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Premiership Play-offs- A Viable Option? March 5, 2009

Posted by Ben Smith in Uncategorized.
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I was listening to Adrian Durham on TalkSport last night and with Manchester United pulling away from the chasing pack once again, he suggested the idea of Premiership play-offs. The idea at first seems ludicrous, having had a system that has worked so well for so long. After all we all know that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. 


However, once you get past that and think about it more the concept does seem to make a lot of sense. For a long time now people have bemoaned the fact that the destination of the Premiership trophy is decided long before the final stage of the season in May. A Play-off system would change all this, and perhaps inject some excitement back into the Premiership that had been lacking in recent years.

It is something which has been in operation in rugby union for a while now and has been very successful. For one thing the Premiership is always looking for new ways to make money as proved with the idea of the 39th game. There is no doubt that it would delight the financial men at both the Premier League and the clubs involved. The prospect a huge money spinning game at Wembley to decide the title would be a big incentive for them. The television audience for such a match would be incredible. After all the prospect of Manchester United relinquishing the title after dominating all season is enough to get anyone watching right?

It’s certainly food for thought…


Paul Fletcher Blog February 18, 2009

Posted by Ben Smith in Uncategorized.
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I have followed BBC journalist Paul Fletcher’s blogs for a while now. His blogs are always thoroughly written and he makes his points well. I particularly like the fact that he champions grass roots football in the lower leagues. Granted, the Premiership is a huge money spinner and the media coverage reflects this. Therefore I find it refreshing that Paul recognises that there are in fact some good young players and exciting football to seen in the Football League.

    There is the absence of greed shown by some of the Premiership’s top players, and, frankly many of the average ones as well. Many of the clubs have to survive on tight budgets and invest in youth rather than splashing out on big name players.  A prime example of this is Doncaster Rovers. Over the last few years they have grafted their way up from non-league football and their progress now sees them playing in the Championship. They play4-4-2, look to use the wings and create chances for the forwards. This brand of football will always produce entertainment for the fans and fully deserves any praise that it receives. At Championship level their desire to attack has sometimes meant that Doncaster have been found out defensively. However these doesn’t appear to have fazed them and they continue to have faith in their methods. I feel that is something to be admired and success stories such as that are a wonderful advert for the Football League.

For clubs who achieved promotion to the Premiership but did suffer relegation, it is not necessarily the nightmare that it is portrayed as in the media. Paul’s blog  Reading show there’s life after relegation gives evidence of this. Reading are a club whom I support myself and I am proud of the fact that the club has been able to progress and achieve success whilst living within it’s means.  Paul talks to Director of Football Nicky Hammond who explains that their priority was to retain the key players of the squad. This fits the bill for a carefully run club, they did not panic and spend millions looking for a quick fix to return to the Premiership. Instead they set about preserving what they had.

In the Premiership and probably football in general, there is a culture of sacking managers following relegation. Reading shunned this and instead did everything in the power to keep Steve Coppell. He knew the club and the players inside out and if anyone knew how to get them back into the Premiership it was Coppell. He had not become the most successful manager in the club’s history by a fluke. With the club sitting 3rd in the league well in the hunt for the top two places, the decision to keep him seems vindicated.

Paul’s blogs serve their purpose well in giving the lower leagues the coverage they sometimes lack in the media. It’s functionality as a blog is good as he uses links out from his blog in the appropriate places to inform followers about aspects of the blog they may not be knowledgeable about. The comment facility is available to allow people to give there opinion and that embraces the interactive nature of blogging. It is also linked to other BBC football blogs so offers a wide range of topics for those interested in the sport.