When the English Football League decided to revamp English football over 30 years ago, with the introduction of American style play-offs, it just didn’t seem relevant to Aston Villa football club. I mean, when were Villa ever going to be involved in such play-offs?
The play-offs were brought in during the 1986/87 season. Granted Villa were relegated that season from the top-tier, but as they showed the following season, if by some bizarre set of circumstances they got relegated, they’d bounced back the next season in the automatic spots.
Also, it was looking like Villa were going to be ever-present in the Premier League, once that was formed…
Fast-forward a couple of decades and another bizarre set of circumstances saw Villa slipping back into the second tier.
It was alright though, because with a new owner, Villa would surely bounce right back.
Unfortunately though, this time, there was no astute manager ala Graham Taylor to instantly rescue Villa from being a “shambles” like last time.
The current regime at the club, it has to be said, has fumbled around when it comes to this routine promotion lark and now we find ourselves in these play-offs, a concept somewhat alien to this fine club.
Change of Opinion
When the introduction of the play-offs came in, MOMS must admit at the time to have some sympathy with teams finishing third. After all, they had done all the hard work to prove by merit, they should have the final promotion spot.
Now, in the year 2018, MOMS is left reflecting, what the hell were we thinking?
It’s not harsh. If you want automatic promotion, you know the rules at the start of the season…finish in the top two! If, like Fulham, you want to go on a massive 23-game unbeaten run at the end of the season in an attempt to get automatic promotion and still come up short, maybe you should have thought about starting that unbeaten run a little earlier, if you’ve made a poor start to the season?
Reward for Past Deeds
Why did the EFL ultimately bring in the play-offs? Well, obviously it was forward-planning for this very season. What other reason is there?
Just look at the hassle it’s already saved Aston Villa. There’s been no need to sack Steve Bruce after the Derby game; since it would have been mathematically impossible for him now to get Villa promoted this season.
The EFL knew that instead of writing off the 2017/18 season as a failure for Villa, why not give the club a chance to get promoted with a Wembley showcase at the end?
After all, it was Villa that founded the English Football League in the first place. It only seemed a fitting reward.
MOMS certainly appreciates the EFL foresight in this matter…as I’m sure Steve Bruce does.
Viva le play-offs!
A Venglos View is a satirical (and sometimes surreal) look at the Villa. 😉