The annual play off debate

JJ1532

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Thought I'd bring this up again to gauge people's thoughts. There has been a rolling debate on how fair the play off system is on a regular basis and this years play offs are perhaps a perfect example of that. In the Championship, Brighton finished 14 points ahead of Sheff Wed, yet lost out in the semis to them. In L1, Walsall finished 10 points ahead of Barnsley, yet got smashed by them. In L2, Accy were also 10 points better off than Wimbledon but didn't make the PO final.

So is the play off system unfair on teams that finish 3rd? Is there a way to change the system?

From my point of view, I have no issue with this format whatsoever. Yes, on paper it seems wrong that a team can finish 10-20 points better off than another team yet lose to them in the play offs, but every team enters into the same agreement, knowing full well what finishing 3rd/4th can we mean. For me, there isn't an argument that BHA, Walsall and Accy are the better team than their opposition, because if that was the case, they would have beaten them no? If Accy were a better team than Wimbledon, then why couldn't they hold on to the 2-0 lead they had in the 2nd leg? If they were the better team, why couldn't they hold onto the 0-0 in the 1st leg? As for Walsall, why did they get so badly mauled by Barnsley if they were the better team?

BHA were a little different, because they unfortunately suffered 4 injuries in the 1st leg which probably affected them. But then they weren't able to manage more than a 1-1 draw in the 2nd leg. Sorry, if you are the better team, then I see no reason why you shouldn't or can't prove it come play off time. Just my thoughts.

What does anyone else think?
 

Glasshalffullpools

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Spot on .....you have a league ...The 4 highest not promoted then have a mini cup competition ...thems the rules..... finishing 4th and 5th gives you the advantage of playing at home second
 

Meadow

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I must admit, playoffs aren't ideal, However it prolongs the season and makes it interesting.

For the stattos out there. we've made the playoffs five times now . We've bowed out at the semi-final stage twice (both in the Ryman League) and have made the final three times. We've yet to lose a final.
 

WAP

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Without the playoffs half the teams in the league would have nothing to play for come February so it ensures that every team takes the last few months of the season serious (minus Morecambe who gave up).

The playoff format as it is is pretty fair rhe only thing I would say is Video Replays/Challenges should be introduced. The Jamille Matt headbutt for example played a big part in our early exit.
 

Glasshalffullpools

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We've lost 3 semis and a final ....One of them ( I can't remember which ) we snuck in after being mid table and had a good finish , so yes it extends interest beyond what it used to do ....plus they are on telly so extra dosh ......
 

Cheese & Biscuits

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I like the idea of the highest placed team getting a bye to the final. The bottom two fight it out to play the second placed team, who fight it out to play to top placed team. Obviously this has other issues with the number of games played and the 'best' team playing a final without any kind of match sharpness as they've been sitting on their arses waiting to see who they play.

Saying all that, I don't have any issues with the play-offs at all. They're fun and exciting and it's all known about at the start. I'd hate to see them go.
 

Kenneth E End

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I like the idea of the highest placed team getting a bye to the final. The bottom two fight it out to play the second placed team, who fight it out to play to top placed team. Obviously this has other issues with the number of games played and the 'best' team playing a final without any kind of match sharpness as they've been sitting on their arses waiting to see who they play.
I agree with this - I don't think the 6th (in L1/Champ) or 7th place (L2) team is good enough to be promoted over a 9 month season.
That said, Sky wouldn't agree to it because they would lose 6 play off games per season, which I'm guessing get far higher viewing figures than normal games.
 

AdamStag

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The system in rugby works well.

I believe it would be the case that 6th would play 7th (I think they do it over a one off games) the winner would play 5th and the winner of those would play 4th - the highest playoff side. That appears to be the fairest way of doing it.

As for the playoffs themselves I think they're a brilliant idea - that sides around midtable still had a sniff until right until the end of the season confirms it - keeps people interested
 

ProfessorGreen

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Think it's a good system. Everyone knows how it is before the season starts, and at the end of the day we all pay for entertainment. Playoffs are entertaining.
 

pontoonlew

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Imagine how shite & boring the end of the season would be without it.

I understand teams in the conference moaning when there's just one automatic place but in this league where there's 3, it's a perfect idea. It adds entertainment and gives more teams something to play for, therefore maintaining decent gates for a lot more clubs right until the end of the season. The sides who take part know exactly what they signed up for in the first place.
 

dedwardp

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Everyone knows the state of play, as has been repeatedly mentioned. You can complain about the points gap and it being unfair, but then turn it the other way, Northampton finished 14 points clear of Bristol Rovers but they both got the same reward of automatic promotion, is that also unfair?

I do like the idea of there being a bigger advantage to the team finishing in the highest play-off place than simply playing at home in the second leg though.
 

Proggs

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Everyone knows the state of play, as has been repeatedly mentioned. You can complain about the points gap and it being unfair, but then turn it the other way, Northampton finished 14 points clear of Bristol Rovers but they both got the same reward of automatic promotion, is that also unfair?

