Southampton secure return to Premier League after winning Championship play-off final against Leeds 1-0

Southampton have returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking after beating Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley, in what was dubbed the richest match in football.

The Saints, who were relegated from the top flight in the 2022-2023 season after finishing bottom of the table, won the Championship play-off final on Sunday courtesy of a goal from Adam Armstrong in the 24th minute.

One of Southampton's most high-profile supporters, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, congratulated the side, reposting a picture of the team on X along with the words: "We're back."

Leeds went close late on when substitute Dan James hit the crossbar on 84 minutes as they pushed for an equaliser, but they were condemned to a sixth defeat in six play-off attempts.

The West Yorkshire club, who finished third in the Championship in the latest campaign and just outside the top two automatic promotion places, will have to battle it out in the second tier of English football for another season.

For Southampton, their victory means a place in the Premier League which is worth an estimated £140m in revenue across the next three seasons, according to accountants Deloitte.

That figure could rise to more than £305m if Southampton avoid relegation after their first season in the Premier League.

When they were relegated from the top flight in 2005 it took seven years to return, including two spells in League One, but this time they got the job done far more efficiently under manager Russell Martin, who was appointed last June.

Southampton, who finished fourth in the table in the regular season, took the lead when Armstrong drilled a low shot past goalkeeper Illan Meslier - his fourth goal in three matches against Leeds this season.

The South Coast side were a regular fixture in the Premier League for 11 straight seasons before they were relegated last year in 20th place.

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Martin told Sky Sports: "I feel emotional and overwhelmed by the love and support I've had over the past nine or 10 months especially in the tougher times.

"The support from the board, I had to validate their decision and justify being handed the chance."

He added: "I'm so pleased for them because it wasn't an exciting appointment. I'd finish 10th with Swansea, had a very clear way of doing things at MK Dons so for them to take me on was really brave.

"The team have been so brave and I'm grateful and proud of them."

Leeds and Southampton were relegated last season from the Premier League along with Leicester City who won the Championship this time round.

Southampton and Leicester return to the top flight along with Ipswich Town, who have not played in the Premier League since the 2001-02 season.

Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton Town were promoted to the Premier League last season, but all three are returning to the Championship after just a year.