Brighton return to Premier League after 34-year absence

Wild celebrations as Seagulls secure promotion with win over Wigan to make up for last season's near miss

Connor Goldson, Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert
Connor Goldson, Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert celebrate with fans
(Image credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Brighton & Hove Albion are back in the top flight of English football for the first time in 34 years. Huddersfield's failure to beat Derby County ensured promotion for the Seagulls after the south coast side beat Wigan.

The Championship leaders made up for the disappointment of last season, when a last-day draw with Middlesbrough meant they missed out on promotion on goal difference. This time round Brighton secured automatic promotion with three games still to play.

Goals either side of half-time, from Glenn Murray and Solly March, put Albion into a commanding position against Wigan at the Amex Stadium, although a headed goal from Wigan's Nick Powell in the 85th minute set nerves jangling among the home supporters.

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Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live after the match, manager Chris Hughton hailed his side's determination to make amends for last season. "It had something to do with how the season ended last season," he said, "but I think it was more the fact that the players enjoyed being up that end of the table, competing, getting into the play-offs.

"I think it was a conscious decision that they wanted that again, and the signs were there early in the season. We recruited well early in the season, in the summer, but it was a real steely determination from the group of players that wanted to do it again."

A 3-1 defeat for Newcastle at the hands of Ipswich Town means that Hughton's men can secure the Championship title with a win over Norwich at Carrow Road on Friday. A draw or even a defeat will be enough if Newcastle fail to get a better result than Brighton in their Monday night home game against Preston.

Despite their own defeat, Rafa Benitez's Newcastle still look likely to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking. They are six points clear of third-placed Reading and seven clear of Huddersfield in fourth, although the latter have a game in hand.

Brighton players were pictured celebrating with fans in videos circulating on social media after the game, crowdsurfing down a packed train carriage to the delight of their supporters.

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