Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughIs it time for a change in English football? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Is it time for a change in English football? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Is it time for a change in English football?


Manchester City’s tame surrender of their league crown has turned this season’s title race turned into something of a damp squib. City’s literal interpretation of giving the game away against Southampton in February ensured that those hoping for a repeat of last year’s end of season drama would be left disappointed.

Indeed on that occasion one legendary commentator swore that “we would never see anything like this again” and he is probably right. The Premier League for all its qualities has, rather like a budget sausage roll, too often failed to provide interest through to the end. Novice speculators could generally around mid March hazard an educated punt and arrive at the eventual victor.  

In addition, the league like most across Europe is now predictable. Gone are the days when the English could mock the Scots for their two team title fight, if you were to conduct a poll today amongst football journalists as to who would be champions next season, I suggest that only the Manchester clubs would be in the frame.

The attacking nature of our football is not in doubt, the excitement of the package unquestioned but there must always be a focus on how to improve the product. The previously mooted 39th game at least indicates attentiveness in this area even if that particular proposal was flawed. 

A better alternative could be to go down the rugby route. In Union and League in both Hemispheres, playoffs are an accepted and integral aspect of the format. Each version is distinct but the English Union model would be the most straightforward and user friendly of the options to digest.

It would entail upon completion of the current home and away fixtures programme, the top four teams play off, first against fourth and second against third to see who will ultimately be crowned champions in a one off showpiece final.

Following the introduction of this system in English rugby, the title that had previously been won by four teams between 1987 and 2002 has since yielded five different winners in ten years. Few would argue that the spectacle has improved along with the end of season stimulation.

Of course it would mean an additional game or games for some clubs but it would also invoke in millions a hitherto implausible belief that their team could one day be champions.

Most fans favourite games to watch, excluding their own team, Is the play-offs. From a neutral perspective they are hard to beat, this is despite many of us receiving our first introduction to the word heresy on their inception.

Some still complain when the team finishing sixth takes the promotion place and doubtless arguments would ensue if the perceived best team after 38 games didn’t go on to be champions. I’d wager it wouldn’t stop anyone watching though and it certainly wouldn’t be a procession.

 Allen Whyte


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