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Why the Play-offs Work


By Ian Todd
June 11 2015

The Championship promotion play-offs work.  They do exactly what they are supposed to and any Bristol supporters that think otherwise just do not understand the system.

It is difficult to say anything about the play-offs as a Bristol supporter without being accused of sour grapes and knowing the rules when the season started.  However, it is possible to have an opinion about them which isn’t unduly influenced by our abject failure to negotiate them and that is as objective as possible.  This season my expectation was that we were likely to finish second in the league and at last take advantage of one of the many flaws in the system.  Alas, Worcester had not read that particular script and a pretty much first –choice squad lost to a far from full strength Bristol, handing top spot in the league to the visiting side.  This gives the lie to those who profess the belief that Bristol in some unspecified way don’t ‘understand’ the play-offs and go all-out for wins that are not strictly necessary.  This time we clearly took a different approach in one particular game and we still came top!  In any event, it is hard to see any real evidence on how sides approach a play-off system differently than they do a league system.  London Welsh supporters will often claim that they did not go for bonus point wins in contrast with Bristol.  But if you remove bonus points, both try and losing ones, and the points gained from the distorting effects of an additional fixture (which is only reasonable) then Bristol still topped the league.  In other words it mattered not a jot whether Bristol went for bonus point wins in contrast to London Welsh’s play-off savvy approach, Bristol were still the better side over the course of the league season.  If Bristol had been promoted by winning the play-offs despite finishing second, or fourth, I would have been happy to be promoted.  But that would not have meant I thought the system was reasonable or just.

This takes us nicely to the first flaw in the play-off system: the play-offs do not reward or recognise consistent performance over the course of an entire season.  This is manifestly true; Bristol (as an example) have topped the league four times in the six seasons in which promotion play-offs have existed.  We are all too aware of how that consistent performance has translated into promotion.  Why is this important?  Because proponents of the play-offs claim that they will result in the promotion of the ‘toughest’ side most able to survive the rigours of a Premiership campaign.  This argument is logically flawed in that it boils down to promoting a team that, for example, finished a distant fourth in one league (by definition a side that wasn’t good enough to win the Championship) into an even harder league.  The play-offs are set up to promote a side that can raise its game for one or two games but cannot necessarily maintain a consistent high level over an extended time.  Rationally, if you want to identify a side best suited to performance in a league system you might want to consider promoting a side that has demonstrated its ability to perform in a league system, not a knock-out competition.  Furthermore, if sides are mysteriously managing their approach to the season in order to win the play-offs this automatically means they have no experience in managing their season in order to perform reliably at a higher level.  If there really is a way of approaching play-offs that is distinct from simply playing league games (which is doubtful) then that will only be of any use in the Premiership if a side is able to achieve the upper reaches of that league.

So, have any of the sides promoted under the play-off system actually done that?  The answer is: one.  Exeter have troubled the top of the leagues but it is hard to see that their approach has been one calculated to specifically to achieve play-off success.  Indeed if they have adopted such an approach, whatever that might be, then it has clearly failed because their league performance was not good enough to make the top four this season.  How have the other sides fared?  Obviously London Welsh have spectacularly failed this season but they were immediately relegated the last time they were promoted.  Worcester were back down in the Championship very quickly and Newcastle have finished second from bottom (again).  That isn’t a very good record for a system that is supposed to prepare sides for the Premiership.  The previously promoted side kept off bottom spot by the even more feeble performance of the most recently promoted side!  If you look at sides promoted before the play-offs were introduced then Northampton seem to have done quite well, Harlequins are alright and even a side called Bristol survived several seasons and qualified for the top European competition.

Another argument put forward in support of the play-offs is that they create greater ‘interest’.  It is a little unclear what is meant by ‘interest’ but if we look at crowd numbers and media coverage that might give some idea.  Sadly we have to use Bristol as an example here because crowd figures show that the play-off semi-finals always attract lower crowds than the equivalent regular season fixture.  This might be because we don’t include the semis in the season ticket, but Worcester arrogantly did and their crowd against London Scottish in the regular season was 6,697 and in the play-off semi was … 6558.  The finals are clearly a different kettle of fish however.  Sell-outs for both sides and great media coverage.  Or was it?  We have just seen that the first leg of the final attracted just over 60,000 viewers.  That is a lot more than the fewer than the 30,000 who watch whichever regular season games Sky deigned to show.  Actually most of the regular season games don’t even make the BARB Top 10 for the respective channels and the cut off for some of those can be less than 20,000.  So that is good, but from a pretty low base.  The leg at Sixways attracted a quite respectable 131,000 which must be the best ever by a wide margin.   Of course the Super League Magic Weekend that week got 134,000, but it is still way better than the Pro12 final got at 59,000.  On the other hand the Championship play-off final in football got 785,000!  The final did drag in some reasonable viewing on TV but the league sponsors saw hardly any mention at all.  The print media did give some coverage it is true, but the sad thing was it was almost universally associated with criticism of the play-off format.  What we see then is no increase in ‘interest’ until we actually get to the final itself where, admittedly there is probably some wider interest than just that of the supporters of the sides actually involved.  Whether it justifies the commercial aspect of sponsorship is another matter.  The interest created can also be far from positive when all it does is consist of a claim that the final was a great advert for the Championship but goes on to condemn the very system that led to that game.

Originally the play-offs consisted of an eight-team promotion group and a four team relegation group.  This format gave all the sides extra fixtures that compensated for those lost by the reduction in numbers when the Championship was set up in its current format.  All sides were involved in some sort of play-off action and that supposedly created interest for all concerned.  The move to just the top four rather undercuts that justification for the play-offs and makes the arguments of those that the play-offs create more involvement for sides over the course of the season look weak.  This season both Bristol and Worcester qualified for the play-offs long before the season’s end and top two were guaranteed soon after.  We ended up with the two sides in the final that everyone predicted before the season had even started.  That is the very opposite of interesting.  Everyone said the final would be close and it was decided by just a point.  Again highly predictable, if very tense if you had an interest in the outcome.   Of course to specifically consider this season is slightly unfair, but the same pattern has held true throughout the play-offs except for the one season when Bristol managed to make a mess of things in the semi.  But the crowd patterns were the same as were the TV viewing figures, except much lower.  Put simply the play-offs don’t generate any extra revenue, interest or fixtures for the vast majority of the clubs.  Only the final has anything but a narrow audience and even then attracts criticism for the format.

