Kevin Phillips Niall Quinn Britain Manchester Football athletics Kevin Phillips Niall Quinn Britain Manchester

'It was mayhem': Remembering one of the best play-off finals in English football history

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It is 25 years this week since what's regarded as one of the greatest play-off final in English football history. The game between Charlton Athletic and Sunderland at the old Wembley Stadium ended 4-4 after extra time, with Charlton winning 7-6 on penalties to secure a place in the Premier League.

To say it was a breathless, see-saw affair played on a humid May day before a raucous capacity crowd probably undersells what was a contest for the ages.

The play-off final on May 25, 1998 was the final game of an English domestic season that had seen Arsenal win a Premier League and FA Cup double, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough secure automatic promotion to the top flight and Manchester City relegated to the third tier.

Sunderland and Charlton had narrowly missed out on promotion and had drawn home and away in the regular season. There was really nothing to separate the sides, and typically, their Wembley final proved to be a game decided by the finest of margins – and only after extra time and penalties.

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