Brighton and Hove Albion have been promoted to the Premier League for the first after securing automatic promotion from the Championship with three games to spare. Victory over Wigan Athletic, combined with Huddersfield Town's failure to beat Derby County at Pride Park has mathematically confirmed their place in English football's top tier from next season.
Chris Hughton's side will play top flight football for the first time since 1983 after goals from Glenn Murray and Solly March beat relegation-threatened Wigan at the Amex Stadium. At the full-time whistle fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate going within touching distance of promotion - but the champagne can finally be opened on the south coast after Danny Butterfield's late strike saw Derby hold Huddersfield to a 1-1 draw in the tea-time kick-off.
Victory in any of the Seagulls' final three games will secure the title after failure in the play-offs in three of the last four campaigns. Promotion comes 20 years after the club stayed in the football league on goal scored and they will become the 47th different side to play on the Premier League.
"I'm incredibly proud of the way that they bounced back [from last season]," said Hughton. "To put together the run they have, at this stage of the season, is incredibly difficult, and they deserve every bit of credit.
"I expected us to be right up there challenging, and if you said to me at some stage we'd be top of the division, I would have thought we'd have developed well and learned a lot from last season. I knew we had a group of lads that were capable of doing it, but being capable of doing it and actually doing it are two different things.
"They've been good all season. They've bounced back and shown good determination and desire to win as many game as possible. It's a wonderful achievement and there's so many people that I'm absolutely delighted for, certainly the chairman. He's a local man and has invested an incredible amount of money in this football club."
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