Just one year after they had almost slipped into Division Two, Sunderland had returned to the top flight under new manager Peter Reid. With a new 42,000-seat stadium due to be ready in the summer of 1997, Reid and his players were determined to secure survival in the final season at historic Roker Park and give the new stadium at Monkwearmouth a debut season in the Premiership.
The first half of the season went well for club, finding themselves in a comfortable 11th position by the end of January, boasting a strong home form going into the February. However, a run of 4 consecutive defeats against Aston Villa, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hospur saw them slip down to 16th by March.
Sunderland lost 1-0 to Wimbledon on the final day of the season; with Coventry City's win at Tottenham, the Wearsiders were relegated.
Updated to games played on 11 May 1997.
Source: Premier League
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored 1 Chelsea qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup as FA Cup winners. 2 Leicester City qualified for the UEFA Cup as League Cup winners. 3 Middlesbrough were docked three points for failing to fulfil a fixture. (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished: (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament. Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points