Seagulls soar to top-flight promotion

Brighton have won promotion to the Premier League for the first time after a 2-1 win over Wigan saw them go seven points clear at the Championship summit.

The Seagulls last played in the old First Division in 1982/83 and later flirted with disaster as they narrowly avoided relegation to the National League before the turn of the millennium.

Chris Hughton's side only marginally missed out on top-flight football a year ago when they finished third following a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on the final day of the season, before losing to Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off semi-finals.

But Albion have stormed back this term to win 28 of their 43 league games to build a comfortable lead over second-placed Newcastle with three fixtures remaining, from which they need just three points to claim the title.

Hughton has experienced the thrill of promotion before with current title rivals Newcastle, but he rates this one as his finest achievement.

"It's a wonderful achievement and there's so many people that I'm absolutely delighted for, certainly the chairman [Tony Bloom]. He's a local man and has invested an incredible amount of money in this football club," the 58-year-old said after the match.

"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 games as possible.

"Right at this moment, this is the most exciting one [achievement]. I went up with Newcastle as a team that just came down, and although we'd lost players, I had a very strong team.

"This is a club that haven't been in the Premier League. This was a club that had been in the play-offs two years running before I got here, so it wasn't a club that was used to being at the bottom end of the division."

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