Lower Leagues Don't Matter To Top Brass
Many of the players in the lower reaches of the football league will never have the chance to appear at Wembley without the chance to appear in a play-off final.
This year we had the excuse of the Champions League final being played there. Though why the two lower league finals were treated differently to the Championship final is beyond me.
By removing the opportunity to play at Wembley the bigwigs have basically told the teams involved that they are not very important in the great scheme of things.
It would not have been difficult for the games to have been delayed for three or four days so that all teams had the same opportunity.
Having been to Wembley in 1976, 2003 and again last season I know just how valuable an experience it is for the fans.
Win or lose they can justifiably say that they have been there, and can enjoy a unique atmosphere that seems to be part of the Wembley experience.
Old Trafford is a superb stadium and that can not be disputed, but it is not Wembley.
Huddersfield, Peterborough, Stevenage and Torquay should have been given the opportunity to play at Wembley in my opinion.
Wembley has been designated as the home of all finals and should have been the venue for both of the play-off finals.
Whether before the Championship final or not is immaterial but it wouldn't have hurt the clubs, and it is just possible that going to Wembley might have seen more people pay to watch.
With the plastic, top of table supporters turning their noses up at anything below the Premiership, behaviour like this will only help to foster an even more biased view.
I hope that this is not something that will become a regular feature of the play-offs.
Football is a game that belongs to the average man in the street. Not just here, but worldwide and to act like this detracts from the importance of these two games. Above all else football is a sport for the people and is not just something for the likes of Sepp Blatter, Roman Abramovich or any other influential figure dining with the head of the table.
When you see both semi-finals of the FA Cup being played at Wembley it only highlights the way that the lower leagues are regarded by those at the top. The FA Cup is supposed to be the standard bearer for Wembley with the possible exception of the odd England game.
All finals are supposed to be played at Wembley and players across the country dream of playing at the home of football. Stealing that dream reeks of the usual us and them scenario that we face almost daily.
Devaluing the play-offs in this way does not endear the hierarchy to any of the clubs in League One or Two and hopefully this will not become a regular occurrence. If it does it will be further proof that dreams for the poorer will never be realised and that Wembley is now only for the elite.
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