So, what is the end game? Well for next season it is clearly survival. Brighton and Hove Albion now know who they have to contend with from August. Commiserations to Reading but I must congratulate Huddersfield on their promotion.
It’s a shorter trip to Berkshire than Yorkshire but I’m delighted for them. I think they deserved it. A few weeks before the climax of the last campaign the Terriers were in hot pursuit of the Seagulls.
The performance of David Wagner’s side against the Albion in Yorkshire was probably the best overall performance I saw from any team in the Championship. Across the 10 months they also kept pace when many thought they would fade (remind you of anyone else?)
On one breakfast show on BBC Sussex before the top places were decided, Neil Pringle and I were joined by my colleague at BBC Leeds Paul Ogden, who relayed the excitement at their end at the chance of a first season in the Premier League.
‘Oggy’ lives and breathes Huddersfield. When asked what I thought, I pointed out that I felt the Yorkshire club was in the position the Seagulls were 12 months before. If Albion had been promoted in 2016 I think they would have found it tougher.
Promotion in early April rather than victory at Wembley at the end of May gives the club more crucial time to plan. However, on and off the pitch Huddersfield have a few similarities with the Albion.
One key aspect is their chairman. Dean Hoyle was nearly in tears at Wembley, the emotions were written across his face all day in fact. He, like Tony Bloom, is a lifelong supporter of his club and also has a few quid in the bank having sold the Card Factory seven years ago.
Hoyle and Bloom will be in a minority in the Premier League as British owners but that must be a good thing for the future as so many clubs are bought out by foreign investors.
Ahead of the play-off final, a Chinese brother and sister completed a takeover at Reading and I don’t have anything against them but on Bank Holiday Monday I was pleased for Hoyle as you could see what it meant to him.
Royals boss Jaap Stam has said he wants another crack at promotion next season and after the amazing work he has done this season there is no reason to suggest that his side won’t be in contention.
If Reading do go up, will the Albion and/or the Terriers be passing them on the way down? Only time will tell but both Brighton and Huddersfield have wonderful, albeit different, stories to tell.
Both clubs are entering a new era. Both clubs will be welcomed into the top-flight. Both clubs will be desperate to remain with the so called ‘elite’ and if they do, there will be plenty who will be happy to read the headlines.
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