There are those out there who believe the answer to the question is a resounding “no”; in fact, the vast majority of people I talk to are firmly against the concept of playoffs in the Premiership.
I hear the same arguments all the time: “Every game means something in the Premiership; it’s not like the regular season in American sports, which counts for nothing” or “No, we don’t need playoffs. The best team at the end of 38 games wins, and that’s that” or “No, it goes against the tradition of the league”.
You’ve all talked to people about this. It’s a debate that pops up every now and again and gets shot down by the mass media every single time. They give you the same reasons for why a playoff structure shouldn’t exist.
It’s about time, though, that you heard the reasons FOR why the most exciting league in the world should have playoffs at the end of the year. Later on in this post, I’ll describe my perfect system and explain how it would work.
1. First off, the “every game means something” argument is complete and utter rubbish. A certain host of World Soccer Daily feeds the audience that cliché every time when ripping the MLS and saying how it will never be more than a third-tier league, much less as good as the Premiership.
I’ll tell you what, folks, that argument is invalid. By mid-February of each year, the only teams playing for anything are the teams fighting it out for the title (usually two or three), trying to avoid relegation (usually two or three), and the teams contesting the UEFA Cup spots (usually two or three). That leaves anywhere between 11-14 teams that have, for all intents and purposes, packed it in for the season with two and a half months of games left to play.
Think about it. When’s the last time you saw West Ham and Tottenham actually play with any sense of urgency this season? Teams like Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Manchester City, and Newcastle were all confined to mid-table mediocrity a while ago. The whole glut of mid-table teams make up the majority of teams in the league, and they go overlooked because they’re not playing competitive games for the last quarter of the season.
What motivation do those teams have to show up every week? They’re just playing out the string, which isn’t necessarily for their fault, and it’s a disservice to the loyal fans who have to pay exorbitant ticket prices to watch flat, stale performances at the end of the year.