Ipswich back in the Premier League for first time since 2002. Tom Brady's Birmingham relegated

Sat, May 4, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Ipswich back in the Premier League for first time since 2002. Tom Brady's Birmingham relegated

Ipswich will play in the Premier League for the first time since 2002 after securing the second automatic promotion spot from the second-tier Championship on Saturday.

Ipswich beat Huddersfield 2-0 to finish as the runner-up behind champion Leicester on the final day of the regular season, sparking a pitch invasion at Portman Road.

It is the second straight promotion for the team nicknamed the "Tractor Boys," who have been revitalized since Kieran McKenna became manager in December 2021 - when Ipswich was in the third tier.

Leeds, whose American ownership group includes major-winning golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, was the only team that could have prevented Ipswich from finishing second but needed to make up a three-point deficit on its rival.

Leeds lost 2-1 at home to Southampton.

Since relegation from the top flight in the 2001-02 season, Ipswich has struggled with financial issues and, in 2019, fell to the third tier for the first since 1957.

The recovery has been led by McKenna, a former Northern Ireland youth-team player who retired early because of injuries and preaches expansive, attacking football as a coach.

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Leeds joined Southampton, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich in the playoffs for the third promotion spot. Leeds will play Norwich over two legs and Southampton takes on West Brom.

The playoff final is at Wembley Stadium on May 26.

Birmingham, whose co-owner is NFL great Tom Brady, was relegated to the third tier despite winning on the final day.

Brady also holds a position as advisory board chairman after entering the world of soccer in August.

In his much-trumpeted arrival, Brady said he wanted to bring a winning mentality to Birmingham, which last played in the Premier League in 2011.

However, the team has struggled in a season that included an unsuccessful stint as manager by former England striker Wayne Rooney, who lasted just three months before getting fired in January.


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