Villa threw the kitchen sink at Fulham late on and amidst increasing pressure on all fronts, were unable to find the breakthrough, leaving the Cottagers to return to the Premier League for the first time since the 2013/14 season.
The form of Slavisa Jokanovic's team during the second half of the season perhaps made them the strongest in the Championship, and their expansive, attacking football means they have numerous admirers.
Fulham booked their place in next season's Premier League after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Wembley on Saturday.
"I've played in some big games, played in the Champions League, the semi-final of the FA Cup and we did well in the Premier League again".
That figure rises to £280m if the winners survive just one season in the Premier League, according to BBC Sport.
Fulham will earn £95 million next term, as part of the Premier League's huge broadcasting rights deal, and up to £75 million in parachute payments in 2019-20 and 2020-21 should they fail to stay up. "We must adapt ourselves; we know what is ahead of us".
"That [January] transfer window was successful and gave an important push for the team".More news: Bethesda announces entirely new game called Fallout 76
"It depends what kind of ambition we are going to show, this is simple", he said of Fulham's prospects for 2018-19. "The decisions have got to be had above me to say what we've got and what we haven't got".
The Championship play-off final is always an entertaining match.
But 57-year-old Bruce said: "The feeling is utter disappointment for everybody".
"After we missed out on promotion (in the playoffs) last season, a lot of people wrote us off".
Steve Bruce's side were unable to show off their financial power this season due also to Financial Fair Play rules.
Ryan Sessegnon found himself in space just outside the box before threading a ideal ball through to Tom Cairney who made no mistake with the finish. I'm so exhausted right now I don't feel my legs "We are really happy and proud".