May 11, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT
With the happy comes the sad, and it is a depressing day for fans of three teams, all with three different stories.
With little drama down the stretch, Norwich City, Fulham, and Cardiff City were dumped into the Championship via Premier League relegation.
Norwich were just outside the relegation zone for much of the season, but a brutal fixture list down the stretch doomed the Canaries, and their poor goal differential of -32 (17 behind West Brom in front of them) meant it was virtually impossible for them to save their season on the final day.
With the writing appearing on the wall in early April, they attempted to turn things around by sacking Chris Hughton five points above the zone, but interm manager Neil Adams was powerless to turn things around.
They could have been steered safe, but the remarkable turnaround by Gus Poyet at Sunderland engulfed the Canaries and sent them down.
Fulham have been in the drop zone for nearly the entire season, and their basement position saw two managers in Martin Jol and Rene Meulensteen lose their jobs.
Their relegation ends a 13-year Premier League run, the fourth-longest run in Premier League history, but it had been coming for some time. A refusal by former owner Mohamed Al Fayed to spend in his final years owning the club (presumably preparing the financial books for a sale) meant their roster was stocked with bargains and journeymen, and relegation was a foregone conclusion.
An attempt by new owner Shahid Khan to spend in January brought in Kostas Mitroglou for a club-record fee, but he was on the sidelines with a nagging injury for nearly the entire second-half of the season.
They, like Sunderland, had plenty of opportunities to steer themselves safe down the stretch, but unlike the Black Cats, the Whites fell in chance after chance and there’s only one ending with results like this.
Finally, Cardiff City saw their Premier League tenure come to an end after just one season. They become the only of last year’s three promoted teams to see their way back into the Championship, with Hull City and Crystal Palace both safe.
The club saw plenty of turmoil throughout the season, most notably mercurial chairman Vincent Tan’s public feud with former manager Malky Mackay, and the boss always wins. Mackay was sacked just after Christmas. Tan appointed former Manchester United player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but they fared even worse under the Norwegian.
Their places will be taken by Leicester City, Burnley, and the winner of the Championship playoff, involving QPR, Wigan, Derby County, and Brighton Hove & Albion.
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