The old sporting cliché that you couldn’t have written the script has
never been more appropriate after the final round of the UK Premier
League season decided the three clubs to be relegated from the
Premiership. It was a day of remarkable dramas to conclude the most
suspenseful relegation lottery in the league’s history.

As the final day kicked off, a resurgent West Bromwich Albion started
on the bottom, but evaded the drop by beating Portsmouth 2-0 –
surviving by a single point to be transformed from relegation
certainties to the unlikeliest of survivors. The club created Premier
League history by becoming the first team to stay up after being bottom
at Christmas.

Southampton might have a smashing new stadium and a Kevin Sheedy like
record of 27 years in the top league, but it’s now gone from the
Premiership after a shattering but hardly disgraceful 2-1 home defeat
at the head and feet of Manchester United.

Crystal Palace found themselves just eight minutes
from surviving relegation until Charlton’s equaliser sent them packing,
while Norwich City decided to not just tumble from the Premiership
after starting the day safe in 17th position, but threw in the towel for good measure as they collapsed to a
6-0 thumping at Fulham.

Not only was West Brom’s safety a fairytale of survival, but the
relegation script gave all four teams an opportunity to feel they could
survive, before West Brom finally drew the only long straw.

With all Premier League clubs engaged on the final day, the other side
show was whether Middlesbrough could claim the final European
qualifying spot up for grabs, which they did against visiting Manchester
City with a 1-1 draw. But not before Socceroos keeper Mark
Schwarzer became the man of the moment with a late penalty save from
Robbie Fowler that would have seen City leap over Boro to claim seventh
spot if they had won.

BBC Sport online produced this schedule of how the relegation
denouement unfolded this morning between the four clubs eligible for
the drop:

Kick-off with NORWICH in 17th and out of the bottom three
10 mins: SOUTHAMPTON safe as they score and Norwich concede
58 mins: WEST BROM safe as they take lead against Pompey
71 mins: CRYSTAL PALACE safe as they go 2-1 in front at Charlton
82 mins: WEST BROM safe as Charlton level against Palace
Full-time: WEST BROM confirmed safe as final whistle goes on 2-2 draw at Charlton