Friday, May 19, 2017

Falkirk in the Playoffs

Somewhat to my surprise, Falkirk managed to come second in the Championship. They now find themselves going into the second leg of the playoff semi-final with a very slight advantage over Dundee United. Win that, and they'll then face either Inverness or (likely) Hamilton in the final.

Falkirk have it in them to win those matches, regardless of who the opposition in the final turned out to be. That's not to say that they would, of course - merely to note that they could. (I'd be a lot less confident if it had turned out to be Motherwell or Kilmarnock, to name two.)

But, here's a question: should they want to?

On the one hand, winning promotion back to the Premiership would be a fine thing, and obviously playing in a bigger league means they get a bit more money per ticket and the like.

On the other hand, though, moving up means shifting from a position where they're at the top of the division and winning most weeks to being at or near the bottom of another division and losing most weeks. And that's got to affect morale, and is likely to lead to reduced crowds.

So maybe it's actually better not to win promotion. Indeed, maybe the optimum result would actually be to lose tonight and then see Dundee United win the final - the effect would then be a (slight) net reduction in the quality in the rest of the Championship, improving their "win most weeks" ratio.

Well, perhaps. Alternately, maybe it should just be a case that you always seek to be as close to the top as you possibly can, and that the goal therefore should be to win promotion this year, to make it to at least 10th next year (thus avoiding dropping back down), and thereafter thinking of making a challenge for higher levels in the years ahead. After all, it's not like anything stays the same in football - it wasn't so long since Inverness were coming in the top six, and now they'll be lucky to avoid automatic relegation. Who's to say that Falkirk would win most weeks in the Championship next year?

Anyway: COYB!

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