If the play-offs fail to provide the benefits that are claimed for them, do they have any other faults?  The simple answer is yes.  The main one is linked quite closely to the initial point made above about the transition from a league contest to a knock-out format.  Logically that makes no sense as a mechanism for selecting a side to play in a league, but it has another fundamental flaw.  A league contest allows the vagaries of chance, decision making, injury or weather to be evened out over a series of games.  It is very hard, if not impossible, to identify an incident or even a particular game in which one could claim a league was won or lost.  That is an inevitable consequence of the way leagues work.  But we can all point to specific incidents in the play-off final that had a clear effect on the outcome; an injury to a particular player, an inconsistent refereeing decision, a decision to pass or not to pass, a missed kick, even the bounce of a ball.   At the end of the entire season it should not be possible to point to specific events that determined who was promoted.  Even if top spot in the league came down, as it did this season, to the final game that shouldn’t happen.  Let us say last season had simply been a league with the top club being promoted and that it came down to the last game of the season.  That would fulfil most of the criteria that are put forward to justify the play-offs in terms of interest over the entire season, interest in a specific game, media coverage and toughening up a side for the Premiership.  You might easily be able to point to specific incidents that influenced the outcome of that particular game.  Bristol supporters would have been bitterly disappointed to have lost and missed out on promotion, but most would have been able to see that perhaps performance throughout the league season had culminated in that situation.  In general terms we would have seen that we weren’t scoring as freely as Worcester and that our defence was clearly weaker.  Those are general concerns that were clear throughout the league over a series of games and not one-off occurrences in a specific game.  A league averages things out and shows the underlying strengths and weaknesses of a side.  Any particular game can have a result that is inconsistent with the overall trend, after all Worcester lost to Jersey in the league and weren’t entirely comfortable in the first leg of the semi against London Scottish and yet they finished 33 points ahead of Scottish in the league, winning 19 games against their 12.  They were clearly the better side and yet they lost one particular game and struggled in one other.  Bristol lost to Pirates but finished the league 58 points ahead of them, winning 21 games versus their nine.  Would anyone seriously claim on the basis of that single game that Pirates were the better side that season?  Of course not.  But a play-off system by its very nature means that those one-off results can undo an entire season’s work.  Traditionally a cup competition was run in parallel with a league competition.  The two were not connected and could and often did deliver completely different results.  There is a reason why league and cup ‘doubles’ are regarded as something of an achievement and are unusual.  The problem is that we have a league that feeds directly into a cup competition for which the prize is something as important as promotion.  This is a ridiculous situation.

It is possible to argue that the Premiership leads to a play-off and that Super League does too, so what makes the Championship’s one wrong.  At first sight that seems reasonable but, of course, in neither of those cases is the single promotion slot to a higher division dependent on the outcome and in both cases the league and the play-offs are regarded as separate competitions with different recognition for each phase.  The table-toppers in Super League do get the League Leaders Shield even if they don't win the Grand Final.  Bristol, despite coming top of the league are not even regarded as league champions.  League and play-offs in Premiership and Super League are distinct phases and, of course, are not played with promotion at stake.

The Premiership play-offs are also predicated on the basis that they are intended to compensate for the loss of players to international duty.  Whether this is borne out by the facts is an interesting question but not relevant when compared with the Championship ones.  The two sets of play-offs are not designed to deal with the same issue.   There must be some underlying reason for play-offs in the Championship even if it is not to compensate for the loss of players.  As stated above, part of the answer was to increase the number of fixtures when the league was reduced in size.  However we now have the unloved British and Irish Cup that more than addresses that issue, so that reason has gone.  And yet we still have the play-offs, so there must be something else at work, particularly if the reasons put forward in support of them are so poor.  The fundamental reason we have promotion play-offs is to give those clubs who are ‘weaker’ over the course of the season another chance against the stronger clubs or clubs.  In order to be an effective second chance it cannot possibly be another league structure, it simply has to be based on a knock-out format.  The one aim of the play-offs in which it actually succeeds is giving sides that are unable to win the league a second bite of the cherry.  The evidence for that success is that two-thirds of the time a team that did not win the league gets promoted.  The fact that they then struggle or are quickly relegated is utterly irrelevant.  The play-offs have been deliberately designed to achieve a particular goal and they do that very well.  Whether that goal is fair or achieves any other claimed outcome is beside the point.

The play-offs do not achieve most of the things that are claimed for them.  They do not generate increased fixtures or revenue for most clubs, they do not create a higher profile for the Championship as a whole, they do not create greater interest over the course of a season.  They generate less interest at semi-final stage.  They create a negative perception of the structure and format of the method by which promotion is decided, and this negative perception extends to the league as a whole.  They do not effectively prepare sides for a Premiership campaign, instead they have a negative impact on the preparations and planning of sides striving for or achieving promotion.  The one thing they do, and that extremely well, is create a situation that benefits the majority of clubs in the Championship.  Clubs that cannot, for whatever reason, mount a sustained challenge for the top of the league are given another opportunity to achieve promotion.  This is so clearly to the benefit of most of the clubs that it is no surprise at all that the system is retained.

Bristol may have suffered as a result of the play-offs but another side, Coventry, have suffered more.  They were relegated after their play-offs despite winning five league games that season as opposed to the zero wins for Birmingham & Solihull who survived by bringing in most of a new side specifically for the play-offs.  This is so manifestly unjust it is nearly unbelievable but it created some increased interest, more fixtures and revenue.  And yet, do we still have relegation play-offs which have so many of the same claimed benefits as promotion ones?  No we do not.  The reason?  Promotion play-offs offer a potential benefit to all the sides in the Championship, except the one who finishes top of course.  The relegation ones?  They offer an increased risk to clubs, except the side that finishes bottom.  Retaining one set and abandoning the other are down to the naked self-interest of the clubs involved.  Yet the same arguments put forward to justify the one were put forward about the other.   The only real difference is which side of the risk/benefit equation clubs saw themselves. 

