SUNDERLAND have recorded the worst finishing position in their history after the League One season was brought to a premature end.

A vote of the 23 League One clubs at an extraordinary board meeting of the EFL resulted in “overwhelming support” to end the current campaign without another game being played.

Eighteen clubs voted to curtail the season, with four clubs, including Sunderland, voting to play on and one club opting to abstain.

Finishing positions have been determined on a points-per-game basis, with Sunderland finishing in eighth, two places below the play-offs.

Coventry City and Rotherham United are promoted to the Championship, with Wycombe Wanderers, Oxford United, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town due to contest the play-offs for a place in the second tier. Tranmere Rovers, Southend United and Bolton Wanderers fill the three relegation positions and will spend next season in League Two.

It is the first time in Sunderland’s 141-year history that the club has competed in the third tier and failed to achieve either automatic promotion or a play-off position.

A finishing position of 52nd in the pyramid represents a new low, and means the Black Cats will compete in the third tier for a third successive season for the first time.

It can be argued the decision to end the season prematurely is harsh on Phil Parkinson’s side, who were just three points off the automatic-promotion positions before play was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Had Sunderland won at Bristol Rovers in their rearranged fixture in the week before lockdown instead of losing 2-0, they would have finished fourth and been contesting the play-offs. Instead, a season pockmarked with a managerial dismissal, mounting off-field dissent and a growing chasm between Sunderland’s fans and the club’s owners has come to an ignominious end.