Keeping the season alive
Whilst there is an argument to be held that the play-offs render the 3rd placed team very unlucky, the chance of gaining promotion through reaching that final play-off place keeps the season alive for a host of clubs sitting just below. Traditionally the 3rd placed team would go up automatically, however this rule would mean that for many out of touching distance the season could be over months before the final day. The playoffs represents a beacon of hope for the Bournemouths, the York Citys, the Plymouths (to name just a few), who without that chance would, this season, be playing out games in front of smaller and unenthused crowds whilst the staff and players already dream of their summer holidays. This also adds intensity for the teams residing in 1st and 2nd place (and 3rd in League Two) who desperately try to avoid slipping down to the play-offs and inevitably end up facing a team that has crept in on the back of an astonishing run of form. For the Derbys, the Rotherhams and the Fleetwoods, sitting comfortably in the pack, the play-offs mean that their final games are played out with a strong desire to maintain the momentum for the end of season lottery.