Play-offs to decide the outcome of an entire league season are fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons.  The Championship ditched one set because they recognised that they were a stupid and unfair way of deciding relegation from a league.  If that is so, which it is, then why are the manifestly unfair and stupid promotion play-offs retained?

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Why the Play-offs Work
bristolrugby.net (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 12:15
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:08:22:11:08:07 by SenorJuan.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 12:17
Agree totally, Ian.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Gray_Lensman (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 12:36
I was a bit worried when I read the headline!

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Peter D (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 12:38
A sound summary of the issues. Northampton, though, are not Premiership Champions, Saracens are. They are in exactly the same boat as us. The best team in the league but having won nothing. The Premiership/Championship distinction lasted for one season only when they really were separate competitions. Since then the Premiership play-off decides the Champions. The system in the Premiership is equally anti-competitive and wrong for exactly the same reasons. Bizarrely the clubs, along with most fans, it would seem, have accepted this distortion of competition which benefits only the clubs with the largest and most talented squads. They are hardly at a disadvantage because of international call ups in the autumn as evidenced by the fact that the clubs who provide the majority of England players are ALWAYS the top four clubs at the end of the season.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Warriordad (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 12:59
Great post,

And some really great and fairly balance points. Thought the arrogant pop was a little unfair, as a season ticket holder we were told if we reach the semi final not when.

I do agree about your point regarding pushing the most consistent league performer in to the prem. Not a knock out specialist!

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Gray_Lensman (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 13:37
I think the 'arrogant' was more likely to be a reference to the fact that anything Bristol do that can possible be seen as entitlement is routinely described as arrogant and was not a pop at Worcester. Whereas Worcester can include the semi in the season ticket without any comment at all. You can bet if we had done the same that we'd have been criticised by all and sundry.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Warriordad (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 14:21
Fair point GL,

Like i said it is a fair post, with a strong argument.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 15:54
It's an interesting analysis, but some of what is purported here is a bit shonky.

The analysis on how well promoted teams have done under different systems doesn't bear lots of scrutiny. Saints and Quins are traditionally successful clubs and their relegation was really an aberration, so you would expect more success upon their return. It also takes no account of the fact that Worcester and Newcastle finished top of the league and won the play offs, so under either system would have been promoted. Worcester might actually be unique in being promoted under both systems to the Premiership, in neither event have we set the world alight.

So looking at teams that have been promoted by play offs who haven't finished top, it's a straight run off between Exeter and London Welsh. Exeter have gone on to establish themselves in fine style (much I suspect to the envy of the crowds in Worcester & Bristol), where London Welsh have gone on to be a disaster. But for your one Welsh, I will raise you one Rotherham who had a pretty dismal season of their own having been promoted under the old system.

I have seen the argument presented (and it's hinted at here), that Bristol have won the league 4 times and therefore deserve to be promoted. Unfortunately, the issue appears to be an ability to perform under pressure and it would seem manifestly the case where Bristol have performed consistently in the league, come the play offs the pressure seems to have told. In any event this season was always going to come down to a 2 leg play off between Worcester and Bristol, whether in straight league format or at the end of the play offs. Beyond speculation, it is not possible to predict what would have happened in the event of no play offs on the 2 straight league games which would have become, in a stroke, immediately more highly pressurised than they were.

As for interest, I'm not sure the comparison with football is that relevant as the footy is vastly more popular (whether we like it or not) and pulls very large viewing audiences. It is hard to argue though that the play offs generated a pretty reasonable tv audience and the denouement of the game generated significant coverage in the media. Cruel as it was (and also arguably misrepresentative of week in/week out rugby in this division), it was entertaining and noteworthy.

Beyond that, whether the play offs are a just way of deciding who should be promoted or relegated for me is still an open question. To be honest I'm not actually convinced it makes a huge amount of difference in the end.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Gray_Lensman (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 17:30
I don't think what Ian has written suggests that Bristol deserve to be promoted at all. The problem is that if you disagree with the principle of the play-offs as a means of deciding promotion then, if you are a Bristol supporter, anything you say on the subject is automatically discounted or taken, as here, to be special pleading for Bristol. It is possible to both support Bristol and believe on rational grounds that the play-offs are farcical way of deciding promotion.

I think the major point is why the relegation play-offs were dropped as soon as they could and we've persisted with the promotion ones. I think the analysis here is spot on.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
11/06/2015 18:33
It's manifestly not spot on GL, the argument about how promoted clubs have fared is shaky at best as are the points about the play offs not increasing exposure for the Championship.

I do agree though, it's hard to argue from a Bristol perspective without it looking like a special pleading. Who is to say though you'd be any more successful if it was a straight league?

The point about relegation play offs is a fair one, though where many leagues have play off systems for promotion or championships, I can't think of many (or any at all in fact off hand I can't think of any at all!).

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
SenorJuan (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 09:35
I'd agree that the section about the promoted clubs isn't the strongest argument, but I put it in because the idea that the play-offs in some manner prepare clubs for life in the Premiership is one put forward. What I was trying to show is that the actual evidence for that is highly equivocal. On the other hand to argue that the relegation of 'Quins and Northampton was an 'aberration' doesn't seen terribly strong either. They were relegated because they failed to perform in the league, traditionally strong or not, (and I could argue that Bristol are traditionally strong) and the reasons for that are largely irrelevant. It is interesting to speculate how 'Quins might have done if there had been a play-off in place and they failed to return at the first time of asking. Let us not forget that Worcester would have lost in the play-offs had the referee been paying attention. Bedford should have won that game - a double example of the unfairness of the play-offs; Bedford were prevented from causing an upset by a single mistake but if they had won it would have been clearly unfair on Worcester who were head and shoulders above everyone else in the league that season.

Welsh are an interesting example. They have been promoted via the play-offs twice and that highlights the fact that it allows a club to be promoted that has made wholly inadequate plans for achieving that goal. Or in the case of their first promotion, no actual plans at all. In other words the play-offs permit a club to be promoted that isn't really up to the job. However, that isn't entirely the fault of the system, most of that is down to the poor management of London Welsh. The play-offs simply expose their incompetence in a way they could get away with at a lower level.

