As I’ve explained in previous blogs, soccer leagues relegate their worst clubs to lower divisions annually. This allows for teams in lower divisions to move up to the top league. In England, the top league is the Premier League, and the second division is referred to as the Championship. Every year, three teams from the Championship are promoted to the Premier League. The top two clubs are automatically promoted and the clubs that finish 3-6 compete in a playoff with the winner being the last team promoted to the Premier League.
Being promoted to the Premier League is a huge deal for teams, not only for the prestige, but for financial reasons as well. Ok, mostly for financial reasons, because cash. With television deals and ticket sales, being in the Premier League means a club will get at the very least an 8-digit windfall. Due to this large chunk of change, many have dubbed the final of the Championship as “The Richest Game in Football.”
This year Brentford and Fulham faced off in the Richest Game in Football. To make it even juicer, these clubs both hail from West London (which is on the west side of London), and their stadiums are separated by only four miles, or as it’s said in English: miles. The BBC estimated the return to the Premier League would score Fulham $176 million, while a win would see Brentford scoring $209 million.
As one would imagine with that much on the line, it was a cagey affair. The teams were tied 0-0 after 90 minutes, leading to two extra time halves of 15 minutes to try and find a winner. With everything on the line, this happened:
Fulham would score another and win the playoff to be promoted to the Premier League.
First off: Oof.
This goalie will never live this down. I feel bad for the guy, but it literally looks like a glitch straight out of FIFA. I’ve thrown my controller across the room when this happens to me in a completely meaningless video game. Can’t imagine what it feels like in real life. And then imagine being the owner of the club and watching this cost you over $200 million. Tough stuff.