A WAYNE ROONEY header on an afternoon of high drama in the Premier League was not enough to secure Manchester United their 20th title in North-East surroundings at the Stadium of Light.
Rooney's simple back post header in the 20th minute from Phil Jones' cross gave the Red Devils the goal they craved against Sunderland that might have left them above rivals Manchester City on the final day.
The Black Cats, whose goalkeeper Simon Mignolet performed heroics in keeping the score down to one, battled away in the hope of avoiding a finish to the season which ended on nine games without a win.
However, Rooney's winner was insufficient as Manchester City staged a remarkable fightback to clinch their first top-flight title in 44 years. Just 20 minutes after Rooney's opener, Manchester City lifted themselves back above their rivals courtesy of Pablo Zabaleta's opening goal at the Etihad Stadium.
Sir Alex Ferguson needed a miracle – and it looked as if it had arrived.
Relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers levelled through former Sunderland striker Djibril Cisse and then, 18 minutes later, Jamie Mackie put QPR in front to lift them to safety.
Suddenly City required two goals – or Sunderland to haul back United – and they looked like failing to materialise.
But then, in added time, Edin Dzeko pulled things level at the Etihad. And, when the final whistle had blown on Wearside, news filtered through of Sergio Aguero's dramatic winner.
Manchester United were not to be crowned Premier League champions on North-East soil, as they were at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium in 1996.