Huddersfield Town have been there, done it and given out the T-shirts when it comes to winning what is reputedly the richest game in world football.
The Terriers achieved the impossible in 2017 when they beat Reading in the Championship Play-off Final at Wembley to secure promotion to the Premier League.
A repeat of that unlikeliest of triumphs is on the cards when Town – relegation favourites when the season started back in August – go head-to-head with Nottingham Forest at Wembley on Sunday (4.30) for a match worth at least £170 million.
Town needed penalties and a cool head from Christopher Schindler to earn a historic promotion that many fans thought they’d never see in their lifetime.
The Terriers flooded into the Premier League on a wave of emotion, the passion and sheer joy of the fans startling the Premier League establishment.
The enjoyment of football for football’s sake made the money-dominated world of the Premier League sit up and take notice of this upstart little club which hadn’t been in the top flight for a generation.
The momentum of promotion and the goodwill generated helped Town defy the odds to stay in the Premier League. But the inevitable second season slump – it happens to around half the newly-promoted clubs – saw them plunged back into the Championship.
Years of lower midtable obscurity and an annual flirtation with relegation were what most fans expected but along came a Spanish reserve team coach and a director of football with some unusual ideas…
A 46-match season and a third-placed finish now means it comes down to 90 minutes (hopefully not more) and a possible return to the top table.
It’s over to the players now and here are some good luck messages and predictions from Town fans from near and far.
Sir Patrick Stewart
“I usually work late at the studio, and sleep in Sunday mornings…but not this weekend. I will be up at 6.30 am, Pacific Standard Time, warming up for viewing the match at 8.30am. I have a very strong feeling we can make it back into The Premiership. Come on Town.”
Sean Jarvis, former Town commercial director
“Good luck to my old team. It would be brilliant to see Town back in the Premier League. Last time we were there we left a great impression so let’s get back and show them we belong. UTT – 2-1 to Town. Danny Ward to bag the winner!”
Prof Bob Cryan, Vice Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield
“It is fantastic that Huddersfield Town are in the Championship Play-Offs and it would be wonderful to see them back in the Premiership as this will shine a sporting spotlight on the town and bring many more visitors on match days.”
Prof Graham Leslie CBE, former Town chairman and driving force behind the John Smith’s Stadium
“Wishing everyone connected with Town, especially our exceptional coach and players who have gone beyond our wildest expectations since kick off in this season, continued success.”
Joe Skarz, former Town player and Golcar United player-coach
“From everyone at Golcar United we would like to wish Carlos and the players the best of luck in the final. Fantastic season and a group who evidently love playing for the club. Prediction Town 1-0 with a Tom Lees header.”
Andrew Painten, Emley AFC chairman
“Best of luck to Huddersfield Town this weekend. Getting to the Premier League last time was an amazing achievement, staying up more so but I think getting back there again relatively quickly from such a competitive division would top it all.”
“My prediction is for a long nervy nail-biting afternoon. 2-2 after extra-time and a Town win on penalties.”
Kate Mallin, Huddersfield Town Women FC
“Good luck from all at the Huddersfield Town Women FC. It would be great to see Town back in the FA Premier League, let’s hope they can make it! My prediction is that it will be a tight game but Town to win 2-1!”
Richard Brearley, Huddersfield Amateur Ladies manager
“All the best and good luck to Huddersfield Town from all at Huddersfield Amateur Ladies. We will be cheering the lads on. Will be tense but Town to win on pens.”
Ash Connor, Golcar United joint manager
“I’d like to wish everyone at Huddersfield Town good luck on Sunday. They’ve had a great season and what an achievement it would be to secure promotion back to the Premier League. I’m predicting 1-0 to Town.”
Joe Batchelor, Town fan and St Helens RL player
“Best of luck to the Terriers. Been an amazing season so far, seeing the team grow into what it is now with the Terrier spirit returning. Would be incredible for the club to return to the Premier League and hopefully lessons have been learned and it can set the club up for the next 10 years or so. I’m going to say 1-0 Town, Tom Lees. UTT.”
Town fan and boxer Fes Batista and his coach Roy Jones Jr
Fes: Good luck Terriers! Roy: “What’s up Huddersfield! Good luck to you in the Play-offs. Hope you do your thing!”
James Batchelor, Town fan and Wakefield RL player
“Good luck, Town! Looking forward to getting down to Wembley again and getting behind the lads! I think it would be great for us to get back up there and show we’ve learned from the first time and right a few wrongs from that second season. I’m going for 0-0 and a win on penalties – the only way Town every get through a play-off final!”
Alison Bamforth, chair of Huddersfield Town Women FC
“A massive ‘good luck’ to Carlos, the players and all the backroom staff from myself and everyone at Huddersfield Town Women FC. Loads of us (along with most of Huddersfield!) will be there on Sunday cheering you all on!
“It would be absolutely massive for Town to return to the Premier League and hopefully give interest, participation and support for football in Huddersfield and the surrounding area a massive boost at all levels. 2-1 Town AET!”