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Promoted Brighton in full Bloom

19 April 2017

"This is a club that haven't been in the Premier League".

It was all in marked contrast to Newcastle's display in a 1-1 draw at home to Leeds on Friday, a match they dominated until Chris Wood's last-gasp equaliser in stoppage time.

The Seagulls led the way in the Championship last season before being leapfrogged by Burnley and Middlesbrough.

Daniel Pudil struck a first-half victor for Sheffield Wednesday as they saw off QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road to go fifth and remain in the driving seat for a play-off spot, having lost in the final last season.

Of the current squad, only Steve Sidwell and Liam Rosenior have been genuine long-term starters for a top-flight side, and neither are likely to be regulars next season, while only a couple more such as Murray and Stockdale have ever played more than a handful games in the Premier League.

Top of the Championship Brighton were promoted to the Premier League after they beat Wigan and Huddersfield drew at Derby.

Chairman Tony Bloom, whose millions have led to Brighton's inspiring elevation, said: "It feels incredible".

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Brighton will need three more points to claim the SkyBet Championship title outright, and they have the chance to gain those in their remaining games against Norwich, Bristol City, and Aston Villa. "It's a set up that some teams in the Premier League would be delighted with in terms of the training ground and stadium and we have the chairman to thank for that".

Brighton's rise this season has been a reward to the fans who have stuck with the club through thick and thin.

Born in the city, Bloom is a lifelong fan of the club and took over as chairman in 2009, funding the 30,750 seater-stadium. So it's a wonderful feeling for myself but more for a group of supporters and a club when you have a local investor who is prepared to put his own money into a club.

"They've been good all season". It is 11 months since I went into the changing-room at the end of the play-off semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday and the players were on the floor. Brighton had no home, and the fans felt lost and frustrated.

'Some players never get memories like this in their career, so it's fantastic for us'.

The former Republic of Ireland defender has turned Brighton into one of the defensively strongest sides in the Championship since taking over in December 2014, keeping 47 clean sheets in 111 league games in charge. "You can get close six or seven times on the spin and not make it and it gets tougher every year".