Sunderland secured their Premier League survival on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over Everton that condemned bitter local rivals Newcastle United and Norwich City to relegation.
It was the fourth season in a row that Sunderland's fans had to endure a gruelling relegation battle before popping the champagne corks, and their victory was a crushing blow for Newcastle and Norwich, whose 4-2 win over Watford on Wednesday proved in vain.
Sunderland's win, which came courtesy of two goals from surprise hero Lamine Kone, moved them up to 38 points with one match remaining, four clear of Norwich and Newcastle.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, a master of steering teams clear of danger, led the Sunderland fans in celebration, pulling off his jacket and flexing his muscles to the crowd after the final whistle.
"There were a long few months winter months," he said. "We became a team that was difficult to beat, who did not like losing and continued the run constantly for the last few months."
Sunderland came into the game knowing victory would secure their survival regardless of other results and they dominated a lacklustre Everton from the start.
The win left boss Alex Neil cursing an end-of-season collapse that condemned his team to the second tier.
SCENES! pic.twitter.com/gCO416adJ8— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) May 11, 2016
"It is severe disappointment," he said. "In recent matches we have known it was going to be a difficult match. We had it in our hands five matches ago but we came up short.
"The story for us is that as a club, we have dropped short for a variety of reasons. We have made vital errors in games at crucial times and the recruitment has not been as good to strengthen the squad."
In a very different atmosphere to the intensity of the relegation battle, Liverpool's Christian Benteke headed a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw against last season's champions Chelsea at Anfield.
Belgian Eden Hazard had earlier lit up a mid-table clash between the division's eighth and ninth-placed sides with a superb individual goal.
City have been relegated from the @premierleague.— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) May 11, 2016
Thank you for your immense support, we're proud of you & our team's performance tonight.