FOUR HUNDRED and twenty five down, one to go.
Yorkshire’s football season has just one final instalment to play out, as Huddersfield Town look to bring the curtain down in the most spectacular of fashions at Wembley.
Victory in the world’s richest sports fixture will not only earn the Terriers a life-changing £200m windfall but also a prized place in the Premier League.
With both Hull City and Middlesbrough having recently surrendered their own seats at the top table of English football, White Rose pride rests solely on David Wagner’s men.
It is not a scenario many anticipated before a ball had been kicked in anger last August, even Wagner admitting last week that he didn’t believe a sustained promotion push was truly possible until Christmas. But Huddersfield, among those tipped to fight relegation by the bookmakers last summer, have been quite magnificent and deserve their tilt at glory.
If Town can beat Reading next Monday under the world-famous Arch and end a 45-year absence from the top flight, Yorkshire will have a third promotion success of the season.
Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers both went up in style, even allowing for the late slump in form that saw Darren Ferguson’s men blow any chance of lifting the League Two title.
The South Yorkshire duo spent months battling it out over who could go up first, Rovers technically winning that race due to having five games remaining when promotion was sealed on April 8. Chris Wilder’s men also clinched their place in the Championship that same afternoon but with one less match to play due to the League One campaign finishing a week earlier.
United, though, pushed on in merciless fashion to become only the second White Rose side to chalk up 100 points in a campaign. It assured the 2016-17 squad a place in Bramall Lane folklore and Wilder hero status among fans of the club he has supported since childhood.
Elsewhere, in League One, Bradford City just came up short. Having deservedly reached the play-off final, the Bantams were unable to finish the job as a late strike from Steve Morison at Wembley last weekend ensured it was Millwall and not Stuart McCall’s men who will kick off next season in the Championship.
Sheffield Wednesday will be among six clubs from within the Broad Acres guaranteed to take on the Lions in a second tier that will have a distinctly northern flavour come August.
Hull and Boro will be among that contingent after sliding to relegation in the Premier League. The Tigers never truly recovered from a wretched summer that saw the most successful manager in the club’s history leave and recruitment stall so badly that it took until the final 36 hours of the window for the first new face to arrive.
Boro, meanwhile, looked in much better shape when the season got under way but singularly failed to make any impression on the top flight before slinking back into the Football League.
Now, with 425 league games involving our clubs having already been played, it all boils down to 90 – or maybe even 120 – minutes at Wembley. Over to the Terriers.
Interviews: Richard Sutcliffe & Leon Wobschall.
Yorkshire Post - Football
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