West Ham United secured a return to English soccer’s Premier League next season with a 2-1 win against Blackpool in the Championship playoff final.
Ricardo Vaz Te’s goal in the 87th minute gave the Hammers the victory at Wembley Stadium in London today. Carlton Cole also scored for West Ham, who were relegated to the second tier with Blackpool a year ago after finishing last in the Premier League.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be back in the Premier League,” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce told Sky Sports. “It was a magnificent game; end to end, and in the end we got one more goal than Blackpool.”
The playoff final is the richest soccer match in the world. Winning it is worth at least 90 million pounds ($142 million), accountant Deloitte LLP estimates. Promoted teams benefit from at least 40 million pounds in additional revenue and minimum guaranteed payments of 48 million pounds in the following four seasons if they drop straight back down.
“It’s a great team effort from the lads,” Vaz Te told Sky. “We’re a Premier League side and we deserved to go up.”
Cole put West Ham on top in the 35th minute when he got behind Ian Evatt and fired a shot by goalkeeper Matthew Gilks. Blackpool drew even three minutes into the second half as Matt Phillips sent a diagonal pass to Thomas Ince, who sent a shot past Robert Green.
Vaz Te clinched victory with three minutes left with a shot into the roof of the net following a scramble in the Blackpool area.
West Ham return to the Premier League with Reading and Southampton, which had already earned automatic promotion as the champion and runner-up in the Championship.
Blackpool was in the playoff final for the second time in three seasons. The Tangerines beat Cardiff 3-2 in 2010 to return to the top division for the first time since 1971.
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