But any system can promote a club that isn't up to the job, it is just that the play-off system has an innate bias in favour of promoting clubs that can't compete. If, as many claim, there is a way to prepare for the play-offs other than performing consistently at or close to the highest level, then clubs who have mastered that method (which, to be clear, I don't really think exists) will get to the play-offs and maybe win but without having to develop a team that can consistently perform at the highest possible level. To be crude about it the play-offs are intended to help teams that can fluke a win or two.

When talking about interest in the system we have, I am not so foolish as to be making direct comparisons with football but I am trying to show that the level of interest starts from such a low base that even a spectacular increase doesn't actually make that much difference. The only media coverage was some reasonable, actually surprisingly high, viewing on Sky and some press coverage of that one particular game. Coverage that made no reference to the Championship as a whole, except to say that Worcester and Bristol were destined to meet in the final - which effectively discounts the entire Championship season and all the other clubs. And then criticises the play-off system. If that is interest then it isn't very positive interest . Additionally, if the two best supported clubs in the league can't even get in as many supporters to the play-off semis as they did for the regular season fixture then even the groups who ought to be most concerned with the process aren't even that interested.

Basically the play-offs don't do the things that are claimed for them except give teams that can't win a league another go.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 10:22
The point on Quins and Saints is they are long standing top tier clubs that are well resourced, well financed, have a long track record of success and are well supported. Each had a shocker of a season where they were rightly relegated, but they have bounced back as expected. None of the other clubs, Bristol included, meet those criteria.

I think the comment on Welsh and the fact that the play offs allow a club that is ill prepared to sneak in is a good point. However, over the course of four play off games Bristol failed to beat them on any of them. It's also the case that Rotherham were promoted twice and failed twice in a similar way to Welsh. I think the issue more is that some promoted teams are not ready for a range of reasons to perform in the Premiership. This for me is very little to do with the league structure but I agree it's unarguable that the play offs increase the chances of a weaker side getting promoted.

Beyond that I'm not sure which incident you are referring to in the Bedford game?

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Big Dave (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 11:31
"This for me is very little to do with the league structure but I agree it's unarguable that the play offs increase the chances of a weaker side getting promoted."

So you fundamentally agree with this article, and everything else is basically irrelevant.

On another matter, I dare the author of this article to put a link to it and and invite comment on a website or websites frequented by fans of Exeter Chiefs or London Welsh.

I DARE you.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 12:43
Which posting are you quoting from Dave?

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
POTO (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 13:20
Food for thought here.

It is clear the current system in the Premiership and Championship do not reward those who are consistently the best team in the league.

However, if that is not the aim of the system then it is not flawed.

The current system rewards the top 4 teams with a mini cup tournament to claim the title. That is it's purpose and it fulfils it.

The question is whether clubs want to participate in this kind of system, and if not then they are free to go out and create their own.

We can not moan about a system we willingly compete in knowing full well how it works.

If you look at both football and rugby leagues you'll see that relegation and promotion can be treated differently depending on the level you are playing at. Inconsistent yes but it's not a secret and teams have to abide by that or find another competition to play in.

The current systems create drama, give underdogs a chance of glory and heighten the intensity of the last few games of the competition. From a promoters perspective this is exactly what they want and the number of people watching the play off games far out weight the numbers that would exist at the end fo the season if the winner was already known.

Look at the football premiership, when one of the top teams has won with 4 games to go there is not much to play for and the last few games for other teams can be a bit flat. Compare that to this seasons rugby premiership and I'm sure anybody looking at them objectively would tell you they enjoyed the rugby finish more.

It's easy to hate and even blame the system when it's not gone our way for so long, however, by agreeing to enter the competition we agree to the rules even if we voted against it. The simple answer is to use the whole season to discover how we are going to deal with kno0ck out games because the performance this year showed we have learnt nothing since Exeter beat us with one mans boot.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
elegia (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 13:22
quins are very well supported now ( & the london double header will helpp their avearge figures), but you don't have to go back too far & they were averaging around 5000 a game

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Music/Pix/pictures/2011/7/13/1310579502636/New-Order-left-to-right-G-007.jpg

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 15:44
No Big Dave I don't fundamentally agree with the article. It is more probable that a weaker team will get promoted but this in itself doesn't undermine the idea of the play offs completely.

I think it's more of an issue where one team dominates the league completely then come play off time someone with a far weaker record gets promoted. It's less of an issue where there are two very close sides who then contest a play off as with this season, and you could argue a two legged play off at the end of the season is better than an effective play off between the two sides as part of the regular league where there are better refs, tmo etc. Equally with two close sides there is always the possibility of a random league result on a windy day played on a cabbage patch influencing the outcome.

I also think that the principle that doing well in the league section of the Championship is more likely to lead to success in the Premiership is fairly spurious. There are far bigger factors at play and you could also reasonably argue that a side that can't cope with the pressure of the play offs, won't cope with the pressure of the Premiership either.

Welsh actually did ok in their first season, had they not had a points deduction they may well have stayed up. Second time around they were very poor, but I think this is more about the strategy they adopted rather than the impact of the play offs. Bearing in mind they beat you four times, who is to say Bristol would have fared any bette?

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Graham_U (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 17:15
I think you need to look at your history a bit more. Welsh did not beat us 4 times last season and have not beaten us 4 times in play-offs. Also Saints were not even in the top division when they were first set up. They have grown to there current prominent position by a revolution at the club in 1988 that resulted in promotion to the top div in 1990. Whilst I think LW did well in their first season up, the points deduction was the final nail, they were already struggling well before then.

As far as I can see the only justification for the play-offs is commercial, and in doing so has completely undermined the regular season as has been debated elsewhere. Unfortunately this season was probably the first year when a football type 2nd. Bottom of the Prem plays Second top Champ Play-off might have lead to a decent game, and been a worth while exercise. The last game of the regular season at 6ways would have been a fantastic match that would have match anything in the play-offs.

