Southampton edged past Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the Championship Playoff Final to secure promotion to the Premier League.

Adam Armstrong was the hero on the day as his 24th-minute strike was the difference between the two sides, helping the Saints to regain Premier League status at the first time of asking.

Often referred to as the “richest game in football,” winning promotion to the Premier League through the Championship playoffs brings in approximately £140 million to £170 million in additional revenue for the victor.

Saints manager Russel Martin was certainly proud of his players, specially the way they defended off the ball and maintained their shape throughout the 90 minutes, denying Leeds any clear-cut opportunities.

The Saints didn’t create much either, but they were effective in possession throughout the campaign.

Barring Daniel James’ 83rd-minute strike that struck the post, the South Coast club never looked threatened by Leeds, who unusually looked far from their best on the day of reckoning.

Southampton have been promoted to the Premier League.
Southampton have been promoted to the Premier League.

Southampton have been promoted to the Premier League.

Saints ecstatic at victory

Following the game, Martin said passionately at a post-match interview, “”I just feel really grateful. I’ve felt that all week really.

I just feel lots of gratitude about what the players have given us, the staff, the supporters. Yes, I feel immense pride in what we’ve achieved, but I feel grateful to the owners who have given me the opportunity in the first place. Jason [Wilcox], who had a good day himself here yesterday and is no longer there. “

He continued, “But I feel like I wasn’t a sexy appointment for Southampton Football Club coming in and they were brave enough to give me the opportunity and hopefully we have repaid them with a day that they’ll remember forever, and it’s given me one of the best days of my career for sure.”

Martin who came to the club in June 2023, has overseen several players leave the club, but his leadership style has changed fortunes and will now lead his troops out in the highest echelons of English football next campaign.

The Premier League will definitely be a huge step up for the players in the squad and the new owners who took over recently will definitely need to invest in the squad to avoid a straight drop back to the Championship.

Back to drawing board for Leeds

For the Yorkshire-based club though, it will mean another season in the Championship, with the focus shifting to their manager, Daniel Farke, and whether he will be given the boot given the pressure of immediate promotion considering the strong squad he was given. Leeds earned a record 90 points this campaign, however they will bear the unwanted history of becoming the second Championship club to have earned those points yet failed to achieve promotion.

Farke said, “I love to work for such an emotional club, but the shirt can be pretty heavy, because of the expectation.” It however remains to be seen if he will be in charge of Leeds next season and if he does, will be under immense scrutiny to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images