Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez hailed his team as deserved title-winners after they pipped Brighton to the Championship on a dramatic final day.
The Magpies 3-0 win over Barnsley saw them overtake Brighton, who conceded a costly 89th-minute equaliser at 10-man Aston Villa. Both teams had already guaranteed their promotion to the Premier League.
Benitez said: “We conceded less than anyone, we scored – along with Norwich and Fulham – more than the other teams, and even after losing two games at the start of the season we showed character.
“We did the right things, stayed calm and worked as hard as the others. We made less mistakes and we showed we were champions.”
Brighton boss Chris Hughton sought the silver lining after his team’s failure to win any of their last three games cost them the title.
“Today is a negative day, but there are far more pluses,” said Hughton. “What these lads have achieved this season has been magnificent.”
Reading won 4-2 at Burton Albion to clinch third place, as fourth-placed Sheffield Wednesday suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Fulham, who finished sixth and will meet the Royals in the play-off semi-finals.
Fifth-placed Huddersfield, Wednesday’s opponents in the play-offs, lost 3-0 at home to Cardiff.
13 May: Fulham v Reading, 5.30pm
14 May: Huddersfield v Sheff Wed, 12.00pm
16 May: Reading v Fulham, 7.45pm
17 May: Sheff Wed v Huddersfield, 7.45pm
29 May: Final, 3.00pm