Newcastle United snatched the title out of the clutches of Brighton & Hove Albion in a dramatic end to the Championship season on Sunday.
Brighton were all set to win the competition after a long and tiring season, and went into the last day with just a point separating them from second placed Newcastle. A win against Aston Villa would have sealed the deal, and when Nathan Baker got sent off for a tackle on Sam Baldock in the penalty area, the outcome seemed predictable.
Glenn Murray stepped up and scored to make it 1-0 to the Seagulls. Villa fought till the end, but Brighton had a number of chances to put the game to bed and just did not capitalize. They seemed too laid back on the day, and despite being guaranteed promotion to the Premier League – a feat they have not accomplished in 34 years – they should have put in one last effort to win the title.
They didn’t, though, and were made to pay for their laxity as Jack Grealish found the net with just a minute to go to level the tie and hand Newcastle the title.
Chris Hughton, the Brighton manager, said: “Today is a negative day, it’s difficult, but there are far more pluses. What these lads have achieved this season has been magnificent. David has been excellent for us all season and he had made two very good saves from free-kicks before. There’s never any portion of blame. We have to accept it as a team.
“For us the season is finished and we have achieved our goal. We’re playing in a division where there are some very big teams, who have spent big money, and we have managed to come in the top two.”
Newcastle on the other hand were ruthless, tearing Barnsley apart 3-0 with goals from Ayoze Pérez, Chancel Mbemba and Dwight Gayle in front of their own fans at St. James’ Park. The win meant Newcastle were crowned champions and ensured a swift return to the Premier League just a season after being relegated from England’s top flight.
Magpies manager Rafa Benitez is set to hold talks with owner Mike Ashley this week regarding his future at the club, but it appears more than likely that the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss will remain with the Toon.
Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest both avoided relegation, as Blackburn became the first ever former Premier League champions to be relegated to League 1, English football’s third tier.
Blackburn won their game with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Brentford, but with Forest also winning 3-0, the Riversiders ended up being demoted on goal difference by a margin of just two goals.
Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic, who were the two clubs that were already relegated to League 1, ended their seasons with 1-1 draws against Derby County and Leeds United respectively.
Written by Reyhan Ashley Nath
Manchester United fan, Wayne Rooney is his role model. Passionate writer who has written for several sites in the past. He’s also an aspiring pianist and creates background music for BlameFootball’s Youtube channel.