I’ve said this before, and no doubt I will say it again, but the play-off finals to decide who gets promotion in the football leagues is a bloody stupid idea and very unfair on the teams who lose out, even though they got more points than the eventual ‘winner’ over season.
Take this weekend’s games: Southend who finished fourth, two pointa behind third placed Swansea, beat sixth placed Lincoln City on Saturday; yesterday, fifth placed Sheffield Wednesday, who finished seven points behind third placed Tramere Rovers, beat sixth placed Hartlepool; and the pattern will contue today as Preston take on West Ham who finished 10 and 12 points behind third placed Ipswich.
“Everyone knew the rules at the start of the season,” is the usual mantra, but that doesn’t stop the rules being bloody stupid. And it doesn’t do the fifth or sixth placed ‘victors’ any favours either. If they’re not good enough to get in the top three then they’re probably not good enough to survive in a higher league, witness Crystal Palace.
But since the match is happening, I wish Preston well, not just because they’re a Lancashire team, but for Tom Finney’s sake. I met him when he was in his 60s and chairman of Preston Health Authority. A nicer bloke you couldn’t hope to wish to meet, so c’mon you North Enders.
UPDATE: 1800 — Preston 0 – West Ham 1. Ah well, it wasn’t to be. Preston played well and just the dodgy Millennium Stadium pitch that made Claude Davis to slip at the vital moment when he looked to be headibg the cross clear and Bobby Zamora nipped in.and scored. I thought that Youl Mawene looked good at right back for the Enders.