's strike was enough for Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace to beat Swansea and finish 10th.
Danny Ings' 11th goal of the campaign secured a slender victory for relegated Burnley at Aston Villa, meanwhile, and woeful QPR were consigned to the foot of the table following a 5-1 thumping by in-form Leicester.
In the race for the Golden Boot, the top four candidates in Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, Diego Costa and Charlie Austin all notched one final goal but the City striker took the honours after finishing five clear of his closest rival on 26.