LONDON • Burnley returned to the Premier League at the first attempt with a 1-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers (QPR) - securing promotion from the Championship and a minimum £100 million (S$197.3 million) windfall.
Brighton & Hove Albion's earlier 1-1 draw with Derby County meant Burnley could go up with a game to spare with victory over QPR and they achieved it through a Sam Vokes header on the hour.
The Lancashire club, relegated last year, have 90 points, two more than Brighton and Middlesbrough, who meet this weekend to decide who takes the second automatic promotion spot.
Middlesbrough's goal difference is marginally superior to Brighton's, meaning a draw would be enough for the north-east club to go up to the top flight.
The team who finish third in one of the tightest promotion battles in years enter the play-offs with Hull City, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday.
A new three-year domestic TV rights deal for the Premier League worth £5.14 billion kicks in next season, meaning promotion to the top flight has never been more lucrative.
Even finishing bottom next season will be worth £100 million with the so-called parachute payments over subsequent seasons estimated to double that total.
"The resilience, belief and character got us through. You can't be brilliant every week, we don't think we're the real deal, but we're a real group that sticks together," Burnley manager Sean Dyche said after his side gained promotion.
Burnley's previous two promotions, first under Owen Coyle in 2009 and then with Dyche two years ago, have been followed by relegation 12 months later - a consequence of a club punching well above their weight in a league of riches.
This time, though, the odds are perhaps stacked a little more in their favour.
Burnley prided themselves on prudence during their previous two Premier League stays, and they have been rewarded. Their most recent accounts showed a record profit of £30.1 million.
That money is being spent on projects, such as the upgrading of their training ground, that will provide an infrastructure worthy of the top level.
The £100 million from the new television contract will boost their spending power for next season and they can now afford to push the boat out.
As Dyche said: "I'll be speaking to the board to say, 'Look, the challenge is enormous. What can we do to have a real go at it?' "
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON