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Huddersfield seal fairytale promotion to Premier League

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LONDON — Huddersfield Town have been promoted to the Premier League.

Let that sink in.

[ MORE: Wagner reacts to “fairytale” ]

The Terriers, for the first time in their history, will play in the PL and for the first time since 1972 they will be in the top-flight of English soccer.

German-American manager David Wagner has worked a miracle to turnaround a team who finished in 19th place in the Championship last season. They beat Reading 4-3 on penalty kicks on Monday after a tight, tense 120 minutes of action at Wembley Stadium, holding their nerve to seal an estimated windfall of $218 million next season and up to $372 million if they survive in the PL for another season.

All day long, and perhaps all season long, it has felt like Huddersfield were destined for promotion.

Huddersfield sold out their full allocation of tickets, 39,150, and their fans made the most noise all day long. There was no contest.

In central London Huddersfield’s fans piled on to the tube heading to Wembley for their day of reckoning.

“It’s his first full season as a fan!” said a proud mother decked out in a Huddersfield shirt as she hugged her five-year-old son proudly. “What a time to start!” replied a stranger, also a Huddersfield fan.

Excited chatter filled the 15 minute tube ride from Baker Street to Wembley Park as fans “I can’t believe it,” said one fan to another, quietly. “It will hit home when we get into the stadium,” his friend replied.

Steven Sunderland stood outside Wembley with his wife Melanie and their daughter Megan.

He summed up the surprise that Huddersfield were even one game away from the Premier League to start with.

“It would be amazing to play all of the big clubs, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, clubs like that,” Sunderland said. “I never thought we would make it. No chance. I just thought if we make midtable, it would be an improvement on last season because we’ve been struggling with relegation the last few seasons. This season, David Wagner has got the team playing really well, best team spirit I’ve ever seen for a long, long time. The fans are really connected. It shows today, there are nearly 40,000 Huddersfield fans here today and they are up for it.”

Oh yes. Yes they were.

Amid dissecting the struggles of Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, talk of just going up to the PL for one year and then enjoying it “no matter how we do” was rife among the Huddersfield fans. One Terriers supporter puffed out his cheeks, gripping his can of cider nervously as he walked up Wembley Way.

Tense was the word of the day.

With the future of both clubs on the line, the game itself didn’t deliver end-to-end excitement. With an estimated $218 million on the line for next season and $370 million if they manage to stay up one year in the PL, the economic benefit for Huddersfield the club, and the town, will be huge.

When Michael Hefele headed wide and Isaiah Brown missed a glorious chance early on, you began to wonder if it was Huddersfield’s day. In the end none of that mattered.

Christopher Schindler stepped up and slotted home the winning penalty kick after Danny Ward saved from Jordan Obita as Huddersfield had reached the promised land.

Huddersfield chairman Dean Hoyle summed up his emotions after taking over the club and putting in a prudent plan for promotion involving loan players and a budget less than $12 million this season.

“I’m so emotional. To say I’ve been supporting this club since 1969, to be a Premier League team now – dreams come true,” Hoyle said. “It’s huge what it means for Huddersfield, we’re on the big stage. It proves you don’t have to blow your brains to get promoted. We’ve done it the right way.”

What impact will this have on the Yorkshire town?

Sunderland and his family summed it up perfectly as yet another underdog, just like Bournemouth, Blackpool and Burnley before them, has risen to the promised land.

“It is massive. It is the land of milk and honey if you like, the place where everybody wants to be,” Sunderland said. “It will be brilliant, for the town. Just that little bit of success makes a big difference. We’ve been on TV this season more times than we have been the last 10 seasons. Next year it will be high profile very week. Match of the Day, on TV… Champions League the year after!? You never know.”

Melanie Sunderland simply said of a potential promotion that “people will stop laughing at us and won’t call us ‘that little town’ anymore.”

That little town in Yorkshire (population 162,00) will have the eyes of the world watching it next season.

What did Wagner have to say?

He told ProSoccerTalk he wants Huddersfield to keep the identity he has helped build, then nurture.

