Villa win £170m play-off and return to the Premier League

May 28 – A year after the heartbreak of just missing out on promotion to the Holy Grail , Aston Villa, one of the iconic clubs of English football, are finally back in the Premier League.

Appearing in the Championship final for the second straight season after losing to Fulham in 2018, Villa edged Derby Country 2-1 on Monday to return to the top flight after three seasons in the second tier, a remarkable achievement given they were 13th halfway through the season.

Promotion via the biggest single match in domestic football, worth around £170 million, capped an unexpected turnaround for Villa who had looked out of the promotion race before a club-record 10-match winning run saw them finish fifth under little known manager Dean Smith.

“Reality sets in now,” said a jubilant Smith, a boyhood Villa fan whose club join Norwich and Sheffield United in being promoted.

“It’s no more that we deserve because the players have made history (with the winning run). The potential here is massive. It feels right we are a Premier League club because of the history and the fan base that we have.”

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