Blackpool seals dream rise to Premier League
LONDON (Reuters) -- Blackpool, in the bottom tier of the English football league 10 years ago, secured a place in the Premier League with a 3-2 Championship (division two) playoff final triumph over Cardiff City at Wembley stadium on Saturday.
Striker Brett Ormerod hit the decisive goal in first-half injury time for the northwest England seaside club, known for its tangerine kit, sealing a return to the top flight for the first time since 1971.
"This is absolutely magnificent, not just for the team but for the whole area we come from," said a hoarse Ian Holloway, Blackpool's manager.
"You don't understand what it means, we're going to have so much money," he told Sky Sports, referring to the Deloitte estimated 90 million pounds ($129.3 million) reward for the winner of the match dubbed the 'richest game in football.'
Ormerod, who has played in all four English football divisions, was lost for words.
"I honestly don't know what to say," the 33-year-old mumbled, fighting back the tears.
Despite baking hot conditions the match sprung into life from the very beginning, Cardiff's Michael Chopra hitting the upright after just four minutes before registering the game's opener five minutes later.
However, Blackpool's record signing Charlie Adam struck a glorious 25-metre free-kick on 13 minutes to level the match before a frantic ending to the opening period.
Joe Ledley put the Welsh club 2-1 up after 37 minutes only for Blackpool to hit back again, first through Gary Taylor-Fletcher on 41 minutes and then courtesy of Ormerod's toe poke.
Cardiff hit the bar in the second half but Blackpool weathered the pressure and the noisy Welsh support to hold on for a famous win and an enormous paycheck whatever happens next season.
Even a club finishing bottom of the Premier League in 2011 will receive 40 million pounds with so-called parachute payments expected to total 48 million over the next four years.