Back in the big time! Southampton promoted to the Premier League after beating Leeds at Wembley – with Saints netting £180MILLION payday in football’s most valuable game

  • Southampton have been promoted to the Premier League after beating Leeds 
  • Saints have netted a huge £180m windfall in football’s most lucrative game
  • Kane first, Saka second… which player in Gareth Southgate’s squad has the third most goals for England? Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off! Podcast 

Southampton have been promoted to the Premier League after beating Leeds United 1-0 in the Championship play-off final – football’s most lucrative fixture.

Adam Armstrong’s first-half strike secured a tense 1-0 victory for Saints at Wembley and crucially earned them an unparalleled £180million payday.

The striker timed his run to perfection to meet Will Smallbone’s threaded pass and tucked his 24th – and most important – goal of the season into the far corner.

Leeds pushed for an equaliser after the interval but Crysencio Summerville and Willy Gnonto squandered golden opportunities to salvage their top-flight dream.

Substitute Daniel James then clattered a powerful effort off the crossbar seven minutes from time as the Whites piled on the pressure. 

The final whistle sounded shortly after, securing Russell Martin’s Saints a spot at the top of the English football pyramid after just one season in the second tier. 

Only 12 months ago, the club, which is owned by Serbian media mogul Dragan Solak, had finished bottom of the Premier League, 11 points adrift of safety.

Leeds had also tumbled into the Championship after finishing 19th. 

Both clubs were forced to settle for the play-offs this season, however, despite them striving for the automatic spots. Leeds finished third ahead of fourth-placed Saints.

Saints saw off West Bromwich Albion in their two-legged semi-final tie while Leeds eased to a 4-0 aggregate victory over Norwich City after an emphatic home win.

Whites boss Daniel Farke rolled the dice at Wembley as his side chased a late leveller but Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, James’ strike aside, was rarely tested.

Leeds’ play-off heartache condemned them to a sixth failed attempt to earn promotion the long way round and a second straight season in the Championship. 

The money at stake would only have heightened their agony.

According to Deloitte, the £180m figure takes into account the projected increases in matchday, broadcast and commercial revenue in the Premier League.

The sports business group has also predicted that this windfall could rise to more than £300m if Saints survive in their first season back in the top-flight. 

Premier LeagueDaniel James