“We have to be focused on ourselves and this football club has to be focused on themselves. This football club has created an identity and this was always our target, that we create an identity and a style of football where even if we wear neutral jerseys people from outside are able to say ‘okay, that could be Huddersfield.’ I think it makes no sense to compare ourselves with other small clubs. This football club has its own story and I think, we are on the way.”

They certainly are. Even if their fans can’t quite believe it.

As some posed for photos outside the electronic board at Wembley which said “congratulations Huddersfield!” others stood around in disbelief.

A group of three young Yorkshiremen sat on the tube back to Baker Street in stunned silence.

“We are going to be on Match of the Day!” said one fan, rubbing his hands in glee as he recites an intro to next years show which, of course, features Huddersfield top of the bill.

Discussion then switches to which games they’re most looking forward to. Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United away tops the list.

“We can’t believe it. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said one fan as they looked at each other with dropped jaws.

Believe it, lads.

Watch out, Premier League. Huddersfield are on their way.

Huddersfield promoted to Premier League after PK drama

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LONDON — Huddersfield Town beat Reading 4-3 on penalty kicks in the Championship Playoff Final at Wembley on Monday to secure promotion to the Premier League for the first time in club history.

[ MORE: JPW on”miracle” for Terriers ]

In a tense, tight game Huddersfield missed big chances early on and Reading fought back valiantly but the Terriers won and secured an estimated $218 million jackpot for next season.

German-American manager David Wagner who got the better of Jaap Stam as his team won 4-3 on penalty kicks as Danny Ward saved Jordan Obita‘s spot kick and then Christopher Schindler scored the winner.

[ MORE: Wagner reacts to fairytale

A remarkable story as Huddersfield secured promotion to the top-flight of English soccer for the first time in 1972.

Huddersfield had the first big chance of the game as Aaron Mooy‘s free kick from the left found Michael Hefele but he nodded just wide after rising at the back post.

The Terriers continued to press and had a glorious chance to take the lead as Elias Kachunga got free on the right side of the box and his shot across goal looked destined to be tapped home by Isaiah Brown… but somehow he shinned the effort wide from one yard out.

At the other end Reading went close when Lewis Grabban dropped deep and curled towards the top corner but it flew just wide.

Huddersfield continued to pour forward in search of the opener as Nahki Wells’ cross was hooked clear and Reading, somehow, went in level at the break.

Reading started the second half well as John Swift burst into the box but his show was straight at Danny Ward who saved.

That effort sparked Huddersfield back into life as they twice surged into the box but couldn’t find the final pass at the crucial moment.

The game grew more tense as the clock ticked closer to 90 minutes with substitute Collin Quaner failing to get proper contact on Aaron Mooy’s cross.

Late on Reading pushed forward as Hefele made a wonderful last-ditch clearance with Yann Kermorgant lurking and Huddersfield lost captain Tommy Smith to a serious injury.

Seven minutes of stoppage time couldn’t find a winner, so the game went in to extra time but an extra 30 minutes failed to open up the game as Garath McCleary drilled a low shot wide and then Nahki Wells dragged a tired effort wide in the 116th minute and that was as close as either team came to scoring.

After 120 minutes it finished 0-0 and penalty kicks were needed to decide who gained promotion to the Premier League.

Huddersfield won on penalty kicks after Danny Ward saved Jordan Obita’s spot kick and then Schindler stepped up to send the Terriers into the top flight for the first time since 1972.

Championship managers spark brawl amid celebrations of late winner

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Huddersfield Town and Leeds United met at Kirklees Stadium in an enormous fixture with playoff implications, as the teams came into the match in fifth and fourth respectively.

Needless to say, there was plenty of tension throughout the game with so much on the line. Isaiah Brown and Chris Wood had first-half goals that canceled out, with the score locked at 1-1 until Michael Hefele bagged an 89th minute winner for the hosts.

Kirklees Stadium lit up, and Huddersfield manager David Wagner went springing 50 yards from the far touchline to celebrate with his team. With the celebrations done, Wagner hustled back to his technical area, but not before Leeds manager Garry Monk stepped in his way and the two collided.

