LONDON â€” No late escapes this year, Sunderland is leaving the Premier League.
The northeast club is returning to the second tier after a decade in world soccer’s richest league.
Relegation was confirmed with four games remaining in the season after a 1-0 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday.
American owner Ellis Short doesn’t mask the problems engulfing the club, saying “significant work” is now required to secure an instant return to the Premier League.
“I acknowledge that during my ownership mistakes have been made, particularly in the area of player recruitment, and as a result we have found ourselves struggling to survive in recent seasons,” Short said. “We had massive disruption during the summer transfer window and an unprecedented number of injuries throughout the season. These are difficulties which we have been unable to overcome and we are paying the price for that now.”
Short expressed “sadness, disappointment, anger and frustration.” Little wonder when the club also recorded a loss of 33 million pounds ($43 million) in the last financial year, with a debt of 110 million pounds ($142 million).
“We need to improve, both on and off the field,” Short said, “and despite the bitter disappointment of today, there is a strong determination to do so throughout the club.”
Sunderland is stranded at the bottom of the standings, an impossible 13 points adrift of safety, and fans vented their frustration at David Moyes, demanding the manager’s firing.
“I hoped it would never come around at any time but I’m disappointed for the supporters, disappointed that we couldn’t give them more,” the former Manchester United and Everton manager said. “They come here in their thousands week in, week out. They travel in their thousands as well.
“I know that cash isn’t easy up this part, so I appreciate every penny they put into the club by watching the team, so my thoughts are with them. I’m just sorry that we weren’t able to do a better job.”
A job like Bournemouth, which has effectively secured a third season in the Premier League thanks to Josh King’s 88th-minute goal.
“Look at the size of the clubs we are competing against week in, week out,” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said. “The Premier League is unforgiving. It’s such a good standard this year. With the money spent, the managers coming into the league, it’s such a competitive league as you saw today on the pitch.
“There was very little between the teams today but we managed to nick a big win for us. But it’s an unforgiving league and small margins decide every game.”
Here’s a look at Saturday’s other games:
SOUTHAMPTON 0, HULL 0
Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic saved a late penalty kick from Dusan Tadic to boost his team’s survival hopes.
Marco Silva has now guided Hull to 21 points from his 15 league games since taking charge, with the team one place and three points above the relegation zone. Southampton is ninth.
WEST BROM 0, LEICESTER 1
Jamie Vardy extended his hot scoring streak as the champions moved closer to safety with only their second away win of a dismal title defence.
Midtable Leicester moved nine points clear of the bottom three with four matches remaining. Vardy struck in the 43rd minute at the Hawthorns for his eighth goal in 12 matches since Craig Shakespeare replaced Claudio Ranieri as manager for the rest of the season.
Tony Pulis’ eighth-placed team has lost four in a row.
CRYSTAL PALACE 0, BURNLEY 2
Burnley’s relegation fears were eased with its first away win of the Premier League season secured by goals from Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray. It lifted Burnley above Palace and eight points clear of danger.
STOKE 0, WEST HAM 0
Goalkeeper Jack Butland achieved his first clean sheet in his second game back from injury in front of England manager Gareth Southgate.
West Ham is eight points above the drop zone with three games remaining, while Stoke is a point better off.
Rob Harris, The Associated Press