Ipswich promoted to Premier League for first time in 22 years

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna looks to the fans after a win in the Sky Bet Championship. Photo: Kevin Hodgson/MI News/NurPhoto via AFP

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna looks to the fans after a win in the Sky Bet Championship. Photo: Kevin Hodgson/MI News/NurPhoto via AFP

Published May 4, 2024


Ipswich returned to the Premier League for the first time in 22 years after beating Huddersfield 2-0 to secure promotion from the Championship on Saturday.

Goals from Wes Burns and Omari Hutchinson ensured the Tractor Boys became just the fourth side in the Premier League era to go from the third to the top tier via consecutive promotions.

Leeds needed an Ipswich defeat coupled with victory over Southampton to leap into the top two.

But Daniel Farke's men lost 2-1 to Saints at Elland Road, meaning he will come up against old club Norwich in the playoff semi-finals.

Ipswich's most famous fan Ed Sheeran, who sponsors the club's shirts, was not in attendance for wild scenes of celebration at Portman Road as fans poured on to the pitch and lit blue flares at full-time.

The Suffolk club, which was sold to American investors for just £40 million ($50 million), will now pocket at least £200 million in television revenue in the coming years.

Ipswich's rise was masterminded by boss Kieran McKenna, who has earned rave reviews in his first managerial role.

McKenna failed to make the grade as a Tottenham player due to a serious hip injury.

But the 37-year-old thrived as a youth academy coach with Tottenham and then Manchester United.

He was promoted to help coach United's first-team by Jose Mourinho and retained that role under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford before joining Ipswich in 2021.

"It means a lot, mostly seeing how much it means to everyone, the players, the supporters. To be one of the leaders of that is absolutely massive," McKenna said.

"It's a wonderful day, I'm very proud of everyone involved. It's what we've done all year. It's an incredible amount of effort."

'A great challenge'

Huddersfield had already been realistically relegated prior to Saturday due to their vastly inferior goal difference compared to their rivals at the bottom.

Burns settled any nerves among the home support when he fired low into the bottom corner on 27 minutes.

On-loan Chelsea winger Hutchinson has been one of the stars of Ipswich's season and made sure McKenna's men could relax by smashing home a second just three minutes into the second half.

Ipswich could face a fight just to hold on to the highly-rated McKenna, who has been linked with a move to Brighton should Roberto De Zerbi leave the Seagulls.

"I'm sure it'll sink in in a couple of days. There's a lot of work to do. It'll start in a couple of days time," McKenna said.

"The Premier League will be a great challenge and one that I'm really looking forward to."

West Brom beat Preston 3-0 to secure their playoff place and will face Southampton.

There was also drama at the bottom of the table as Birmingham were relegated in their first season with NFL legend Tom Brady as a minority owner of the club.

A 1-0 win over Norwich was not enough to save the Blues.

Blackburn spoiled Leicester's title party with a 2-0 win at the King Power to survive and deny the Foxes amassing 100 points.

Plymouth ended Hull's playoff hopes with a 1-0 win to hold off Birmingham by a point.