30 May, 2011

World football's richest game ends with first Welsh club in English FA Premier League as players remember fallen team-mate:

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WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE: Swansea celebrate promotion
Brendan Rodgers points to sky at end of emotional year
 "This win was all thanks to the manager," - hat-trick hero Scott Sinclair

"It wasn't just about winning today; it was also about defending our principles," - Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers

Forget the World Cup Final; forget the Champions League Final.  The single richest game in world football is the Championship Play-Off Final which garners for the winner the untold riches of the FA Premier League. 

In an emotional tribute;  Swansea's players wore a t-shirt in rememberance of their fallen team-mate;  22 year old Besian Idrizaj (left) at the final whistle

Even if you get relegated in the season immediately following promotion to the Premier League (as of course so many clubs do); the parachute and TV payments you obtain simply having reached the Premier League, will keep most clubs in the black for years (or even the best part of a decade) to come.  Swansea's challenge for next season will now quite simply be to stay in the big league next season; but for today they'll savour the Wembley atmosphere at realising that next season they'll be running out at grounds like Old Trafford and Anfield.  In an emotional touch at the end of the game; every Swansea City player wore a t-shirt in memory of their former team-mate Besian Idrizaj who died last May.
This Irishman (Shane Long) must play in Premier League
Manager Brendan Rodgers was also seen pointing to the sky at the final whistle as a tribute to the man who died aged just 22 years old of a suspected heart attack.  Rodgers mother also died this year from cancer and he will climb Mount Kilamajaro in a week's time.
Will Noel Hunt & Long join the growing Irish list at Wolves?
Rodgers of course has considerable ties with Reading FC and was seen shaking hands with opposite number Brian McDermott at the final whistle.  Another classy touch on a day of classy touches.
Wembley will not be a nice place for Reading and their faithful today, but many of their players have a bright future in the game.  This Reading side will most likely split up now;  but for the considerable Irish contingent, there is plenty of hope for the future. Leading goalscorer; Shane Long from Tipperary, who netted 21 times this season will surely be playing Premier League football next season and Stephen Hunt's brother Noel also looks a most promising talent.  One wonders will these boys join the ever growing Irish list at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League?  One thing for sure is that Shane Long will not be plying his trade at the Madejski next season.   For today though; many congratulations to Swansea's Swans.  Wales at long last, have a club in the Premier League.Follow hoogenband0110 on Twitter

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