LONDON - Hull City were relegated and Newcastle United survived the drop on a dramatic final day of the Premier League season on Sunday while West Ham United announced that manager Sam Allardyce's contract was not being renewed at Upton Park.
While the spotlight shone brightest at St James' Park, where Newcastle preserved their top flight status by beating West Ham United 2-0, the mood was a lot darker at KC Stadium where Hull drew 0-0 with Manchester United to finish in the bottom three. "We just haven't been good enough. I thought at the start of the season that we had enough to stay up but we haven't done enough," Hull manager Steve Bruce told Sky Sports. "You can look for all sorts of excuses: injuries, suspensions, but in the end we have not been good enough, and that goes for me too at the top." Elsewhere, the goals flew in at Stoke City, Leicester City and Arsenal, who warmed up for next week's FA Cup final against Aston Villa with a 4-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Champions Chelsea enjoyed the party atmosphere at Stamford Bridge where they came from behind to beat Sunderland 3-1 with Loic Remy scoring twice and Diego Costa once from the penalty spot as their season ended on a high with the presentation of the Premier League trophy after the game.
Didier Drogba's final match in a Chelsea shirt ended with him being chaired off by his team mates during the first half as the fans gave him a standing ovation.
There was a far worse send-off for Steven Gerrard who suffered his heaviest defeat in more than 700-plus matches for Liverpool in their 6-1 hammering at Stoke City.
The fact he scored their only goal was little consolation as Liverpool crashed to their heaviest league defeat for 52 years.
Frank Lampard marked his final Premier League appearance by scoring Manchester City's first goal in their 2-0 win over Southampton as last year's champions finished second behind Chelsea.
With Tottenham Hotspur winning 1-0 at Everton thanks to Harry Kane's 31st goal of the season, Spurs finish fifth, Liverpool sixth and Southampton seventh.
Spurs claimed the Europa League group stage place, Liverpool go into the playoffs and the Saints will have to wait for the outcome of the Cup final to see if they are in the competition.
If Villa beat Arsenal in the final, they will claim it instead.
Hull's fate was sealed by Newcastle's win over the Hammers where goals from Moussa Sissoko and Jonas Gutierrez secured all three points and safety for Newcastle who finally halted their nosedive down the table after 10 matches without a win.
Gutierrez's goal completed a fairytale for the player who was diagnosed with testicular cancer two years ago and only returned to the team earlier this season. "I told the players it was going to be a 90-minute rollercoaster and I thought we controlled our emotions quite well," manager John Carver told the BBC. "We knew what was happening at Hull but we had to go about our own business, credit to Sam Allardyce for putting out a strong side, there were no gimmes and it was a good performance." Allardyce meanwhile became the former manager at West Ham United minutes after the final whistle when the Hammers issued a statement to confirm that he would not be retained after four years at Upton Park. "The club have begun the search for a new manager after deciding not to renew Sam Allardyce's contract," West Ham said.
Arsenal remained the bookies favourite to retain the FA Cup after Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick and Jack Wilshere also found the net in their 4-1 win over West Brom while Villa lost 1-0 at home to relegated Burnley.
They drop down to the Championship with Hull and already-relegated Queens Park Rangers, whose dismal season ended with a 5-1 thrashing at Leicester City.