Sunderland's survival depended a lot on the appointment of Sam Allardyce after Dick Advocaat resigned following eight games without a win last October.
Their clinching win came on Wednesday, with Sunderland thrashing Everton, 3-0, and moving four points clear of the drop zone ahead of Sunday's season finales.
Sky Bet have Sunderland at 3/1 to be relegated next season - they are also 8/13 to finish above local rivals Middlesbrough - with Everton at 14s.
Allardyce says that Sunderland can no longer continue to celebrate simply avoiding relegation, and he has big plans for next season with the Wearsiders.
"Without them, I think things might have been a little bit different, but I am really happy for them and I am looking forward to next season". "We have made vital errors in games at crucial times and the recruitment has not been as well to strengthen the squad", he added.
"The next set of recruitment is crucial because this football club can not be doing a lap of honor by avoiding relegation again".
For Allardyce, it was another personal triumph that extended his record of never having been relegated from the Premier League as a manager despite a CV that includes some of England's less glamorous clubs.
Three of the four January signings - German Jan Kirchhoff, Ivorian Lamine Kone and Tunisian Wahbi Khazri - started when Sunderland beat Everton - Kone had two of the goals - so the moves paid off, at least in the short term.
Sunderland opened the scoring on 39 minutes when a central Van Aanholt free-kick pierced a flimsy Everton wall and outfoxed goalkeeper Joel Robles, who incorrectly anticipated the ball's trajectory.
Benitez's future is now the subject of intense speculation and Newcastle - which bounced straight back up as champion following its previous relegation in 2008-2009 - released a statement via Charnley shortly afterwards, apologising to its fans.
It was Allardyce's astute transfer activity that turned the season around.
That was quickly snuffed out, however, when Mbokani grabbed his second goal and Norwich had chances to extend their lead before their relegation was confirmed after one season back in the top flight.
"We've just secured the financial side of being in the Premier League", said the 61-year-old former West Ham United, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers boss. "It is about how wise we spend it, find players we need, like we did in January".