It’s a winner-takes-all Wembley showpiece billed as the richest game in world club football.
Huddersfield Town’s biggest game in almost half-a-century is worth a staggering £200 million to the winner.
That’s the riches in TV money and sponsorship that Town or Reading will bank for victory at the national stadium on Monday, May 29.
Town earned a final one-off shot at promotion to the Premier League with a dramatic penalty shoot-out triumph over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
As the magnitude of the achievement starts to sink in so does the sheer size of the financial opportunity, both for the club, the town and the wider Kirklees district.
Town commercial director Sean Jarvis said interest in the club the morning after the night before was “unprecedented.”
He added: “We’ve had some amazing games this season with a buzz around the club with the game against Liverpool, the FA Cup and Manchester City but what we’re experiencing now is something I’ve not seen the like of before.”
Hospitality packages and Wembley merchandise were already flying off the shelves and some fans were asking the club about how they could travel to London in style.
“We’ve had enquiries about executive coach travel and people asking if we’re organising a private jet.
“All this puts Huddersfield on the map. I’ve just got in my car and turned the radio on and they were talking about Huddersfield Town. We’ve won nothing yet but our achievement has been massive.”
Huddersfield Labour candidate Barry Sheerman, the town’s MP since 1979, chairs the Future of Huddersfield group and believes promotion could be huge for the town.
“It would give us such a lift,” he said. “If Huddersfield Town were to become a Premier League club after all these years there would be such a boost at every level.
“We are talking business, investment and the morale of the town as a whole. It is just what we need and just what we are fighting for.”
Mr Sheerman revealed he watched the penalty shoot-out on TV at a pub in Almondbury as he stayed on the campaign trail ahead of the General Election.
And he said he was unlikely to be at Wembley as he joked he “couldn’t take the stress” of another tension-packed occasion.
Town fans are “living the dream” right now – to paraphrase defender and crowd favourite Michael Hefele – and supporters are digging deep to ensure they can make the biggest game in Town’s recent history.
Bob Pepper, a committee stalwart for the Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association, is also still recovering from the tension of what he described as “one of those nights you will never forget.”
He added: “A penalty shoot-out is a dire way to lose a game but it’s the greatest way to win. Town fans are re-arranging their lives to be there on Bank Holiday Monday.”
Bob said he’d already had e-mails from Town fans across the world and added: “I’ve been contacted by fans in the West Indies, Australia, Finland and, erm, Scotland, who are all saying they are going to be there. That’s what this game means to the fans.
“I don’t know how the final will play out but the prospect of Huddersfield becoming a Premier League club is just amazing.
“We were a First Division club years ago – the last time in 1972 – but the old First Division is nothing compared to the riches on offer in the modern-day Premier League.
“This is dubbed the £200 million game and for that we have to be extremely grateful to our owner and chairman Dean Hoyle.
“Huddersfield is a club that has managed its finances very prudently. The Premier League scenario means riches beyond our wildest dreams.”