For those that are old enough they can probably remember the last match of the season against Wuss which was also a winner takes all match at the Mem the first time we were in the second tier when we did indeed return at the first time of asking.

But the truth is that what undermines the championship is not the play-offs, its the fact that there is such a massive difference between the resources of us and Wuss last season and all of the rest of the league. Leeds have the potential to grow with the right backing, any other team that finds a SL backer may be added to the list, but there is still the sustainability to be considered. LW, LS and Roth, all struggle to get a crowd that could ever pay the bills, even Leeds are fighting a battle on this front. Even though our crowds have stood up and grown reasonably well, we have still nealy gone out of business 3 times in this division, and that the danger to any team without a backer with deep pockets that get relegated from the Prem.

Graham

C'mon Bris,

http://www.rugbynetwork.net/boards/file/s100.htm?102,file=399.jpg

Stand out in a crowd, wear the Hoops!

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 18:03
I didn't mean last season Graham, I actually meant in play offs, but you are right I hadn't appreciated you'd gone out to Pirates in the first semi's when Welsh were promoted on the first occasion.

The point you make on the play offs not being the thing that undermines the Championship was precisely the point I was making. the league structure has little to do with how promoted teams fare in the Prem, that is determined by other things and there is a growing problem with the gap between the 1st and 2nd tiers becoming too large. The debate about the play offs being the root of all evil is a red herring for me, getting rid of them whilst it might solve a little local difficulty that is apparent at Bristol (assuming you can win the big games in the league when it matters of course!), it won't resolve the issue of the flow of teams into the prem and their sustainability. I am a little concerned that the rumoured 14 team ring fenced Premiership may in fact be a sprat to catch a mackerel. While it may suit both Bristol and Worcester short term as it would guarantee top flight status for a while, I would fear that neither club will sustain long term and the bigger clubs, arguing they need fewer games and a greater concentration of financial resources, will chuck us back over the side and reduce the size of the top tier but leave the ring fence in place....

We shall see, but I don't think an ongoing debate about the status of the play offs is the biggest issue.

On the subject of Saints, 1988 is a little while ago and it is quite hard to argue with their pedigree as a top club.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Peter_B (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 21:17
I'm afraid neiljk we have beaten London Welsh in the playoffs, more than once in fact. We have only played them in one final so far.

Peter

C'mon you Bristol Boys!

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Graham_U (IP Logged)
12/06/2015 23:11
Neil do you know anything about the wealth of Lansdown and Bristol sport. If you did I think you would be a little less condicending about our chances in the league above. As for the issue about the play-offs you completely ignore the issue I've made about how they undermine the regular season. If the play-offs were for 2-5th. then there would still be something to play for in the league. But in reality there are only about 12-15 teams capable of sustaining at the demands of a fully pro-set up. It should be up to the powers between the RFU and Prem Rugby to define a competition that suits this, with the appropriate condition for additional teams to join the elite.

Graham

C'mon Bris,

http://www.rugbynetwork.net/boards/file/s100.htm?102,file=399.jpg

Stand out in a crowd, wear the Hoops!

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 03:53
A new Long Standing agreement will have to be negotiated between the clubs and the RFU after RWC 2015.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 08:49
Crumbs, not sure how stating that I worry that either Worcester or Bristol could sustain themselves, given that neither have, can be construed as condescending?

It feels a little bit Graham that you feel Bristol are wealthy and well supported and are therefore entitled to be in the Prem?

There are arguments for and against the current structure for me but the main thrust of the argument presented here that the current league is not good preparation for the prem because of the play offs for me is hokey. The issues lay elsewhere.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
EverOptimistic nli (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 09:28
When supporters of the club promoted by virtue of the playoffs come onto this board and defend the playoff system I think they are bound to be met with suspicion, and to maybe see words as condescending when perhaps it wasnt intended.

I do not believe for one minute that LW, Wuss and Exeter supporters would have put forward their arguments in favour if they had topped the regular season and then lost the playoffs.

However they are in a similar position to Bris in that we can't argue against playoffs without the sour grapes accusation and they can't argue in favour because, as direct beneficiaries, the accusation is 'they would say that wouldn't they'.

But I still haven't seen one good argument in favour of playoffs.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
SenorJuan (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 10:03
I don't think I intended or implied that the main argument against the play-offs is the way they fail to prepare a side for the Premiership. One of the propositions about them is that they somehow ensure a side best able to cope with the intensity of the Premiership is promoted. My contention is that there is little or no evidence that this is the case. It is just one plank in my reasons for disapproving of the play-offs as a method for deciding promotion. I believe that all the reasons I set out cumulatively demonstrate the faults in the system. There are two main strands; firstly that many of the things the play-offs supposedly deliver are, in fact not delivered or have unintended negative consequences. Secondly, that by their very nature they have the potential to produce results in which extraneous factors such as the weather or injury exert disproportionate effects. Even the toss of the coin to determine who kicks off. To use Worcester as an example even their supporters agree that kicking to the north stand is more difficult than to the south; if the wind was stronger, more blustery or swirling during one half then this random event would have a meaningful effect completely out of the control of players or coaches. The degree to which a particular side copes with pressure or not is irrelevant to this scenario. Equally, events such as the bounce of the ball, decision making by officials and players, a slip on the turf etc can have a clear effect in one-off games that are averaged out over the course of a league.

I didn't even touch on the practical difficulties that a play-off system introduces in the recruitment and retention of players and even coaches. But clearly introducing a mechanism that means a side that is clearly stronger over the course of a season can be denied promotion as the result of one poor performance or chance event will (as we have seen) cause difficulties in persuading high quality players to join. The fact that we have had to include get-out or loan clauses when recruiting such players clearly shows this. And that is despite us being in a position to match or exceed the terms available in the Premiership.

I find it fascinating that, because I write as a Bristol supporter, the automatic assumption is that I somehow think Bristol deserve to be promoted or that we would have done better had we been promoted. I make no such assertion. As a Bristol supporter I have a natural interest in the way the play-offs work, but that does not mean that my objections to them are, in principle, wrong. If we had finished fourth and then won the play-offs I would (perhaps hypocritically) have accepted promotion, but I would still have believed that system itself was wrong.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 15:43
For me there is no significant evidence either way that the structure of the Championship impacts performance in the Premiership, and the argument presented that a straight league is better on the basis of the performance of promoted clubs looks quite flawed. The real issues with how promoted teams fare have little to do with league structure.

