Newcastle slip out of Premiership in day of drama


The unthinkable happened as Newcastle slipped out of The Premier League on a dramatic final day of Premier League action.

Alan Shearer could not produce the miracle his army of faithful followers craved as The Magpies lost 1-0 to Aston Villa, joining Middlesbrough in The Championship after Gareth Southgate's men went down 2-1 to West Ham.

Tyne-Tees despair spelt ecstasy for Hull and Sunderland though, who clung on to their Premier League status by the skin of their teeth despite losses to Manchester United and Chelsea respectively.

Elsewhere, Fulham will march into the newly-formed Europa League next season after Tottenham lost to Liverpool 3-1.


Not since Leeds went into financial meltdown has there been such a major Premier League casualty, after Newcastle failed to pick up the point needed to drag themselves out the bottom three. On a nerve-jangling final day, Damien Duff's unfortunate deflection from Gareth Barry's wild shot proved to be the unlucky dagger to the heart that summed up Newcastle's season. Backed by their army of fans, The Magpies threw on Michael Owen late on to grab a crucial equaliser, but it wasn't to be as Shearer must now contemplate a potential future in The Championship.
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Hull and Phil Brown ended the day singing in utter joy as they stayed up, despite losing 1-0 to Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson risked the wrath of a potential national outcry by fielding a totally second-string XI, but Darron Gibson's wonder strike was enough to make sure the champions' integrity remained intact, while Hull had done enough before kick-off.
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Sunderland can look forward to the prospect of massive financial investment in England's top flight after they enjoyed a relatively comfortable day losing 3-2 to Chelsea. The Black Cats were never in danger of relegation all afternoon, despite Nicolas Anelka's wonder goal that earns him the golden boot. Kieran Richardson had Sunderland level, but further strikes from Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole rendered Kenwyne Jones' late strike a mere consolation - not that anybody cared at that point.
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Middlesbrough can still look forward to Tyne-Tees derbies next season, but they will be played with a Championship feel after Gareth Southgate could not pull off the miracle on Sunday. Boro needed a five-goal swing to get out of trouble, but goals from Carlton Cole and Junior Stanislas cancelled out Gary O'Neil's strike as The Hammers finished an impressive season with a 2-1 victory.
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At the top end of the table, Roy Hodgson's magic conjured up a European adventure for Fulham as they booked seventh spot, regardless of their 2-0 defeat to Everton. Leon Osman grabbed both goals to give his England claims a boost, sending The Toffees to Wembley for the FA Cup final in buoyant mood.
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Tottenham miss out on Europe but can still be proud of a wonderful turnaround under Harry Redknapp, who ended on a losing note as Liverpool won 3-1. The Reds finish the season as the first side in Premier League history to lose only two games without winning the league, but Fernando Torres' 50th goal for the club, Dirk Kuyt's deflected effort and Yossi Benayoun's late finish gave departing legend Sami Hyypia a winning send-off. Robbie Keane scored on his return to Anfield, but refrained from celebrating what must have been a sweet goal.
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