Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The dangling cash cow of the Premiership that is the Championship playoffs has now been narrowed down to two teams, with Sheffield United and Burnley coming through their second leg matches to claim their places at Wembley.

The Sheffield United – Preston match was a pretty uninspiring affair, as the tension of the occasion and what it was financially worth both teams seemed to stifle the action a little. Over the two games, United were probably just the worthy winners.

Many will feel that if they can return to the Premiership after the controversy surrounding their previous relegation, then it will be justice being done. I don’t quite fall into that category, being a West Ham fan and all that, but can see that viewpoint.

Their opponents at Wembley will be Burnley and they have my support for the game.
After all their recent Cup exploits, they deserve some reward and they have shown themselves to be capable of holding their own against the big boys.

It’s also great to see another Scottish manager doing so well. Owen Coyle is as Irish as I am, so I’m claiming him as one of our own!

Reading were my tips to win automatic promotion this season, after their early season form impressed. But a run of poor home form in particular has cost them dearly.

Burnley are an unfashionable Club, like Hull before them. They’re also a real football club, with real fans and a proud history.

I remember them almost going out of the football league a few years ago and their bouncebackability has been great to see.

Their Turf Moor home is also a proper football ground. It may look different on the outside after over 100 years, but it’s innards still hark back to a day when football stadiums had real character and weren’t just plastic playthings for rich businessmen.

If anyone saw the tour of Turf Moor on Soccer AM on Saturday you’ll no exactly what I mean by that. The old ground has all the characteristics and features that you feel could tell some great stories if walls could talk.

Looking around the unglamorous and basic dressing rooms, it might help some of the over paid and over inflated prima donnas to remember their roots and remember a time when football wasn’t all about money and TV exposure.

All that aside, Burnley have earned their right to have a shot at the big time once again. They’ve played great, attacking and enjoyable football all season and my claret and blue scarf will be worn for a different side in nearly two weeks time.

It’s a phrase I hark on about a lot, but once again, it would be great for football if they can make the jump to the Premier League and even more so if they can stay there.

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