They're off, and it didn't take long. In fact, we are not even absolutely certain to be condemned to the end of season shoot out yet, but already 'heads up their own arses West Ham fans' are whining, "We've finished third so it's just not fair!" One stupid plonker on the Org has even asked, "What's the point of the playoffs apart from the finance?" Der. The whole point is the finance! That's like asking: "Apart from the sex scenes, what's the point of a porn movie?"
Imagine how dire the division would have been from January onwards but for the playoffs! Imagine trying to sell the rights to TV companies if 70% of the games from January onwards were dead rubbers. Imagine trying to sell tickets for Hull versus Millwall in mid February if both were safely tucked away in mid table with nothing to play for!
To be fair to the Championship, we have had an interest in almost every game played this season - because of keeping half an eye on prospective playoff rivals. In fact, without the playoffs, I suspect Reading would never have gone on their incredible run because, back in early December, automatic promotion looked impossible. It was the dangling carrot of the playoffs that gave Reading something to play for.
Now the playoffs are a pain in the backside for the team that finishes third in the table, but we wouldn't be complaining had we finished fourth, fifth or sixth would we? And, of course, we didn't moan when we were the beneficiaries did we?
The truth is, the playoffs were a fantastic innovation and have added enormously to the football calendar. How else would teams like Huddersfied, Crawley and West Ham get the chance to play at Wembley?