The play-off dilemma


So the final standings of the Championship has been decided; Reading are perched at the very top whilst Southampton follow them back into the Premier League. This year’s Championship has once again been fascinating and has truly shown that if the Premiership is described as the best league in the world, our 2nd tier standard of football must be closely following.                                                            

The intensity, unpredictability and quality has been breathtaking and there is only one more matter to settle in this year’s campaign. In spectacularly cruel yet entertaining fashion the play-offs will commence in the first few weeks of May at Wembley. From a neutral view my conflict of issues lies with who I generally want to see in the mix with the big boys. Or perhaps who I don’t want to see.                                                                                                                                                        

Cardiff have nicked the last Play-off spot after fighting off Middlesbrough throughout, so falling into the obvious trap yet being fully aware that there are very few comparisons between Swansea and Cardiff in football terms; I would like to see Cardiff reach promotion as they are also Welsh.  Swansea have been phenomenal to watch this year and fully deserve to respectively avoid relegation in style but more to the point Cardiff fully deserve this opportunity too. Each year they have a passion and determination to aim for the top, with impressive league one teams always joining whilst well established football teams falling from the Premiership grace Cardiff are one of few consecutive performers and they are craving for a taste of Premiership experience.                                      

You could say that Blackpool have been there and done it. And failed. But this is exactly the selling point that makes me want to  see the tangerines back in the Premiership. With Ian Holloway no doubt they will be forever entertaining and the ability to form a challenge for promotion again is always a fantastic achievement, let alone on the financial tightrope that they are treading. They have lost the familiar stars such as Charlie Adam yet have found new young faces like Matt Phillips to fill the gaps, Blackpool in the Premiership may not be two peas in pod but Holloway would just say that he prefers mange-tout anyway.                                                                                                                                               

Birmingham and West Ham. I have submerged the two teams into one as they already have a wealth of Premiership experience and would no doubt exceed once again, well at least for a couple years. Both teams carry fantastic support and the stadiums are more than Premier League standard, fittingly with the two highest play-off standings I expect them to meet in the final. I would love to see Chris Hughton in the Premiership as he never got the fair treatment he deserved and Newcastle and I believe he has the quality to really succeed. The murmur of Sam Allardyce may bring mixed opinion but in all honesty he is tried and tested with a squad in his hands ready to fit into the Premiership once more.                                                                                                                                                    

May the best team win.                                                                                                                                                             

Liam Curtis @journocurtis

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