Nottingham Forest midfielder Ryan Yates has said he will not “rethink” what it means to win Sunday’s championship final against Huddersfield.
Nottingham-born Yates is eager to help the Reds end their 23-year absence from the Premier League.
The Wembley Final is also the most valuable game in football and is said to be worth at least £170m to the winner.
“I tried not to think about it too much,” he said. “It is a huge opportunity that we must succeed in.”
Sports business analysts at Deloitte believe Sunday’s winners can count on those fortunes for the next three seasons if the club goes down after just one season.
One season in the Premier League is said to be worth at least £90m in broadcast revenue, with parachute payments of around £80m – spread over two seasons – if the rising club drops out straight.
If relegation in that first season is avoided, the promotion is expected to be worth around £300m over five years.
Yates said the financial spoils of winning were “external distractions” he tried to ignore.
“We have 46 or more matches, so you shouldn’t think about what the other match is,” he said.
“All I wanted to do was play for Forest in the Premier League, but then you have to take the steps and the process to make it happen. That means focusing on improving every day and not taking anything for granted.
“Huddersfield is a really strong team, they finished above us in the league and it shows the strength they have as a team. Honestly, we are just focused on beating them.”
“Mental and Personal”
While Huddersfield’s rise this season has not been as strong as Forrest’s – the Reds qualified for their first final after eight games from the bottom of the table – their transformation under coach Carlos Corbran has been notable.
The Terriers finished 20th in the championship last season but smashed many expectations to finish third and reach Wembley.
Corbran says he has believed in his team since pre-season.
“I felt like I had a team with players that I believed in a lot,” he said. “This group has a good mentality and personality. I expected us to be competitive.
“We weren’t always able to be perfect for 90 minutes, but we were always in the games.”
The Spaniard, who worked with Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds before taking the job in the city in July 2020, believes his squad have shown throughout the season that they can handle moments of pressure.
“It will be important who can handle the pressure. You have to be able to relax to perform well,” he said.
“We always try to create a balance between self-confidence and the personal aspirations of the players.
I wouldn’t handle the situation any differently. Throughout the year the team went there knowing it was a competitive game and trying to win.
“The consequences of Sunday’s game are bigger, but to get here you played a lot of games you had to win.
“If I had to teach players how to deal with pressure now, it would be too late. So for me, this is a habit that players really need.”
Terriers coach Corbran is not worried about injury, and winger Sorba Thomas may start after returning from a knee injury in the semi-final second leg at Luton Town.
Forrest Cooper boss is in a similar position as Keenan Davis struggles to start after coming off the bench to replace Sam Surage in the second leg of the semi-final against Sheffield United.
- Three of Huddersfield’s last four neutral matches at Wembley have ended on penalties, with the Terriers winning the 2016–17 Championship playoff final and the 2011–12 League One playoff final on penalties but losing the 1993–94 UEFA Cup Final. In the other match of that series, they defeated Bristol Rovers 2–1 in 1994/95 in the final playoff.
- Huddersfield Town reached the sixth final in the English Football League Finals, winning promotion to four of the previous five World Cups. In fact, only Blackpool (six) have won promotion through the EFL Playoffs more times than Terriers (four).
- Huddersfield Town’s Carlos Corbran may become the first Spanish coach to lead a second-tier side during the first-tier play-offs.
- Nottingham Forest reached the NFL Final for the first time in their history – the Reds were eliminated in each of their previous four semi-final matches (2002–03, 2006–07, 2009–10 and 2010–11). .
- Nottingham Forest coach Steve Cooper participated in the championship playoffs as a coach in each of his three seasons in the division, reaching the final for the second season in a row (lost 2-0 to Brentford with Swansea). . The only manager to fail to win promotion to the Second Division Final in a row is Brian Little with Leicester City (1991-92 and 1992-93).
- Steve Cooper has won 59% of his 44 games as Nottingham Forest manager (W26 U10 N8) – the best win rate for any Forest manager since the club joined the Football League in 1892-93 (at least 15 games).