Some Thoughts about the Playoffs (whenever they may be!)
In the previous 2 years, t’Mariners have reached the playoffs, but been defeated by first Newport (who then won at Wembley and went up) then Gateshead (who lost at Wembley to Cambridge). As the Mariners aren’t going to win this division, the only way up is to win the Semi-Final over 2 legs, and then win at Wembley. We could win all 3 games, or win 1, and then win one via penalties, just as long as we win and get promoted. Please. Third time lucky? Now I was going to consider when the play-offs are next; having located this link to state the playoff dates some days back: http://www.footballconference.co.uk/playoffs.php?
BUT those dates regarding the Second Leg of the Semis are not definite. The doubt was ‘communicated’ via Twitter on Sunday morning. Communicated unclearly I must say, as the @conferencefooty account answered a load of questions, but those present and latecomers like myself alike were unclear as to the position. Having read through countless tweets to save others the bother, I think the position is that the League and TV and Police reserve the right to ask for fixtures to be moved. (If you double-check the link above it does say that already) However, they now must expect this to happen if Barnet win the title, as Bristol Rovers will most likely finish 2nd, and 2nd and 3rd travel first in the play-off Semis. Given that the last day of the League One season is ALSO Sunday 3rd May, and that Bristol City – almost certainly League One winners – play at home on the final day, with a 12.15 kickoff, and probably Title-winning party, then there is a possible problem for the city of Bristol, who presumably want to avoid a Bristol Rovers home game on the same day. Not just a home game, but also a game which could be their last of the season, or ensures that they go to Wembley a fortnight later. Now I’ve never been to Bristol, but have lived in a northern City where the 2 main football teams only ever both play in the city on the same day if its against each in the derby, then I understand why a move may be necessary. I don’t understand why this affects Town at this late stage.
My gripe is that the Mariners are in the playoffs and we can’t say for sure when they play yet. Far from ideal, arguably difficult to avoid, but then again, why announce fixtures in the first place only to shift them around? Regardless many may think perhaps we are fortunate to be at home in the second leg. It depends on how we perform in the First Leg and whether our inconsistent home form continues. If its bad for Town fans, then spare a thought for our visitors in the Second Leg; as travelling support is surely likely to be less numerous on the Bank Holiday (transport, work the next day etc..)…And less numerous because its less viable, less affordable etc…
Let’s just hope that we have a positive couple of results at Southport and when Aldershot come to visit, and then a cracking result wherever we find ourselves on the 30th April in the Semi first leg.
Enjoy the rest of the season, whenever and wherever that may take us!
***STOP PRESS: Typically, I’ve re-read this blog, and double-checked the link above and its changed – one of the play-off Second Legs is the Sunday, and the other the Monday, but it doesn’t say which is which, and that sort of proves my point. Come to think of it, it no longer states that the 4th v 3rd game (first leg )will be Thursday 30th April, so everything is up in the air. ***