Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Buckle Up - We're in for an Amazing Ride All the Way to the Top Flight!

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Buckle Up - We're in for an Amazing Ride All the Way to the Top Flight!

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers Sports Writer anthony.vickers@trinitymirror.com

RIGHT: strap yourself in and prepare for the chest crushing G-force. Boro are about to hit Championship escape velocity.

The pressure will be incredible. There will be moments when you can't catch your breath. It may be one hell of a scary ride at a rammed Riverside as the tension crackles and the drama unfolds.

But the knotted stomachs, gnawed nails and waves of nausea will all be worth it to be on board when the club blasts into the stratosphere.

Make no mistake, Boro's promotion shoot-out with Brighton is the biggest ever at the Riverside.

Yes, there have been some fantastic memory-making matches, pulsating semi-finals that propelled us to domestic and European glory and we must cherish them and take pride from them.

But the size of the prize make this showdown with the Seagulls massive beyond compare. It is an epoch defining moment.

Victory will instantly catapult the winners straight into the list of richest 30 clubs in the world. Promotion this season is worth an immediate minimum of PS170m and bean-counters Deloitte calculate that could rise to a staggering PS290m and beyond if the club avoids relegation next season. Wow. The game these days is measured in mountains of cash and football fans have become accountants with an acute awareness of revenue streams and global branding opportunities.

But it is not all about money. It is about sporting glory. It is about being in right at the beginning of another "whole new ball game".

It is about being on the right side of history and not being left behind.

Football is about to undergo a dramatic seismic shift, the most significant reshaping since the formation of the Premier League in 1992.

Back then the cash carveup cemented a group of clubs into a position of power and opened up a chasm between them and the also-rans.

We were lucky to bridge that gap thanks to Steve Gibson's injection of cash and an accident of history.

Boro moved to a box-fresh new ground just as football became family friendly and fashionable and at a time when the TV money was starting to flow but crucially when the chairman's PS10m a year injection was able to compete with Europe's giants to attract big name players to Teesside. …

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