It was the end of an error at Upton Park. Relegated West Ham finished their six-year Premier League stint with no sign of sacked former manager Avram Grant, the "mistake" appointment.
Sadly the new dawn heralded the same old gloom: a West Ham defeat and a frustrated home crowd. Caretaker manager Kevin Keen's CV will not have been enhanced by this defeat against a Sunderland side who enjoyed themselves.
The omens had suggested that West Ham would win this. They had triumphed in their last six home games against Sunderland, keeping five clean sheets. Sunderland had lost their last five final-day Premier League fixtures.
Trust West Ham to rewrite the form book to their disadvantage, though. On the pitch, there was also a feeling of "out with the old, in with the new" in a relatively youthful line-up. But some old faces will be missed more than others. Scott Parker's departure will be lamented. Parker, struggling with an achilles problem, spoke to the crowd before kick-off, thanking them for their support this season before starting on the bench. Then, in the 61st minute, Parker – interesting Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham – came on to an emotional ovation.
Earlier, West Ham had started confidently during a hectic start. There was an early chance for Zavon Hines, who had a shot smothered, and Freddie Sears forced Simon Mignolet into a save at full stretch.
Sunderland were also looking lively, with Asamoah Gyan twice calling Robert Green into action, and the visitors went ahead in the 17th minute. Ahmed Elmohamady crossed from the right and his delivery was met by a header from Boudewijn Zenden, which looped into the top corner.
Sadly for West Ham, after half-time, it only took Sunderland six minutes to extend their lead. Stéphane Sessègnon collected the ball in space and darted forward before producing a low, bobbling shot that evaded Green's grasp. Perhaps fittingly, West Ham conceded again at the death, as Cristian Riveros cushioned the ball and finished from eight yards.
Substitutes: West Ham Obinna (Hines, 54), Jacobsen (Tomkins, 54), Parker (Boa Morte, 60) Unused Boffin (gk), Kovac, Stanislas, Tombides. Sunderland Riveros (Bardsley, 67), Cook (Gyan, 72). Unused Carson (gk), Adams, Knott, Noble, Lynch. Booked: West Ham None. Sunderland Bardsley, Malbranque. Man of the match Gyan. Match rating 7/10. Possession West Ham 43% Sunderland 57%. Attempts on target West Ham 12 Sunderland 12. Referee A Taylor (Cheshire). Attendance 32,792.