Nottingham Forest have been promoted to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years with a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in the Championship playoff final at Wembley on Sunday.

An own goal from Huddersfield defender Levi Colwill was enough for Forest to secure victory in the playoff final, dubbed the “richest game in football” due to the prize of a place in the Premier League, alongside the lucrative broadcasting deals and prize money that come with it.

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Forest broke the deadlock at the end of a tense first half as James Garner curled in a cross toward midfielder Ryan Yates which Colwill turned into his own net.

Huddersfield pushed for an equaliser and were denied a penalty area on 73 minutes when defender Harry Toffolo went down just inside in the Forest penalty under the outstretched leg of Jack Colback.

Forest, who were playing at Wembley for the first time since its redevelopment in 2007, held on for a narrow victory and will now re-take their place in the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

The East Midlands side were at one time among the biggest clubs in England, winning back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980 under British managerial legend Brian Clough, as well as lifting the English First Division title in 1978.

“I’m just so proud of the players, staff, fans,” Forest defender Joe Worrall said.

“We’ve been fantastic all season — we were really unlucky to not go up automatically. We’ve played with honesty and we play football the right way.”

The East Midlands side had made an awful start to the Championship this season, sacking manager Chris Hughton when they were bottom of the league after taking just one point from their opening seven games.

Former Swansea City boss Steve Cooper took charge and transformed their campaign, leading Forest to a fourth-placed finish, two points behind third-placed Huddersfield.

Forest then defeated Sheffield United on penalties in the playoff semifinals, putting them one game away from reaching England’s top flight. Sunday’s victory means they will now join Bournemouth and Fulham in next season’s Premier League, who won automatic promotion from the Championship.

Forest have struggled to find their way out of the Championship and Cooper was the 14th manager they have appointed in 10 years, since Billy Davies departed in the summer of 2011.

“Everybody connected with the football club deserves today and we are really looking forward now to a positive future,” said Cooper. “I love being at this football club, it has changed my life professionally.”

Huddersfield had been relegated from the Premier League in 2019 after two seasons in the top division and had finished 18th and 20th in the past two campaigns.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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