NOT only did Huddersfield Town’s draw at Chelsea on Wednesday night deny Sky Sports a finale worthy of the Premier League’s rich history due to the relegation battle, like the title race, being all but over.
But it also capped a remarkable season for those clubs promoted in the top five tiers of English football 12 months ago, the Terriers’ survival meaning all 15 clubs who stepped up a division at the end of 2016-17 have stayed up.
Along the way there have been some Herculean efforts, including Plymouth Argyle going from the foot of League One at Christmas to the fringes of the play-offs and the stunning late, late comeback by Bolton Wanderers that condemned Barnsley to the drop.
None, though, surely compare to Huddersfield, odds on to go down before a ball was kicked, remaining among the elite despite their wage bill being dwarfed by all 19 of their top-flight peers.
For Chris Lowe, Town’s survival deserves top billing, not least because it came via back-to-back away points at both the new and outgoing champions.
“When you pick up points against clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea,” said the German, “you more than deserve to stay in the Premier League.
“To stay up against these opponents with all their money is unbelievable. It is a bigger achievement than Wembley last season.
“To secure the Premier League for another year is massive for the club, who can now do some different things to the training ground and other things like that.”
Upgrading the club’s Canalside training base shares top place on Town’s agenda this summer alongside adding to a squad that has, in head coach David Wagner’s words, achieved a “miracle” by avoiding an instant return to the Championship.
The trap Huddersfield must avoid falling into, however, is bringing in expensive additions that do not fit with the terrier-like ‘no limits’ attitude that Wagner has worked so hard to instil in his troops.
Neighbours Bradford City, for instance, crashed out of the Premier League in 2001 on the back of acquiring a series of big-money imports who failed to gel with the squad that had stayed up, against all the odds, under manager Paul Jewell.
“The spirit is what kept us up,” added full-back Lowe, recalled to the starting XI for the draws at the Etihad and Stamford Bridge.
“We know we are not the best individuals in the Premier League and that we are not the favourites against every team in this league.
“But we give everything. We stick together; even when on a bad run we always came back as one. That was important.
“There were times when we lost some games in a row, but the manager would tell us to keep believing.
“If we believed in ourselves and our plan then we would turn it around. That is what we did and that allowed us always to come back from bad runs.”
Town’s celebrations in the wake of Wednesday’s survival-clinching point at Chelsea have already gone into folklore thanks mostly to being splashed across the tabloids yesterday.
Having initially cancelled the scheduled flight back to Yorkshire in favour of travelling by coach, a second change of plan – brought about by the driver’s permitted hours at the wheel only allowing him to get as far as Derby before returning to his company’s depot – saw the players party in London.
Only when dawn broke and the train service north resumed did they head back to King’s Cross Station and a long overdue few hours sleep.
No one can surely begrudge the players their celebrations, which are understood to have continued on Thursday and Friday after Wagner gave everyone 48 hours off.
“The celebrations last season were only for one or two days,” said Lowe.
“The play-offs final was so late, everyone was going away on holiday.
“How long we celebrate this year, I don’t know. But we will celebrate.”