26 May 2015

Norwich return to Premier League

7:36 am on 26 May 2015

Norwich City won have swept back into English football's Premier League with a 2-nil victory over Middlesbrough in this morning's Championship playoff final.

Norwich City fans celebrate their return to the Premier League.

Norwich City fans celebrate their return to the Premier League. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Alex Neil's side raced into a two-goal lead inside the first 15 minutes at Wembley thanks to goals from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond and that early blitz was enough to secure an immediate and lucrative return to the Premier League just 12 months after the pain of relegation.

Promotion is worth an estimated 253 million dollars, but, while the cash is important to Norwich's prosperity, it was the thought of taking their place alongside the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United that fuelled the jubilant celebrations at the final whistle.

Winning promotion in such style will also add to the growing reputation of the 33-year-old Neil, a fiery Scot who has already earned comparisons with former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Middlesbrough couldn't quell their nerves and lackadaisical defending proved their downfall in the 12th minute, with a sloppy back pass pounced on by Jerome to devastating effect.

Jerome's 21st goal of the season was a terrible one to concede and Middlesbrough still looked shell-shocked when Norwich swept forward to double their lead three minutes later.

This was a far more emphatic strike from Neil's team, whose confidence, already high after their playoff semi-final win over bitter rivals Ipswich, had gone through the roof in the moments after Jerome's opener.

They swaggered towards the penalty area in blur of quick passes before Steven Whittaker played a precise ball into Redmond, the young Norwich winger matching the quality of the approach play as he a touch before driving a fine finish into the far corner.

Despite beating Norwich twice this season, Middlesbrough had been completely over-run and spent the rest of the half just trying to recover their composure.

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