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Luton Town begin their Championship play-off campaign on Friday night as they take on Huddersfield Town at Kenilworth Road.
In truth, the fact that Luton are in the play-offs is a near-miracle considering the club spent a mere £1.5m building their current squad.
While the likes of Fulham, Bournemouth and Sheffield United all spent nine figure sums assembling their teams, the Hatters have essentially embarrassed their opponents by reaping similar rewards for a fraction of the price.
As things stand, Luton's market value stands at £18.9m. Should Nathan Jones produce another miracle and somehow lead Town to play-off success, his team would become the cheapest side since Hull City in 2008 to earn promotion to the Premier League.
Planet Sport takes a closer look at the last 17 Championship seasons and pick out clubs with the lowest market value who achieved promotion.
Figures are provided by Transfermarkt.
2020/21 - Watford
In order to provide bit of perspective, here's a look at last season's promoted clubs and their market values.
Norwich City, who won the Championship in 2020/21, had a formidable team which racked up 97 points and won 29 of 46 games. That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering they had the league's highest market value of £164m. Brentford, who won the play-offs, also boasted an impressive squad value of £152m. Watford, on the other hand, had the lowest market value of the three promoted teams at £101m. Compared to the teams below, there are astronomical figures.
2016/17 - Huddersfield Town
Similarly to Luton's current accomplishments, Huddersfield's promotion back in 2016/17 was also seen as somewhat of a miracle. Despite having a squad valued at £35m - 15th highest in the league - David Wagner was able to mastermind a top five finish and a play-off victory. Keeping the team up the following season is, however, his greatest achievement.
2014/15 - Bournemouth
Speaking of miracles, Bournemouth winning the Championship in 2015 is certainly one of the most incredible achievements in recent football history. The Cherries finished 21st in League Two six years earlier and came within nine points of dropping out of the Football League. Nevertheless, Bournemouth rose through the leagues before claiming the Championship title in 2015 with a squad market value of £22m - the eighth lowest in the division.
2013/14 - Burnley
After four years in the Championship, Burnley eventually secured their return to the Premier League following an incredible campaign which saw them lose just five league games. If that wasn't impressive enough, Sean Dyche delivered promotion with a squad which was valued at just £22m - only the 14th highest valuation in the league that season.
2010/11 - Norwich City
Despite having the sixth-lowest market value of the 2010/11 Championship season - a mere £19m - Paul Lambert led the Canaries to automatic promotion. On top of that, Norwich finished just four points away from title winners QPR - a club whose squad was worth double the amount at £42m. Swansea City are also worth a mention as the play-off winners earned a Premier League spot with a squad valued at just £24m.
2009/10 - Blackpool
Ian Holloway on how Blackpool's use of inside forwards helped them win the 2010 Championship playoff final 🍊
— The Coaches' Voice (@CoachesVoice) August 25, 2020
Ian Holloway led Blackpool through an incredible campaign in 2009/10 as he sealed a sixth-placed finish before winning the play-offs in dramatic fashion. Blackpool lost a total of 14 games during the campaign - same as 15th placed Ipswich Town - yet with a squad valued at just £22m, the Premier League dream was achieved.
2007/08 - Hull City
Phil Brown might be best remembered for his on-field half-time team talk during a Premier League match with Manchester City… and Jimmy Bullard's infamous celebration a year later. That does seem a little harsh considering this is the same man who took Hull City to the Premier League back in 2008, with a squad valued at just £17m - the seventh-lowest figure in the division that season.
2005/06 - Reading
The 2005/06 Championship campaign should go down in history as the 'Poundland' season considering the value of promoted clubs. Champions Reading, who had a market value of just £15m, won an incredible 106 points after losing just two league games all season. Another team who deserve a mention are Watford who finished third and won the play-offs with a squad also worth a mere £15m. Southampton and Wolves - who both boasted team valuations of £50m plus - failed to make the top six.
The article Clubs who bagged Premier League promotion on a budget - Blackpool, Huddersfield, Reading and more appeared first on Planetsport.com.