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Ban The Playoffs!
By: Bill Osborne
Remember Wembley and the Auto Windscreen final? Where you there enjoying the excitement, the thrill of seeing our team play in the national stadium and our victory? 30,000 or so Grimsby folk cheering our team on. A great spectacle and a great occasion for anyone Grimsby! I was there!
And it didn't end there!
Only a few weeks later, Town were back, in the playoff finals and gaining another great victory, not only for the club, but the whole town. It was on that visit that Town gained promotion to the first division.
But should we have been there?
There were three promotion places. Watford were first, making them the champions, Bristol City were second and Grimsby finished third. Watford and Bristol City trundled off to prepare for the first division but not Town.
Sorry Mr. Grimsby, you have to get in line with the losers to gain your rightful place!
The only sporting competition in England that rewards losers. Is that what professional sport is about? Have we lost the will, the urge to be the best and reap the rewards?
Professional sport is about competing to be the best and once that is achieved, gaining the recognition and rewards of being so.
In the Olympics, first gets gold, second gets silver and third gets bronze. Each getting recognition for the position they finished in. A simple and civilized way of recognizing and rewarding their achievements.
The rest are losers. Participants yes. But losers just the same.
In the Football League, first and second get their gold and silver respectively via promotion but third is shoveled in with the losers.
Fourth, fifth and sixth, they are the losers. Once again, participants. But losers just the same.
And the indignity of it all is that third can finish up with nothing and sixth can gain promotion.
How can a sixth place finisher grab the bronze medal?
Because the playoffs are a con job!
It's about money. The gate receipts, the TV income, the match programmes, the ancillary sales and all.
That wouldn't be so bad if the clubs involved received a fair share of the millions that the playoffs bring in. But they don't. Grimsby Town would have been lucky to have received 150,000 in total for two visits to Wembley.
So where did the money go? Well you tell me.
It never went to relieve the financial pressure on clubs that were financially devastated by the collapse of ITV Digital. No Sir!
Some of them got deducted points for daring to go into administration after the Football League forgot to read the small print in the contract and later found that there were no guarantees or insurance.
The playoffs are not about football or achievement. They are a money raising scheme for the Football League. Not the clubs in the League but for the League HQ.
It is time to banish them.
Let us get back to rewarding the winners and wishing the losers bad luck!
Why should we strive to be winners if the losers get a share of the spoils? It doesn't make sense.
Sport is about competing to be the best not the worst! Let's get real!
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