Sunderland AFC fans told of their optimism for the future after a season of pain ended on a bright note.
The Black Cats beat Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in a surprise result at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland ended the campaign bottom of the table and will play in the third tier of English football next season.
However, the win over Wolves – and the imminent takeover of the club by a consortium led by Stewart Donald – has led to fresh hopes for Black Cats fans.
Daniel Jenks, from Seaburn, said: “It has been a terrible season, but it was nice to end it with a win. I’m more optimistic than I was a week or two ago, so hopefully it’s onwards and upwards.”
His brother Andrew Jenks, also from Seaburn, said: “It was nice to see the team win and hopefully we can look forward with optimism now.
Once the takeover goes through, I think this place will get its sparkle backAlan Pennington
“I’d rather be relegated and get new owners in than keep the same owner and play in the Championship.”
Michael Bowers, from Boldon, said: “It was good to win, but ultimately it didn’t mean anything.
“I just hope we get the squad together to get out of League One straightaway.”
Alan Pennington, 56, from Stanhope, said: “The players played with quite a bit of expression and it was great to see. Some of the youngsters did really well, but changes still need to be made and some have to go.
“Once the takeover goes through, I think this place will get its sparkle back.
“We’ll welcome the new owners with open arms and the fact that we’ll have no debt makes it a level playing field again. Long-term, this might be the best thing to happen to this club.”
Kevin Graham, from Rowlands Gill, said: “It was a great performance – the kind they needed to produce all season. The positive is that we’ve got a chance of a fresh start now.”
Steven Waddleton, from Wingate, attended the game with son Oscar, six.
He said: “Considering we were playing against the champions, I thought we were going to get hammered.
“Hopefully we can take the positives forward and use this as momentum going into next season.”
Iain Cunningham, 39, from South Shields, said: “It was typical Sunderland.
“After a season which has been so poor from a team which is so poor, we put in a performance.
“When I first started going to games, we were in the third tier and I thought we could never go back to that level, but here we are.
“Hopefully we’ll win a few games next season, the crowd will come back and we’ll go from there.
“If the debt has been cleared and we’re starting from a neutral basis, it can only get better.”