I do like the idea of there being a bigger advantage to the team finishing in the highest play-off place than simply playing at home in the second leg though.

Maybe they should just have one leg, so in this league 4th would play 6th at 4th's home ground, and 5th would play at home to 7th, extra time and pens if needed, but no home leg for 6th and 7th.

What was unfair, and has now changed thank god, was when they had the away goal rule in the play offs. I remember in the 94/95 season, Crewe drew 0-0 at at Bristol Rovers in the 1st leg and then drew 1-1 at home after extra time and that was that, we were out, and we finished a point behind the runners up. I am sure the FA changed the away goal rule after that, the bastards.
 

pontoonlew

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Everyone knows the state of play, as has been repeatedly mentioned. You can complain about the points gap and it being unfair, but then turn it the other way, Northampton finished 14 points clear of Bristol Rovers but they both got the same reward of automatic promotion, is that also unfair?

I do like the idea of there being a bigger advantage to the team finishing in the highest play-off place than simply playing at home in the second leg though.

Aye there should be some extra incentive. The top placed sides in each league this season haven't even made it to the final.
 

MJA

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The playoffs are necessary purely because they keep a purpose to the season for so many teams. Imagine how many teams' season would end by February and how many 'dead rubbers' there would be if it was just a simple 3 up 3 down process?

I have no issue with the current system to be honest as it has worked well for many years. The ideas around a 'tiered' playoff system to give 3rd place an advantage is good in theory but what if all 4 teams in the playoffs are only separated by goal difference? Would it then be fair for 3rd place to gain such an advantage because they have scored 1 goal more than 4th place?
 

ambernuts

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I'd like to see the (re)introduction of a relegated team to be included in play-offs in the league below. Maybe that could be seen as a way of removing an advantage, rather than gifting one.
 

MJA

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I'd like to see the (re)introduction of a relegated team to be included in play-offs in the league below. Maybe that could be seen as a way of removing an advantage, rather than gifting one.

Like they do in Scotland you mean? I quite like the Scottish system to be honest
 

JonnyWomble

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I'd like to see the (re)introduction of a relegated team to be included in play-offs in the league below. Maybe that could be seen as a way of removing an advantage, rather than gifting one.
I'd like to see this too. Possibly with the bottom two going down, and the third bottom joining in the conference playoffs. This would give the conference two automatic promotion slots, and potentially another going up through the playoffs. Which I think would benifit both leagues!
 

Proggs

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I'd like to see this too. Possibly with the bottom two going down, and the third bottom joining in the conference playoffs. This would give the conference two automatic promotion slots, and potentially another going up through the playoffs. Which I think would benifit both leagues!

But would this not deny teams the chance of Wembley visit and pay day, I could not see a final being staged at the national stadium that would see a team get relegated.
 

ambernuts

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But would this not deny teams the chance of Wembley visit and pay day, I could not see a final being staged at the national stadium that would see a team get relegated.

Pah, I hadn't thought about it like that. I can't even comprehend how tense it would be, but it is a match to prove you are worthy of being in that league.
 

shoddycollins

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Without the playoffs half the teams in the league would have nothing to play for come February so it ensures that every team takes the last few months of the season serious (minus Morecambe who gave up).

The playoff format as it is is pretty fair rhe only thing I would say is Video Replays/Challenges should be introduced. The Jamille Matt headbutt for example played a big part in our early exit.
Bit of a pattern with Morecambe since getting into the league. Assure safety, then start conserving energy for next season.
 
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BRFC_Gas

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Maybe they should just have one leg, so in this league 4th would play 6th at 4th's home ground, and 5th would play at home to 7th, extra time and pens if needed, but no home leg for 6th and 7th.

What was unfair, and has now changed thank god, was when they had the away goal rule in the play offs. I remember in the 94/95 season, Crewe drew 0-0 at at Bristol Rovers in the 1st leg and then drew 1-1 at home after extra time and that was that, we were out, and we finished a point behind the runners up. I am sure the FA changed the away goal rule after that, the bastards.

I remember it well, I think Paul Millers knee 'won' it for us in the end.

I didn't mind the away goals rule as it tried to force the away team to attack rather than park the bus. Is that any less fair than penalties? I think its more fairer personally.
 

northstandexile

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Been thinking about this and giving an advantage to higher placed sides is worth looking at.

Personally I think the lower side need to beat the higher team over two legs without extra time. If level on agg at 90 mins in second leg then higher team should progress.
 

Laker

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I like it as it is and I felt that way despite the fact we came second in the Conference two years on the trot, won two semi finals and then lost at Wembley both times.

It's a simple system that everyone knows before the beginning of the season and therefore is fair on all teams.

Only change I'd make is to relegate three from this division and bring two up automatically from the one below with play offs contested from 3rd to 6th.

I wouldn't want a Scottish system of teams in the play offs trying to avoid relegation as it just seems a bit naff to me. If you're shit, you're down. Simple as that.
 

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