You have to hand it to Sunderland, nobody can quite do a relegation like they can.
Rock bottom of the Premier League last season with only 24 points from 38 matches, they proved one of the worst ever teams in this PL era.
To then immediately follow that up as being one of the worst ever Championship clubs of recent times, takes some doing.
After the disastrous and hilarious late collapse against Burton, it not only guaranteed consecutive relegations, it also more or less ensures the Mackems will finish bottom of the table once again.
Sunderland were actually lucky this season, in terms of not having been relegated already a month ago, Blackburn went down on 51 points last season and on 34 points from 44 matches, yet again the Wearsiders are set to finish a season with less than 40 points, which takes some doing when it is a level down and with eight more matches to play – compared to the Premier League.
It is only when you go back through their Premier League existence that you realise just how badly and for how long, Sunderland have been absolutely stinking out the top tier.
Sunderland got promoted from the Championship back in 2006/07, then spent 10 seasons in the Premier League.
Every single season, apart from a purple patch (SAFC ‘Glory Days’) in seasons starting 2009-2011, they failed to get to the 40 points mark.
They managed two 13th place finishes with 44 and 45 points in 2009/10 and 2011/12, with the heady heights of 10th in 2010/11 with 47 points.
The rest of those years they have just basically been clinging on, wasting everybody’s time, six times they finished with a points total in the 30s and yet survived, including the last four seasons before they eventually did go down last season.
Talk about riding your luck, stumbling along until it all caught up with them eventually, relegated with only the 24 points.
In contrast, even despite Mike Ashley’s best efforts, Newcastle have still usually comfortably passed that 40 points mark.
On the three occasions NUFC have failed to do so, they were relegated twice! I’m not complaining because Newcastle deserved to go down both times – but it does sum up how useless Sunderland have been in this period, with only luck and a donation of points from Newcastle in recent years helping them to cling on.
It is maybe telling that once Newcastle were out of the picture, Sunderland have totally collapsed and crashed through the divisions. Lending plenty weight to the argument that the only thing that has kept them going over the years has been the desperation to try and get one over on Newcastle – their whole reason for being.
All of those years when Newcastle beat Sunderland season after season, obviously we really enjoyed the actual days/matches, but it was really just a part of the broader picture of helping NUFC to do as well as possible to try and finish as high as possible and hopefully compete.
Not a trophy in itself, a bit like the ‘North East Top Dogs’ accolade, that was only talked about on the rare occasions when the Mackems did manage to finish higher than their local rivals.
Here are the points totals and league positions of both Sunderland and Newcastle in the time period outlined above:
39 points (15th) 2007/08 (Newcastle 43 – 12th)
36 points (16th) 2008/09 (Newcastle 34 – 18th)
44 points (13th) 2009/10 (Newcastle 102 – Championship winners)
47 points (10th) 2010/11 (Newcastle 46 – 12th)
45 points (13th) 2011/12 (Newcastle 65 – 5th)
39 points (17th) 2012/13 (Newcastle 41 – 16th)
38 points (14th) 2013/14 (Newcastle 49 – 10th)
38 points (16th) 2014/15 (Newcastle 39 – 15th)
39 points (17th) 2015/16 (Newcastle 37 – 18th)
24 points (20th) 2016/17 (Newcastle 94 – Championship winners)
34 points (24th in Championship – 2 games to go) 2017/18 (Newcastle 41 – 10th – 4 games to go)
Here’s hoping that it is a long long time before we meet up again.