Wagner was incensed, and there was a confrontation, with the benches clearing and a brawl broke out with plenty of pushing and shoving. Monk clearly knew what he was doing, as he stared right at Wagner for a good two seconds before the coming together. Here’s video of the incident from the stands.

All told, both managers were sent to the stands and five yellow cards were handed out to players involved in the melee. Huddersfield held on to win, pushing them up to fourth while Leeds is a point behind in fifth, both still in playoff positions.

Death, taxes, and things getting weird in the Championship.

Club-by-club list of Premier League winter transfers

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Here’s a full list of ins and outs, loans and permanent transfers, from around the Premier League.

[ MORE: January 2017 transfer news ]

Arsenal

In: Cohen Bramall (Hednesford Town)

Out: Gedion Zelalem (VVV Venlo, loan), Dan Crowley (Go Ahead Eagles, loan), Kaylen Hinds (Stevenage Borough, loan), Chuba Akpom (Brighton & Hove Albion, loan)

Bournemouth

In: Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)

Out: Nathan Ake (Chelsea), Emerson Hyndman (Rangers, loan), Callum Buckley (Aldershot Town, loan), Glenn Murray (Brighton & Hove Albion), Lewis Grabban (Reading, loan), Joe Quigley (Gillingham, loan), Jordan Green (Leyton Orient, loan), Harry Cornick (Gillingham, loan), Matt Neale (Wimborne Town, loan), Marc Wilson (West Bromwich Albion, loan)

Burnley

In: Joey Barton (unattached), Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa), Robbie Brady (Norwich City)

Out: Danny Lafferty (Sheffield United), Chris Long (Bolton, loan)

Chelsea

In: Nathan Ake (Bournemouth, loan recall)

Out: Oscar (Shanghai SIPG), John Mikel Obi (Tianjin TEDA), Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough), Dion Conroy (Swindon Town), Marco Van Ginkel (PSV Eindhoven, loan), Jay Dasilva (Charlton, loan), Isaiah Brown (Huddersfield Town, loan), Fankaty Dabo (Swindon Town, loan), Charlie Colkett (Swindon Town, loan), Fikayo Tomori (Brighton & Hove Albion, loan), Mukhtar Ali (Vitesse Arnhem, loan)

Crystal Palace

In: Jeff Schlupp (Leicester City), Patrick Van Aanholt (Sunderland), Luka Milivojevic (Olympiacos), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool)

Out: Jordon Mutch (Reading, loan), Keshi Anderson (Northampton Town, loan), Freddie Ladapo (Shrewsbury Town, loan)

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Jeffrey Schlupp of Leicester City (L) and N'Golo Kante of Chelsea (R) battle for possession during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on October 15, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Everton

In: Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United), Ademola Lookman (Charlton), Anton Donkor (Wolfsburg, loan)

Out: Tom Cleverley (Watford, loan), Oumar Niasse (Hull City, loan), Gerard Deulofeu (Milan, loan), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland), Darron Gibson (Sunderland), Antony Evans (Morecambe, loan), Gethin Jones (Barnsley, loan), Russell Griffiths (Motherwell, loan), Tyias Browning (Preston North End, loan), Conor McAleny (Oxford United, loan), Steven Kinsella (Dundalk, loan)

Hull City

In: Kamil Grosicki (Rennes), Oumar Niasse (Everton, loan), Markus Henriksen (AZ Alkmaar), Evandro (Porto), Omar Elabdellaoui (Olympiacos, loan), Lazar Markovic (Liverpool, loan), Andrea Rannochia (Inter Milan, loan), Alfred N'Diaye (Villarreal, loan)

Out: Jake Livermore (West Brom), Alex Bruce (Wigan, loan), James Weir (Wigan, loan), Robert Snodgrass (West Ham), Allan McGregor (Cardiff City, loan), Harvey Rodgers (Accrington Stanley, loan), Jonathan Edwards (Accrington Stanley, loan)

Leicester City

In: Wilfried Ndidi (Genk), Molla Wague (Granada)

Out: Jeff Schlupp (Crystal Palace), Luis Hernandez (Malaga), Harvey Barnes (MK Dons, loan), Matty James (Barnsley, loan), Callum Elder (Barnsley, loan)

