8 May 2012

West Ham close to Premier League return

9:27 am on 8 May 2012

All White Winston Reid's English football side West Ham United are just one match away from an immediate return to the Premier League.

After last season's relegation the Hammers are in line to return to the Premiership after over-powering Cardiff City in the Championship play-off semi-final at Upton Park.

The Londonders, in front of their home crowd, won 3-nil for a 5-nil aggregate victory.

They will now face either Birmingham City or Blackpool -- both also relegated last term, and who conclude their play-off semi-final on Thursday -- in the play-off final at Wembley on May the 19th.

The match is often billed as 'the richest game in football' as a place in the Premier League is worth an estimated STG90 million ($NZ170 million) to the winning club.

West Ham missed out on automatic promotion behind Championship winners Reading and runners-up Southampton.