Blackburn make unwanted history, Newcastle champions
LONDON: Blackburn Rovers became the first Premier League champions to drop into the third tier of English football on Sunday whilst Newcastle claimed the Championship title on a nerveracking final day.
Wins for another historic club, two-time European champions Nottingham Forest — 3-0 over Ipswich — and Chineseowned Birmingham City, who beat Bristol City 1-0, condemned Rovers.
Blackburn were Premier League champions in 1995, but their fortunes have dived under the ownership of the Indian poultry firm Venky’s.
Rafael Benitez and his Newcastle side did what they had to do in beating Barnsley 3-0 but it took a howler from Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale to ensure they returned to the Premier League as champions.
Brighton, who started the day a point ahead of Newcastle, looked to be heading to a 1-0 win over Aston Villa until Stockdale somehow failed to prevent Jack Grealish’s long-range effort going into the net and the Seagulls were held 1-1.
“The thing to be proud of is all the hard work done during the season has earned its reward today,” said Benitez, whose name was chanted in raucous fashion by the home fans.
Blackburn departed with a 3-1 win over Brentford but that was little consolation as they contemplate League One and third-tier football for the first time since 1980.
“There’s a bit of talking to be had,” Rovers manager Tony Mowbray told Sky Sports.
“Ideally we’ll start this journey with it being as low as this club gets and move forward.”
Things had looked rosy for Rovers early on as they stormed into a 2-0 lead at Brentford, Scottish international midfielder Charlie Mulgrew’s goal, a delightful freekick, the pick of the two.
However, by the time Craig Conway converted a late penalty to make it 3-1 the game was up for Rovers because Forest and Birmingham were winning.
Forest’s hero was Congolese striker Britt Assombalonga who