READING (2) vs SWANSEA (4)
SWANSEA manager Brendan Rodgers admitted his side had help from the “footballing gods” on their way to landing Premier League football for the first time in their history and the £90m bounty that accompanies it.
The Welsh side roared into a 3-0 first-half lead thanks to a brace from Scott Sinclair and Stephen Dobbie’s well taken strike. But Reading stormed back after the interval and were looking capable of pulling off a remarkable comeback when Matt Mills added to Joe Allen’s own goal three minutes shy of the hour mark.
But Sinclair wrapped up victory with his second penalty of the game to complete his hat-trick and complete a remarkable journey for a club, who eight years ago were bottom of the Football League and beat Hull 4-2 on the last day in order to survive.
“It’s ironic, they won that game 4-2 and a player scored a hat-trick, including two penalties,” said Rodgers. “And now the club has done it again to get into the Premier League. The footballing gods were with us today. Eight years ago they couldn’t pay the electric bill and now they’ve won a £90m game.”
Victory at Wembley also represented a comeback for Rodgers, who lasted just 195 days in the Reading hot-seat before the axe fell, and was out of work until Swansea took a chance on him last summer.
However, the 38-year-old was in no mood to gloat and said: “I’ve nothing bad to say about Reading, I was just there at the wrong time.
“It was a big blow to leave a club I loved, and still do. That’s why there was not much jumping around at the end.”
The Swans were gifted the lead in the 21st minute courtesy of Zurab Khizanishvili’s clumsy challenge on Nathan Dyer allowing Sinclair to roll in his first penalty.
Sinclair struck again 36 seconds later when he tapped in Dobbie’s cross at the far post, and just before half-time Dobbie crashed in number three.
Reading mounted a creditable fight-back after the break and were inches away from drawing level when Jem Karacan hit a post before Sinclair, a summer signing from Chelsea, ended any lingering doubts with his second spot kick of the game.
Rodgers (right) added: “I’m very proud, I see it as the next step for me. It was my first full season as a manager, it’s been a wonderful journey up until now – and now it’s going into a totally different stratosphere. I’m really looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”
Swansea hit the big-time and land a £90m jackpot
SWANSEA’S largely unheralded playing squad and their up and coming manager Brendan Rodgers can expect a bumper pay-day after sealing their place in the Premier League yesterday.
The Welsh side’s thrilling victory over Reading in the Championship play-off final earned them a spot in the top flight and a return to the elite after a 28-year absence but, more importantly, a minimum cash bonanza of £90m.
That mouth-watering sum comprises £40m, which Swansea will receive as a Premier League base payment even if, as the bookmakers predict, they finish bottom of the pile next season.
And if they do go straight back down, as 12 of the last 19 play-off winners have, Swansea will be entitled to another £48m in parachute payments over the following four years.
The club can also expect around a £4m boost in commercial earnings from being in the top flight.