SUPER Saints have hit the football jackpot after securing promotion to the Premier League amid emotional scenes at St Mary’s this afternoon.
A record-breaking crowd of 32,363 packed the ground to witness Saints' long awaited return to the top flight of English football following a 4-0 demolition of relegated Coventry.
Goals from Billy Sharp, Jose Fonte, Jos Hooiveld and Adam Lallana also guaranteed the club a cash goldmine - worth an estimated £90m.
Thousands of fans invaded the pitch at the final whistle, while the result was greeted by similar scenes of delight in pubs and households across the city, as fans celebrated a return to the big
The celebrations had been put on ice since last weekend, after Saints lost 2-1 against Middlesbrough.
But this afternoon’s result means Saints are finally back in the Premier League, following an agonising seven year absence.
Having sat in the top two places of the Championship for the entire season, helped by 27 goals from Rickie
Lambert, Adkins’ team had lost two of their past three games.
But Saints dominated today’s crunch game to win automatic promotion with Reading who go up as champions.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for Saints who were staring at the possibility of liquidation and one of the most dramatic falls from grace when they entered the third tier of English football only
three years ago.
And for manager Adkins, it's yet another promotion on his CV. Despite having been a professional manager for under six years, he has now overseen four promotions.
Twice in three years he took unfashionable Scunthorpe United into the second tier of English football before creating Saints history by becoming the club's first ever manager to win back-to-back
Adkins' place in Saints history is now secured after taking the club from the League 1 relegation zone to the the Premier League in under 90 extraordinary weeks.
Adkins, clearly emotional after the final whistle, praised the fans and said: "Everybody at this football club has worked their socks off. They deserve all the praise they get."
Lifelong Southampton fan, Herbie Taylor, 81, who was among the record-breaking crowd at St Mary’s today, said: “It's been a fantastic effort by the club to
be in the top two of that league for as long as they have. It's nothing short of remarkable and they thoroughly deserved to go up.
“You have to give the manager, the chairman and the players huge credit for what they have achieved.
The club’s promotion is also set to provide a welcome boost to the city’s economy.
Councillors in Blackpool reported that an extra £30m was spent in the seaside resort, during their one year stay in the Premier League, as thousands of extra fans and tourists flocked to the town.
Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, believes promotion
will boost the city’s reputation across the world.
He said: “The phenomenon of the Premier League is so much that you can go to places like Japan and China and they can tell you all the results.
“To have Southampton in that list of teams gives the reputation of the city a massive boost across the world and our name will reach a much bigger audience.
“This is a staggering achievement and it really does mean a lot to so many people in the city.”