Promotion decider ‘worth at least £170m’

6 May

Brighton and Middlesbrough in action


Adam Clayton for Boro (centre) and Brighton’s Tomer Hamed (left) are key to their respective sides hopes

Promotion to the Premier League will be worth at least £170m to the winner of Saturday’s Championship decider between Middlesbrough and Brighton, according to financial analysts Deloitte.

That figure could expand by around 41% to £290m if they avoid relegation in their first season in the top flight.

The £170m is made up of a minimum £95m for a year in the Premier League, plus two seasons of parachute payments.

Burnley have already been promoted after a 1-0 win over QPR on Monday.

The Clarets bounced back at the first attempt after being relegated to the Championship last season.

“Promotion to the Premier League provides clubs with the resources to make strategic investments on and off the pitch,” said Richard Battle, senior manager in Deloitte’s sports business group.

“While the short term priority is usually investment in the playing squad, a strong emphasis on ongoing financial stability can leave a club well positioned for the future – whether or not they survive that first season.

“Burnley bouncing straight back to the top flight of English football is evidence that short-term financial restraint can support medium-term success.”

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said he was excited by the final-day encounter and the interest it had generated.

“It’s been excellent. Burnley, obviously, we welcome them back. Sean Dyche has done a great job. But then the one next Saturday is tantalising,” he told BBC Sport.

“I was looking to see if I could get from there to Leicester in time but I don’t think I can.

“Middlesbrough, Brighton – either of which would be great to have in the league and then we still have the play-offs to come.”

Confidence and calm on Teesside

Aitor Karanka (right) and Gary Rowett<!–

Aitor Karanka (right) says his players’ confidence at this stage has rubbed off on him

Middlesbrough are in the stronger position going into the game, with home advantage and knowing that avoiding defeat will take them into the Premier League.

Head coach Aitor Karanka has steered his side on a nine-game unbeaten run, although the past three matches have ended in draws.

“Even when we couldn’t win the last three games the performances kept me calm,” Karanka told BBC Tees.

“I don’t need to say anything, they’re calm, they’re looking forward to the game, they know how important this game is for everybody.

“They’re ready, they’re training really well so we’re just carrying on.”

‘Fans fought to save Seagulls’

Brighton &amp; Hove Albion<!–

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Promotion would be ‘massive reward’ – Barber

Brighton are looking to return to the top flight for the first time since 1982-83, having been one game away from relegation from the Football League in 1997.

Like Swansea and Bournemouth, two clubs that made it from one end of the pyramid to the Premier League, Brighton can follow in their footsteps with victory at the Riverside.

“Promotion would be the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of people,” chief executive Paul Barber told BBC Sussex.

“The fans fought so hard to save the club and keep the club alive when it was playing at Gillingham and Withdean. It would be a massive reward for those people.

“For everyone, it would be an amazing achievement and an amazing occasion.”

‘I will prepare us to win’

Middlesbrough celebrate<!–

Middlesbrough have lost just two home games in 2015-16

Brighton face a Boro side that has lost only twice and conceded only seven goals at the Riverside.

Despite Middlesbrough needing one point for promotion, Karanka said he would urge his team to get all three.

“I don’t know how to prepare a game just to draw, in my experience, if you go to the pitch looking for the draw at the end you lose the game,” the Spaniard added.

“I will prepare my team to win the game.”

The significance of returning top-tier football to the Riverside is firmly in the mind of captain Grant Leadbitter.

It is seven years since the Teessiders were relegated from the Premier League and after last year’s play-off final defeat by Norwich, Leadbitter said the emotions need to be channelled correctly.

“It’s more than three points. We have to play with our heads rather than our hearts.” Leadbitter told BBC Tees.

“I’d be lying to say it’s a normal game but in the back of minds it has to be, it has to be another 90 minutes of football.

“We have to be drawn into the occasion because it’s a big game but we’ve got to be calm, collected and use our ‘noggin’.”

History has no bearing for Brighton

Chris Hughton<!–

Chris Hughton’s side has lost just once since mid-January, with 13 wins

The Seagulls know the full force capable from Saturday’s opponents, having seen their proud unbeaten record ended by Middlesbrough in a 3-0 hammering at the Amex Stadium in December.

It triggered a mini-slump over the festive period, but one defeat in the past 19 games has propelled Albion right back into contention.

“Middlesbrough were probably the best side we played at home this season, but that was a while ago. It’s all about timing,” Brighton manager Chris Hughton told BBC Sussex.

“They’ve got the quality they’ve got. If we want to get a result on Saturday then we’re going to have to play well.

“They got to the play-off final last year and lost – and I think they’ve learnt from that.”

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