Friday, May 8, 2009

The English Football League play offs are now well under way. I have mixed feelings about play offs but the English ones I love.

Playoffs in the Scottish League are pointless when you only have ten team leagues. Just let the runners up go up and the second bottom team go down. They both deserve and have earned their fates. If that means East Fife lost the chance to go up then so be it.

When you look at how far behind East Fife fourth placed Arbroath finished last season and they still went up, it just makes Scottish football all the more ridiculous than it is.

It may be exciting for the fans of those who make it to them, but until there’s League reconstruction and bigger leagues, playoffs have no place in Scotland.
In Canada, the Vancouver Whitecaps and their USL counterparts also have their playoff cross to bear.

When you have a League with no promotion or relegation, what is the point of playoffs at the end of the season to decide who are the Champions? It devalues the whole league and makes the whole season almost pointless and irrelevant. Just give the winners after all the league games the trophy. Of course, with Americans controlling the League that’s never going to happen.

Going back to this season’s English League play offs though, there’s some tasty matches in store.

I have to admit that the Division Four (alright division 2 for you newfangled people) ones hold little interest to me this season. I’ve not been following what’s been happening at the top end of that division and always find the whole “who’s going to lose their league status” at the other end to be all that more exciting, although the bigwigs at the Football League kind of spoiled a lot of that this season with all their point deductions.

If Accrington or Darlington aren’t in the Div 2 playoffs then it’s not that much of a necessity for me to watch them. I’ll watch the play off final of course, as they’re always fun.

The Division One playoffs throw up some interesting games and feelings for me. A Leeds United – MK Dons final would be an awful proposition. I can’t think of a Club I detest more than the Club killers of Milton Keynes. We were talking about plastic fans and plastic clubs yesterday and you don’t get more of an artificial club than the bigspending wanabees of MK. All true football fans know that there will only ever be one Dons in English football and they’ll soon hopefully be back in the Football League.

As for Leeds, well I’d love to see them lingering in the lower reaches of English football for a long time to come. A better example of living outwith your means I can’t think of.

It was a shame that Scunthorpe couldn’t hold on to their lead in the game tonight, but I’ll certainly be rooting for them in the second leg and hopefully in the final. Another “unfashionable” club in the Championship would be great for football.
The first leg of the Preston – Sheffield United game tonight was a cracker and I can’t wait for the second leg already. Reading and Burnley should serve up another fine feast this weekend and I’m hoping for a tasty Preston – Burnley final, with one happy Scottish manager at the end of it all.

When at it’s best, play off football can serve up some of the most exciting matches of the season and at least the English leagues do it right.

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