How Charlton, Swindon and Aldershot triumphed in the first play-offs in 1987

22 May 2015 09:00
The Football League introduced play-offs before the 1986-87 season. They produced money and great drama but the new system wasn’t universally popularBy Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkWhen it was announced in April 1986 that a promotion play-off system was to be introduced in the English league structure many observers thought this was a positive move for football. Stuart Jones, writing in the Times before the 1986-87 season, made the case for the new development: “The welcome change in the antiquated system will clearly introduce added tension and excitement at the season’s end”. Teams that previously had nothing to play for would now have an opportunity to gain a play-off place and earn promotion via this back-door route.Only when the play-offs began at the end of the 1986/87 season did the penny drop. Entertaining they may have been, especially to the neutral, but the major flaw in the system was that a team could finish in the last play-off place and be promoted at the expense of a club that had finished a significant distance ahead of them. Although the league chairmen agreed to the proposal, and each club knew the situation at the start of the campaign, it didn’t stop the complaints as the first end of season nail-biters commenced in May 1987. Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian

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