The most valuable game in world football (not including all the UEFA/FIFA cup final backhanders) is upon us once again.
Being promoted to the Premier League is a very big deal for any club, and there’s nothing quite like the drama of the Championship play-off final. It’s often the route by which more unlikely teams make their entrance to the top-flight – think of outfits like Blackpool, Swansea and Huddersfield.
However, this season we really don’t really give a toss about who gets promoted between the arid Aston Villa and dull Derby.
In fact, we’d be delighted if neither of them made their Prem return.
Before you start having a go, just hear us out. We’re convinced you’ll agree with us…
1. Derby should be banned from the Premier League
Ah, the 2007/08 Premier League season: Michael Chopra banging in goals for Sunderland, Arsenal blowing league titles, Chris Kamara struggling to make sense of Portsmouth 7-4 Reading… these were halcyon days.
But not if you were associated with the Rams. Their laughable record low points tally of 11 saw them become the first Premier League team to be relegated in March. And their embarrassment continued into April as Aston Villa hammered them 6-0 at Pride Park, the biggest home defeat of the season.
Eleven long years has passed since, but that was such an atrocious campaign we reckon they should be forced to wait until 2028 until they’re allowed to return.
2. Jack Grealish’s haircut could go mainstream
Being in the Premier League widens a player’s exposure dramatically. Whether you like it or not, people try to emulate their footballing heroes – which is exactly our concern with Jack Grealish.
No, we’re not bothered about kids getting on the hippy crack balloons. We’re more worried that Grealish’s hairstyle – an eye-catching hybrid of a Geordie Shore extra combined with a trainee barber’s clippers running out of battery – could explode in popularity.
Nobody wants to see that monstrosity when you’re wandering down the high street.
3. Frank Lampard getting promoted would be awful
Is it the fact he’s posting pictures of his dinner with Christine Bleakley on Instagram? Maybe it’s the videos of him singing Oasis in the dressing room? Hmmm, we can’t put our finger on it, but surely we’re not the only ones that finds Lampard a bit weird?
Yes, it’d be a huge achievement to get promoted to the Premier League in his first season as a manager, but… meh. He’s buggering off to Chelsea soon anyway, so he’ll be in the Prem regardless.
4. John Terry getting promoted would be worse
It’s May 2020. Aston Villa, needing a win on the final day to maintain their top-flight status, score a 94th minute winner.
In the blink of an eye, assistant manager John Terry removes his tracksuit to reveal a full Villa kit with Terry 26 on the back. He races onto the pitch at full-time and asks the squad to lift him on to their shoulders for their glorious lap of celebration.
Does anyone really want to see this happen? Thought not.
5. Spygate will rear its ugly head again
You’d have to have been living under a giant rock (that also secretly housed Marcelo Bielsa’s evil lair) to miss the spying controversy that engulfed the Championship earlier this year.
If it was easy enough for some fella to wreck Derby’s pre-match preparations by just peeking over a fence, what hope do the Rams have against the espionage tactics super-rich clubs could afford?
6. Villa fans will expect instant success
For some reason the Claret and Blue Army think their club should be competing at the very top of the game, no matter what their situation is. But, in true Rafa Benitez style, here are some facts: Villa have not won the league since 1981 and their last proper silverware was the League Cup in 1996.
If they come up, we’ll have to go through the ordeal of them moaning that they’re not in the top four straight away and calling for their manager’s head by November. Nobody can be arsed with that. There’s only room for one set of self-entitled supporters like these in the Premier League, and Everton have got that niche locked down.
7. It should have been Leeds!
Everyone would have loved to see LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS back in the promised land, right? They’ve been milling around the lower leagues since 2004 and Elland Road – with its booming atmosphere – would be a far more enjoyable Premier League venue than Villa Park or Pride Park.
Also, how much fun would it be watching Marcelo Bielsa do battle against the all-time great managers like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Sean Dyche? It’s too sad they ballsed it up.
8. We’d rather keep Neil Warnock
In a parallel universe, the EFL have taken heed of our complaints and opted to promote just the top two in place of Fulham and Huddersfield. Which means Neil Warnock’s Cardiff are staying up and we get another season of his bonkers behaviour:
Neil Warnock, ladies and gentlemen ? pic.twitter.com/FG0Z8vVugo
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 4, 2019
Can anyone honestly say they’d rather have Villa or Derby in the Premier League over him?