The play off system does clearly have some flaws, and these are magnified when one team is dominant. It is less clear when there is more than one team in contention. This year, for example, had it been a straight league it's likely that the league would have been decided by the two league games between Bristol and Worcester or by a fluke result on the road somewhere. In this respect, surely the impact of chance (which you can argue is an intrinsic part of any sport anyway) is exactly the same as it would be for an end of season play off. You can argue in this situation an end of season play off final between the two best clubs, with better officials, with the TMO is a good solution.

I also don't think the structure of the league is really prejudicing recruitment. No one would have been certain of promotion until the last league game and the play offs only added a few weeks. I don't think that is particularly material to recruiting players or the presence of get out clauses. It would become more material where a side unexpectedly gains promotion though.

From my perspective having the play offs has meant less pressure week on week to win every single game. This allowed an element of rotation and a chance to try different combinations and different players. In a straight league the chances of this would be less and I think we'd have played much more conservative rugby as a result.

Beyond that the final did generate significant interest. It attracted a good tv audience and lots of column inches (most of which weren't dedicated to bemoaning the structure of the league). You can argue that the games were misrepresentative of the normal fare on offer, but such is the halo effect of the top level of the product and the denouement of the game at Sixways, where very hard on Bristol, was undoubtedly very exciting.

I also don't think it's hypocritical at all to say you'd take promotion even if you disagree with the system. It's fine to disagree with it, but then celebrate it if you win it. I don't see a conflict at all.

So for me there are two sides to this, recognising your perspective depends very much on where you are standing I think an assertion that there are no arguments in favour of the play offs is wrong. Likewise, saying there is nothing wrong with the status quo and there are no arguments against is wrong as well.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Gray_Lensman (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 17:06
You're still going on about how the structure of the Championship affects performance in the Premiership when that isn't even the main argument.

You may not think the play-offs prejudice recruitment, but last season we recruited players on a significant wedge, more than they were earning in the Premiership and they still had get-out clauses. The recent comments about Tom Varndell's destination show that the uncertainty over promotion introduced by the play-offs has an effect. London Welsh continually bleat that the play-offs make recruitment difficult.

If I was a Premiership player I'd think twice about joining a club, even one that showed me it would have a squad that ought to win the league, when winning the league actually won't mean a club is promoted and that I might be out of the premiership for two seasons instead of just one.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 17:34
Then what is the main point GL? It wasn't me that raised in the first place that the structure of the league impacts performance in the Prem. I just said that the argument as presented in the first post was flawed as it purported that teams that had been promoted under the old structure had done better than those promoted under the play offs.

As for recruitment, I'm failing to see how it would have made much of a difference this year or in any previous season to recruitment for that season. Rationally, neither Bristol nor Worcester would have had any certainty of promotion at the start of this season, play offs or not, therefore I can't see how this would materially impact a player's decision to join or not.

My main argument is the analysis presented is entirely one sided, effectively stating there are no good arguments in favour of the play offs. All I'm saying is that this isn't the case and tbh it seems a bit one eyed to say there is nothing in favour of the play offs at all and that they confer no advantages to anyone.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Gray_Lensman (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 21:20
Quote:
there is nothing in favour of the play offs at all and that they confer no advantages to anyone.

But isn't the final paragraph all about how the play-offs do advantage someone? That's the Championship clubs who can't win a conventional league and get the proverbial second bite of the cherry via the play-offs.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
13/06/2015 22:04
That's a cracking selective quote GL.

Your perspective is wrong. There is just one bite of the cherry and it comes at the end of the play offs not the end of the league.

Are you really prepared to say there is no reasonable argument for the play offs at all?

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
EverOptimistic nli (IP Logged)
14/06/2015 08:09
Quote:
neiljk
Are you really prepared to say there is no reasonable argument for the play offs at all?

Perhaps you could give us one good argument to show that the playoffs are a better and fairer way to select a side for promotion rather than taking the side that finishes top over the whole season. That is the point this article is making and you haven't yet put forward an argument that shows otherwise.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Gray_Lensman (IP Logged)
14/06/2015 09:33
Well, neiljk, I didn't think the quote was that selective because I was referring to the paragraph immediately above and I don't think it distorts the sense of what you say (unlike the very very selective quote on the Worcester board which sought to demonstrate that Bristol were favourites for the play-offs by quoting from an RFU article and missing out the bit where it said 'play-off favourites Bristol and Worcester' (my emphasis).

I didn't write the article but my sense of things is that the second bite of the cherry is precisely that it gives three teams a second go at promotion when they were unable to win the league. The first go should be winning the league and that team gets promoted. Find the thread on Rolling Maul where someone who was at the original meeting says the play-offs were intended precisely to stop a single well resourced team running away with things and to give 'weaker' teams a second go at things in knock-out games. And also that Mark Evans, and why he was involved I'd like to know, sold them on all the other extraneous benefits like great interest, involvement and so forth.

Let's not forget that at one point Bristol finished 8th and that was a promotion play-off place. If SL had got involved shortly before that he could have recruited a different team just for the play-offs (exactly as B&S did for the relegation ones) and we could have been promoted. That would have been a total mockery of justice. But where does it cease to be a mockery? 6th place, fifth? If it is wrong that an 8th place side gets promoted then what makes it right for fourth? Or even second?

But to answer your question, which I don't have to, given that there is one promotion spot then, yes, I don't think there is a reasonable argument for the play-offs.

My more nuanced answer is that I think the arguments against them are cumulatively overwhelming. Unless you accept the premise that there ought to be a way to stop one side's dominance of the league ensuring their promotion. I happen not to accept that and the clear implication of the article is that its writer doesn't either. If one happens to accept that then there is no clinching argument against the play-offs possible although you could still argue that they don't do all the other things people say they do. But you could come up with alternatives to a play-off like a handicapping system or deciding promotion by drawing lots.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
paulcooper02 (IP Logged)
14/06/2015 13:51
I couldn't agree more, how anyone team who finishes the league on top isn't promoted beggars belief. The Championship needs to have a re-think and whilst this may sound like sour grapes it's not.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
15/06/2015 08:14
Ok, here's my view on arguments in favour of play offs.I'll leave you guys to comment whether you think they are reasonable or not!