Liverpool

Out: Pedro Chirivella (Go Ahead Eagles, loan), Tiago Ilori (Reading), Lazar Markovic (Hull City, loan), Cameron Brannagan (Fleetwood Town, loan), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace, loan)

Manchester City

In: Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras)

Out: Pablo Maffeo (Girona, loan), Angelino (Girona, loan), Manu Garcia (NAC Breda, loan), Bruno Zuculini (Hellas Verona, loan), Billy O’Brien (St. Mirren, loan), David Faupala (Chesterfield, loan), George Glendon (Fleetwood Town)

Manchester United

Out: Morgan Schneiderlin (Everton), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Sam Johnston (Aston Villa, loan), Joe Riley (Sheffield United, loan), Sean Goss (QPR)

Middlesbrough

In: Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa), Patrick Bamford (Chelsea), Adlene Guedioura (Watford), Mikael Soisalo (Ilves Tampere)

Out: David Nugent (Derby County), Julien De Sart (Derby County, loan), Tomas Mejias (Rayo Vallecano, loan), Emilio Nsue (Birmingham City), Bryn Morris (Shrewsbury Town), Mark Kitching (Rochdale, loan)

Southampton

In: Manolo Gabbiadini (Napoli), Mouez Hassen (Nice, loan)

Out: Jose Fonte (West Ham)

NAPLES, ITALY - DECEMBER 02: Manolo Gabbiadini of Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and FC Internazionale at Stadio San Paolo on December 2, 2016 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
Manolo Gabbiadini (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

Stoke City

In: Lee Grant (Derby County), Saido Berahino (West Brom)

Out: Bojan Krkic (Mainz, loan), Jakob Haugaard (Wigan, loan), Ryan Sweeney (Bristol Rovers, loan), Ollie Shenton (Wrexham, loan), Joel Taylor (Rochdale, loan), Dionatan Teixeria (released), Moha El Ouriachi (Hearts, loan), Sergio Molina (Albacete), George Waring (Carlisle United, loan)

Sunderland

In: Joleon Lescott (unattached), Bryan Oviedo (Everton), Darron Gibson (Everton)

Out: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Andrew Nelson (Hartlepool United, loan)

Swansea City

In: Luciano Narsingh (PSV Eindhoven), Martin Olsson (Norwich City), Tom Carroll (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa)

Out: Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Modou Barrow (Leeds United, loan), Marvin Emnes (Blackburn, loan), Ryan Hedges (Barnsley), Owain Jones (Yeovil Town, loan)

Tottenham Hotspur

Out: Tom Carroll (Swansea City), Anton Walkes (Atlanta United, loan), Ryan Loft (Stevenage, loan), Shayon Harrison (Yeovil Town, loan), Connor Ogilvie (Stevenage, loan), Luke Amos (Southend United, loan).

Watford

In: Tom Cleverley (Everton, loan), Mauro Zarate (Fiorentina), M’Baye Niang (Milan, loan)

Out: Obbi Oulare (Willem II, loan), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Adlene Guedioura (Middlesbrough), Michael Folivi (Coventry City, loan), Alex Jakubiak (Wycombe Wanderers, loan), Adalberto Penaranda (Malaga, loan)

West Bromwich Albion

In: Jake Livermore (Hull City), Marc Wilson (Bournemouth, loan)

Out: Callum McManaman (Sheffield Wednesday, loan), Craig Gardner (Birmingham City, loan), Saido Berahino (Stoke City), Tyler Roberts (Shrewsbury Town, loan), Andre Wright (Yeovil Town, loan), Joe Ward (released), Tahvon Campbell (Notts County, loan)

West Ham United

In: Jose Fonte (Southampton), Robert Snodgrass (Hull City)

Out: Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Simone Zaza (Juventus, loan to Valencia), Reece Oxford (Reading, loan), Toni Martinez (Oxford United, loan), Marcus Browne (Wigan, loan), Alex Pike (Cheltenham Town, loan), Sam Howes (Hampton and Richmond Borough, loan), Lewis Page (Charlton), Martin Samuelsen (Peterborough United, loan)