Norwich City relegated from Premier League for sixth time as late Burnley comeback seals their fate
Norwich City have been relegated from the Premier League for a record sixth time after they lost at Aston Villa and fellow strugglers Burnley completed a late comeback to beat Watford.
Goals from Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings meant the Canaries were beaten 2-0 at Villa Park, but it had looked like Norwich would survive for another week when Watford were 1-0 up against Burnley.
However, two late strikes from Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill ensured the Clarets took all three points home from Vicarage Road to aid their own safety bid - sealing Norwich's fate in the process.
It means Norwich are the first club in Premier League history to be relegated from the division on six separate occasions.
It was perhaps written in the stars that relegation would be confirmed at head coach Dean Smith's former club, with the boyhood Villa fan having been sacked by the Villains earlier this season.
Norwich moved swiftly to give him an immediate return to the dugout after they dismissed Daniel Farke, but he failed to turn around their fortunes.
In truth, relegation had looked inevitable for much of the campaign, but they were finally put out of their misery at Villa Park after another typically tame defeat.
The introduction of Ings proved to be key, with the former Southampton striker setting up Watkins for the opener just before half-time, before then getting on the scoresheet himself in stoppage time to condemn Norwich to the drop.
Ironically, Norwich celebrated winning the Championship title on the same Villa Park pitch back in May 2019 but they will now to have to dust themselves down and try to mount yet another promotion bid next season.
With four matches still remaining, it's also the earliest Norwich have ever been relegated - yet another sobering stat from a season everyone associated with the club can't wait to end.
Analysis - ITV News Anglia sports reporter Andy Ward
So, here we go again.
Once more, Norwich have come up to the Premier League and swiftly exited again with barely a whimper.
It's a feeling Canaries fans have become all too accustomed to, with Norwich having been immediately relegated following promotion to the Premier League three times in a row now, but this one will sting more than the rest.
There was a certain amount of mitigation two seasons ago, with a lack of spending and the arrival of the pandemic scuppering their chances on that occasion, but the same excuses can't be used this time.
Norwich did spend money last summer, the most they've ever spent in fact, but clearly, they didn't spend it wisely.
The sale of star player Emi Buendía to Aston Villa was a hammer blow of course, but there was optimism among Norwich fans that they had strengthened the squad as a whole with exciting young talents such as Christos Tzolis and Milot Rashica coming in.
However, the majority of the new signings just haven't worked, and as the season as progressed, the confidence has drained.
It's been a disaster off the pitch as well. The much-publicised BK8 sponsorship saga over the summer set the tone for what was to come, and the sacking of head coach Daniel Farke, just months after he'd been given a bumper new deal, was something few supporters would have seen coming before the campaign kicked off.
To make matters worse, sporting director Stuart Webber has also come under fire from some fans in recent weeks, with frustrations, perhaps understandably, beginning to boil over.
Repairing that relationship must be an immediate priority in the coming weeks.
Norwich remain a well run club who will be strongly fancied to bounce straight back up, but unless everyone starts pulling in the same direction again, they could be their own worst enemy....