- this season where two teams have been in contention, an end of season show down between those two teams means you eliminate the chance and vagaries of the regular season. The outcome might not actually come down to the head to head between the two sides, it might come down to bonus points, a bad day on a cabbage patch in January, a dodgy ref one week. Where there are two sides which are clearly the best, a show down at the end of the season is a reasonable way of deciding the contest with likely the best refs, TMO, big crowds and best playing conditions.

- That showdown generates extra funding and interest which is in the longer term interests of promoting the Championship. Given the column inches generated in the following days and the tv audience (which if I'm not wrong was double the amount received by the top tier final for the Rabo), this would seem unarguable.

- There is more interest in the season for longer for more clubs

- It allows clubs to have less pressure during the regular season and bring some players through as well as trying different combinations.

There are some very strong arguments against the play offs, my argument is that there are arguments both ways and it isn't entirely one sided. The primary one of these is one of whether a league system is fairer than a league followed by a play off for deciding who gets promoted. For me, in some circumstances it is, in some it isn't. Consider the world cup or the six nations, one is a league, on decided by knock out. Which is fairer, noting that this season Wales could have snuck in as champions on the back of an utter capitulation by Italy where I'd argue if fairness were a criteria Ireland and England were more deserving winners.

I do think some of the arguments advanced here are weak. I don't think the system of promotion has a significant impact either way for how well a promoted team does. Neither does it significantly affect recruitment. I'm not saying that the play offs do either, it's just I don't think either system promotes or prejudices either of these two things.

As for selective quoting GL, I agree entirely that the quote in the run up to the play offs was shall we say at best, mischievious, but using that to justify selectively quoting me seems an odd rationale!

Finally, I'm not saying you guys are wrong about the play offs, I just don't think it is as one dimensional as you do.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Peter_B (IP Logged)
15/06/2015 10:27
Neiljk, writing a long post doesn't necessarily mean you are saying any more.

There is no need for the playoffs as each team play each other twice. The evidence that the playoffs have increased interest is not there in fact most of the clubs crowds have gone down since the playoffs were introduced. Some by half if not more. The Championship is dying.

Peter

C'mon you Bristol Boys!

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
15/06/2015 11:35
To take your points one by one, Neil

- Chances & vagaries (in which I would include injuries). There is a much higher probability of these being eliminated over the 22 match regular season than in the 2 or 4 match play-off period, so why introduce a 'random' factor like that? I take your point about the TMO and bigger crowds and, possibly, the standard of the referees but I don't think there is a guarantee of 'better' playing conditions in May than at any time in the regular season.

- Funding and interest. The play-offs provide extra funding from one match for the two losing semi-finalists and from two matches for the finalists which is not a large sum of money and benefits only four clubs. As for the interest, the vast majority of the column inches has been about the fairness of the play-off system rather than the quality of the rugby. Whether that quality will persuade more people to watch rugby in the future is a moot point.

- More interest for more clubs. From memory, it has been fairly clear around March each season that the four play-off clubs would come from a group of no more than six, meaning that the other six clubs have no further interest in the promotion battle (some may have interest in the relegation fight, of course!) I also believe that including teams in the play-offs that are not interested in promotion makes a mockery of the system. That can be avoided by promoting the team that finishes top over the regular season and having a separate knock-out competition with its own prizes at the end of the season.

- Less pressure on clubs in the regular season. To start with, I'm sure that coaches don't say to their teams, "It doesn't matter if you lose the next game because there are plenty more to come". Also, the B&I Cup competition plus injuries plus a rotation policy all give opportunities to look at squad members.

I don't understand your comments about the World Cup and the 6 Nations. One is a league + knock-out, the other a straight league. I don't think you can compare them on 'the fairness of the system'. I do note, though, the the winner of the 6 Nations is the team that finishes top of the table. Seems simple and straightforward to me. Also, of course, therein no promotion associated with either competition!

The play-offs were introduced to give the clubs more games in order to boost their revenue. The rules on which teams are now involved have now changed so much that the whole system has become irrelevant .

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
15/06/2015 20:25
Ok, here's my response. There are some good points made I think, however.

I provided more information as someone said I hadn't provided any counter arguments, I think I had, but I did again.

Noting that some of you say that you're puzzled as to why a Bristol fan can't raise the issue without looking biaised, I think in this case it's because you are looking very one dimensionally and some of what you are putting forward bears little scrutiny.

Attendances for example, on average, from 2005/6 to today in order are 2,150, 1,560, 2,271, 1,757, 2,274, 2,274, 1,927, 2,234, 2,010 and finally 2,738. There are some health warnings on the wiki sourced data, but they don't suggest attendances are declining.

As for media reports post the second leg, having looked at most of the mainstream media that reported the game I can see very little or in fact no mention in many cases of the unfairness of the system. The focus is mostly on the game itself, with how exciting it was and how unfortunate Bristol were to be denied promotion in this style. Coupled with the TV viewing figures, which compare quite favourably to other rugby stuff, an argument that the format is not generating interest or is causing declining interest doesn't seem to tally with the actual evidence.

One of the other arguments put forward here in the last post is that the play offs don't extend interest once only a few teams can qualify. Surely the logical extension of this argument is that this issue would be more acute with a straight league, particularly if one or two teams ran away with it (as per this season?).

The comparison between the World Cup and the 6N on fairness is because in one the winner is decided by league and in the other by knock out. For me the primary argument against the play offs seems to be one of fairness and justice (broadly that the best team over the season is more deserving of promotion). All I'm saying is that there are different ways of deciding a winner of a given competition and each approach has it's advantages and disadvantages.

