South African international midfielder, Kagisho Dikgacoi, will take to the field in what has become known as the ‘richest game in world football’ today, as Crystal Palace and Watford contest the English Championship playoff final.
The winning club will earn the right to play in the English Premier League next season, sparking frenzied celebration for their fans. The losers will go home with their tails between their legs, feeling as if they have missed the lottery jackpot by just a single digit.
What was already a ridiculously valuable promotion is even more so now, after the Premier League inked a £5.5 billion television rights deal.
That means that even next season’s last-place team in the Premier League will earn £63 million.
It also means that when potential prize money, endorsements, gate receipts and other top-flight revenue streams are taken into account, KG and co will be playing for an estimated £140 million at Wembley today.
Palace manager, Ian Holloway, will be contesting his third Championship playoff final in four years, and the magnitude of the prize on offer still excites and petrifies him in equal measure.
"Just look at the size of the prize," he said ahead of the game.
"The last time I fought for this [with Blackpool against West Ham last year] it was worth £90 million. Now it's north of £120m. That's why people are buying Championship clubs and throwing money at it. Look at Cardiff. They've had seven goes, so well done to them this year. But, my God, if they hadn't made it how much would they have owed?"
"What would a win mean?" Holloway added in typically humorous fashion.
"Total joy on Tuesday. Total panic on Wednesday."
For Watford it is the same, and their own immensely likeable manager, Gianfranco Zola, even thinks the club’s Italian owners will prioritise Watford over their other football teams- Udinese and Granada- if they get into the moneyed world of the Premier League.
Dikgacoi will have to expect the toughest, most frantic 90 minutes he has ever experienced, with all 22 players on the Wembley pitch slugging it out as if their futures depend on it.
Never before in football history has one match been so valuable, and whichever team can retain its composure amid the glare of the rainbow, will earn the Premier League pot of gold at the end.
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Gabbidon, Moxey; Dikgacoi, Jedinak; Zaha, Garvan, Williams; Wilbraham.
Watford: Almunia; Doyley, Ekstrand, Cassetti; Anya, Abdi, Hogg, Chalobah, Briggs; Deeney, Vydra.