One of the biggest disappointments a team can suffer is being relegated. It stings especially to be dropped from the Premier League, which boasts the most lucrative domestic television contract of top-flight leagues. Every season, three teams are forced to drop down the Championship. With Hull's loss against Palace over the weekend, the Tigers became the last of the three relegated teams, joining Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
Here's a quick look at how each of these sides fell down the table and how they can work their way back to England's top flight.
Hull City: How they got relegated
The Tigers started the season in turmoil and it's surprising they were able to stave off relegation as long as they did. Steve Bruce resigned in the summer and Mike Phelan took over as caretaker manager before being named their permanent boss. With injuries piling up and few additions coming in the door, there were concerns that Hull wouldn't even be able to field a full team.
Their two wins to start the season were a mirage, and by the time they sold Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore in the winter, it seemed like the white flag was being waved. Marco Silva's arrival to replace Phelan in January saw Hull pull off a few results to help their case, but Hull were already behind the 8-ball. It'd be a surprise if Silva stays with the club after proving himself capable of being a Premier League manager.
Hull City: How they can get back to the top flight
A lot of Hull's future hinges on if owner/chairman Assem Allam decides to open up the purse strings. Hull had a run of bad luck and instability that doomed them early, but they have a shot to bounce back and make another return to the Prem. If Silva stays, that'd be a big boost. If Allam can't pump money into the team, they might have to sell off some of their remaining prized assets to fund squad reinforcement.
Harry Maguire, Abel Hernandez and Andy Robertson are the names that pop up most frequently and all, some or none could be moved if the price is right. Hull should also find time to work in some of their more talented youth players such as Jarrod Bowen and Josh Tymon. That might not look or sound like a recipe for returning to the Premier League, but it might be the only option for Hull.
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Middlesbrough: How they got relegated
After spending seven seasons trying to get back to the Premier League, Boro are headed back down after a one-year stint. As a newly promoted team, Boro always faced an uphill battle when it came to staying up. They brought with them a strong defense, but lacked the finishing product and goal-scoring required to stay in the top flight. Alvaro Negredo did what he could, but the 31-year-old forward's team-leading nine league goals weren't enough to save Boro.
Barcelona product Adama Traore was supposed to provide a punch upon his summer arrival from Aston Villa, but has been a colossal failure. His zero goals and one assist in 27 appearances served as a bellwether of Boro's infertility in front of goal.
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Middlesbrough: How they can get back into the top flight
Boro made it to the Prem on the laurels of their defense in 2015/16 and should aim to do the same next season. During their promotion campaign, they conceded a league-low 31 goals in their 46 matches. Even in the Premier League they held their own, allowing 50 goals. Fortunately, they don't look like a club that will be raided for assets as they're relegated. Keeping homegrown captain Ben Gibson is paramount, but the centerback can't be faulted if he leaves the club.
Though they'll need to score to collect points, the level of defenses they'll face in the Championship won't be as difficult to break down as the teams they competed against in the Premier League. Adding a credible goal-scoring threat would be nice, but maybe Traore can gain some confidence against Championship-level teams.
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Sunderland: How they got relegated
A lot went wrong for Sunderland this season, and unlike seasons in the past, they didn't have the fightback to avoid the drop. The first team to ensure relegation, nothing went right for the Black Cats, as loss after loss doomed them early on. They went 11 weeks before earning their first win and goals were hard to come by. Sunderland failed to score in a whopping 19 Premier League matches. You can't win if you can't score, but you can at least earn draws. The Black Cats couldn't even manage that, though, earning six draws this season.
Jermain Defoe did admirably to try and keep Sunderland alive, but had next to nothing in terms of help. The next-highest goal-scorer on the roster is Victor Anichebe, with three. With that moribund offensive output, combined with a feeble defense, it's no surprise Sunderland are headed down.
Sunderland: How they can get back into the top flight
If there's one bright spot for Sunderland, it's Jordan Pickford. The 23-year-old goalkeeper will be a prized asset for Sunderland, either in their future plans or as a cash cow. The Englishman broke into Sunderland's first team this year and earned himself a call up the Three Lions. He checks three boxes that will have Premier League teams lining up for him: Young, English and good. He won't fetch the huge fee that a star striker would (and for all Defoe's exploits, nobody is going to break the bank for him), but Sunderland could fetch a good chunk of change for Pickford.
Some extra cash would allow Sunderland the wiggle room to properly invest in their squad, which needs help everywhere. And worst case, Pickford stays and they have a rising goalkeeper to help aid their fight to return to the Premier League.