I'm not making any value judgement about which is the best approach, just saying that there are arguments for both ways - if it was as decisive and overwhelming as suggested I struggle to see why the format has persisted in the way it has.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Gray_Lensman (IP Logged)
16/06/2015 07:29
Selective quote alert:

Quote:
how unfortunate Bristol were to be denied promotion in this style

The style wasn't the style of play, it was the play-offs. And the Guardian certainly referred to the play-offs specifically and negatively as did the Torygraph.

And the format has persisted as it has because it has a potential benefit for the majority of clubs which is the 'second bite of the cherry' at promotion (plus the chance of some additional income - after all that is what LS got out of playing Worcester, given their inability to be promoted). A lot of Championship supporters like to call the Premiership clubs a cartel acting selfishly in their own interests. They go oddly silent when it is pointed out that exactly the same is true of the Championship.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:06:16:07:33:55 by Gray_Lensman.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
mosefan (IP Logged)
16/06/2015 10:55
Quote:
Gray_Lensman
Selective quote alert:
Quote:
how unfortunate Bristol were to be denied promotion in this style

The style wasn't the style of play, it was the play-offs. And the Guardian certainly referred to the play-offs specifically and negatively as did the Torygraph.

And the format has persisted as it has because it has a potential benefit for the majority of clubs which is the 'second bite of the cherry' at promotion (plus the chance of some additional income - after all that is what LS got out of playing Worcester, given their inability to be promoted). A lot of Championship supporters like to call the Premiership clubs a cartel acting selfishly in their own interests. They go oddly silent when it is pointed out that exactly the same is true of the Championship.

I'll not be oddly silent then smileys with beer One reading of it could be that the Championship needs to be like that, because of the actions of the Premiership. They can't hope to match the premiership for money and self-protection, and given everything stacked against them by the way a small group of clubs at the top has hijacked the sport since it went professional (and the RFU failed to get a grip and assert their own primacy), anything the Championship does can only be in terms of prolonging the interest for the majority of the clubs, or attempting to add a small amount more money to the small amount most clubs make.

In those circumstances the Championship has two choices; remain ideologically pure, abstain from any majority-protecting actions while twisting slowly in the wind, or attempt some kind of collective organisation of themselves in the face of the premiership juggernaut. It's not difficult to see why they chose the latter.

But the problem is with the top league, and that has to change first before the others stop having to take what steps they can to look after themselves.

not saying that's right (or I necessarily agree with it), but it's a plausible counter-argument that the problem isn't with the Championship. The problem with cartels/concentrated power is you often have to form one of your own to defend against them (which is basically the principle of the trade-union movement, for example).

BTW, interesting to see the letter in TRP this week which advocates something that I have heard doing the rounds of the clubhouses at the back end of last season.... Anyone for a ring-fenced 10 team prem and 14 team championship? Not sure how that would even get through the various stakeholder groups (and who'd get the chop), but the jungle drums are beating...

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Crispies (IP Logged)
16/06/2015 22:08
First a feeble attempt to limit the flack I will receive: I was a season ticket holder at Bristol for quite a few years until I moved with work to France and I coughed up to fly over just to watch the home leg of the final and kicked the proverbial cat listening to the ineptitude of the last 4 minutes of the Worcester leg.

Neil has made some fair comments, I do not agree with them all, but they are not unreasonable and the attempt at a line by line destruction of them is a tad obsessive.

For me the main thing that “annoys” about the play-off system is that it is just not fair, but there is no logic behind this point at all. Dangerously I think there is a good argument that if we were good enough / prepared enough then we should have killed off both the home leg and the away leg of the final. The fact we did neither and Worcester kept going does show that under pressure their current team is better than ours.

I agree that the big problem at the moment is not the Play Off system. We are very lucky to have SL as a backer and I believe he will get us back into the Premiership and will make us successful. The main problem is the gap between the Premiership and the Championship. As it is the only clubs who will ever escape the Championship are those with big backers, for the rest there is little chance and opportunity and in the long term that will not be good for the game.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
elegia (IP Logged)
17/06/2015 08:54
imagine how long the world cup would take if it was a league competition, or how many fewer clubs would be involved

having it as a cup with knock outs means that the best team doesn't win as often though - how did england get to the final in 2007 for example?

also, wouldn't it be called the world league then?
bit of a clue in the name methinks

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Music/Pix/pictures/2011/7/13/1310579502636/New-Order-left-to-right-G-007.jpg

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
chappers (IP Logged)
17/06/2015 16:18
A good post as it summarises all the arguments that have been raging with regards to the play-offs.
But as one poster said it isn't really the play-offs that skew how equipped a side is to succeed in the Premiership. The bottom line is the gulf between the two leagues.
Yes SL does have pots of cash but can a championship side be turned into a premiership side over one summer? Yes Exeter did it, but the standard in the premiership is getting higher each season, whereas the championship seems to be standing still.
From Exeter's point of view if THIS is to be taken at face value then they did in fact base their season on targeting the play-offs safe in the knowledge that it was highly unlikely they would finish outside of the top eight.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Borum (IP Logged)
21/06/2015 12:26
Have just discovered this thread _ I agree absolutely with the initial analysis and the conclusions, spot on! I also completely understood the context in which the word 'arrogant' was used and, consequently, did not take issue with the expression.

As for myself, I disagree with the play off system in either league and hope it will shortly disappear for good!

Finally, may I apologise on behalf on Neiljik for the absolute rubbish he has imported onto this forum from his normal haunt where he is also considered a long winded pest!

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
neiljk (IP Logged)
26/06/2015 21:39
Thank you Borum, instead of making cheap comments perhaps you could explain why you think it's rubbish, other than the fact you don't agree with it?

perhaps you'd also like to explain where you see I'm referred to as a long winded pest. I suspect you mean the thread where I'm asking people not to be racist. If I'm to be condemned for that, then bring it on.

 
Re: Why the Play-offs Work
Peter_B (IP Logged)
07/07/2015 13:09
The World Cups whether football or rugby don't compare because not all of the teams play each other that's why you don't declare the winner to be the team with the best record at the end of the group stages. In the case of the Championship all the teams have played each other twice, once at home and once away. There is no need for a playoff after 22 games each.
The number of teams is irrelevant. In fact the fewer the number of teams the less a playoff is necessary.

Peter

C'mon you Bristol Boys!

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