The final days and games of the English Championship are some of the wildest in the entire world of soccer, even if they basically go unnoticed outside of the hardest of the hardcore soccer nerds in America.
The move up from the Championship, the English second division, to the Premier League is worth millions of dollars to the promoted clubs.
Accounting firm Deloitte estimated promotion for Hull City would be worth somewhere in the range of $185 million.
Saturday morning, as the final games of the Championship season concluded concurrently, the race for the final automatic promotion place swayed back-and-forth between Hull City and Watford, in a crazy, madcap display of frayed nerves by both players, coaches and fans.
For example: Hull City was awarded a second-half penalty already ahead 2-1. Anxious Tigers’ fans ran onto the field to celebrate. After the delay, Hull’s penalty was saved.
Then Hull City appeared to have pissed away promotion, allowing a stoppage time penalty to Cardiff City — which won the Championship and clinched its promotion place weeks ago. The 2-2 draw seemed to doom the (mustard) Tigers.
Except there was a life line — the Watford/Leeds game ran late due to a long injury delay in the second half. If Watford won, they’d have gone up.
It meant the Hull City players gathered in the locker room to watch and await their fate much like a college basketball team in March.
When Leeds scored late it set the Hull City players into celebration.
Egyptian Ahmed Elmohamady took it upon himself to first kiss the Sky Sports camera on the lens a couple times followed by a peck on his own bicep, then bust into his version of the robot.
Watford will now enter the four-team Championship playoff along with Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester City. The winner gains the final promotion place.