Saturday's Premier League action saw confirmed what many saw coming for a number of months as Sunderland suffered relegation to the Championship.
Sunderland needed a win at home against AFC Bournemouth to keep alive their faint hopes of survival but the Black Cats who have been awful all season under Coach David Moyes were beaten at the Stadium of Light.
Little has gone right for Sunderland ever since Sam Allardyce, who saved the club from relegation last season with just one defeat in their final 10 games, left to join England.
Moyes, who was appointed at the start of the season, said Sunderland's managers have shouldered the majority of the blame for the failures over recent years at the Stadium of Light.
"Now they have been challenged to avoid their season tailing off and get the five points needed to beat last season's tally".
The drought was eventually ended with a 2-2 home draw against West Ham United, but by then Sunderland's fate was virtually sealed and a 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough left them on the precipice.
Sunderland captain John O'Shea said the close season would provide an opportunity for the northeast club to take stock.
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Whether Moyes will bounce back with Sunderland is still unclear, with the manager tightlipped on his future after the "worst day" of his career. "We have to try and give them something to cheer about".
18 - Moyes' side have failed to score in 18 league games this season, the most in the Premier League. "We're all disappointed and I feel more for the supporters. I'm just sorry that we weren't able to do a better job".
His strike was his 17th of the season, his third in the last four games and his eighth in 12 matches under the control of manager Craig Shakespeare. "We're really pleased for Artur, he's been so consistent for us and in really good form".
"We have come back a few times with some great fightbacks but weren't able to do it this season", the Republic of Ireland global said.
Sunderland have been relegated from the Premier League. First and foremost, when I look around the dressing room, I can see there are people hurting massively, but when you see the travelling support again it amazes me every time. The club made an operating profit of £1.5m and reduced the debt burden from £133.2m to £110.4m during the year to 31 July 2016.
"It was a scrappy game from our perspective", Howe said.
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