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Old 08-04-2021, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Bipe View Post
The play-offs are an innovation that have emphatically stood the test of time, achieving exactly what they set out to in ensuring the end of the season is more meaningful and exciting for a significantly greater number of clubs and supporters.

There was a fair amount of scepticism and in some quarters outrage at the time they were introduced. We were wedded to the idea of the final league table showing where everyone finished on merit, and the notion that a team as much as 15 points behind the one which finished third could jump the queue for promotion was regarded as heresy. But this was soon forgotten as the drama unfolded. The adjustment to exclude the team finishing in the final relegation club from the division above was another positive move, interesting to note that this would probably never have got through in the current climate with the premier league's protectionism absolutely rife.

The final 1985/86 season before the play-offs was a classic example for Palace of why they were a good thing. We finished a highly creditable 5th after the traumas of the previous few seasons, but in truth we were never really in the promotion hunt and the final couple of months of the season held little interest other than to finish as high as we could and hope to carry our good form into the following season. We eventually finished 10 points behind 3rd place Wimbledon, effectively 11 points because their goal difference was much better, they had been up near the top all year and the gap was never really that close. I vaguely remember playing them around Easter time and thinking that if we won it we might stand an outside chance of hauling them in. But we didn't and that was that.

The play-offs format still gives a sense of anticipation, even in the years we haven't been successful they are big games and it's a real focal point for the end of the season.
Had we failed to go up in 1989, we might have claimed to be victims of the play-offs as we finished third (and very nearly second). But, in reality, I don't think we would have come third without the play-offs. We were mid table in February, and without the play-offs I think our season would have petered out. But the chance of sneaking into the play-offs kept our season alive, and in the end our run was good enough to not only get us into them, but almost into the automatic spots.

I cycled to and from every Palace Premier League match, plus four cup games, in 2016-17 to raise money for the wonderful Contact charity, who support families with disabled children.

Read more about it here

And read more about Contact here
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