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Should play-offs be introduced to determine the SPL title?


Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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This is the title of a poll currently being run by The Guardian following the news that the SPL are thinking of introducing a mini-league consisting of the top four SPL teams who will compete against each other for the SPL title.

My answer in a word is a resounding NO. I'm old fashioned enough to think that the current promotion playoffs are unfair. They may add interest, they may be exciting for the Sky generation in particular, but nothing in this world can convince me of the fairness of a team finishing 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th gaining promotion at the expense of the team that finished third.

Of course there are teams outside of the old firm who are all for it. A free shot at the title and all you have to do is finish FOURTH? Wey hey.. we'll have some of that. And if the SPL do introduce a playoff system, it'll only be a matter of time before the muppets in charge of the game in this country think to themselves... a comparatively n easy way to generate cash (can't you see them rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of all that extra TV money?) add interest and excitement ... which might well be true but for me it'll be the final nail in the coffin of the game I grew up with.

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As a Rugby League fan I have only good things to say on play offs. Ever since it was introduced into League it has been brilliant and crowds and games have gotten better year in year out, until last season. The final itself is now the biggest game in English RL and is a great day out. Whether it would work in football I`m not so sure though, RL has long been a game willing to embrace change and try new things, football hasnt` really been.

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I don't see willingness to embrace change as the issue. In fact, look at all the changes that have been made for no good reason, except perhaps change for changes sake, to what used to be a simple, the game, the offside rule being a prime example. All this active/inactive bollocks does nothing but confuse the issue.

I understand the argument for adding excitement, a good day out for the fans, and so on. Maybe it works for Rugby League, I'm not a fan so couldn't say. But with football, the old cliche that the table never lies goes right out the window as soon as playoffs are introduced. In 2005-206 we finished 24 points ahead of Arsenal. The previous season Everton finished 4th - with 34 points fewer than us and a negative goal difference. If the playoffs had been in place, Everton might well have won the league that season, and all the points records, goal difference and so on, would have counted for nothing. Apart from the sheer potential for injustice, I could see a showpiece playoff final further devaluing the FA Cup, and as for the League Cup.. forget it.

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I don't see willingness to embrace change as the issue. In fact, look at all the changes that have been made for no good reason, except perhaps change for changes sake, to what used to be a simple, the game, the offside rule being a prime example. All this active/inactive bollocks does nothing but confuse the issue.

I understand the argument for adding excitement, a good day out for the fans, and so on. Maybe it works for Rugby League, I'm not a fan so couldn't say. But with football, the old cliche that the table never lies goes right out the window as soon as playoffs are introduced. In 2005-206 we finished 24 points ahead of Arsenal. The previous season Everton finished 4th - with 34 points fewer than us and a negative goal difference. If the playoffs had been in place, Everton might well have won the league that season, and all the points records, goal difference and so on, would have counted for nothing. Apart from the sheer potential for injustice, I could see a showpiece playoff final further devaluing the FA Cup, and as for the League Cup.. forget it.

Your 100% correct on the devaluing thing by the way, the only other Trophy in RL is the Challenge cup and since the Grand Final appeared on the scene it has certainly lost some of its pull. When I say a lack of willingness for change I meant more the fans than anything else, I still remember when the pay offs were brought in around the mid 80`s, it took a few years before anyone was happy with them.

Edited by dkw
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I can understand it would on the whole make Scottish football more exciting. However I've always prefered the simple concept that a League is played over a number of weeks and the winner is determined by whoever finishes top. As DKW says though it has worked in Rugby League, it also seems to work in other sports over the other side of the pond. Tough one but I'd vote NO I think. The football League playoffs are little different I feel. Although they seem unfair on the teams finishing 3rd/4th, they don't determine a title as such.

Edited by Scooby Blue
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I think it is an utterly ridiculous idea. The SPL can see as much as 30 points between the top team and the 4th team. The idea that a team can finish 30 points behind the top team and be crowned champions is preposterous.

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I think the only sensible way forward is for the top two or three scotch teams to take their place in the english second division (but not some god awful place to travel to, like Aberdeen) and the others then have a league that suits them. We will also see then whether Rangers and the other lot are good enough to gain promotion to the Premier League, and, crucially, good enough to stay there.

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Play-offs to decide champions in football is never really a good idea but something nees to be done to try and level out Scottish football. It is slowly dieing and interest is never going to increase if the same two teams swap trophies every year.

I don't agree that Rangers and Celtic should join the English league either but if they did they should start right from the very bottom like everyone else.

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