I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the play-offs – or that’s what I think I believe!
They’re like a penalty shootout at the end of a final – and are no way to determine the outcome of a team’s efforts after a long, arduous campaign.
At a World Cup final, an FA Cup final or even the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final, why should a side’s destiny be decided by an unpredictable 10 minutes, a lottery, when so much effort has gone before it?
The same goes for the play-offs. Why should a team who finishes third, or fourth in for this matter, be asked to put all behind them, go again and have their fate decided by three 90-minute matches?
And there’s even a possible penalty shootout after that!
In that respect, I’m suggesting Pompey shouldn’t even be preparing to face Plymouth over two legs, starting with tomorrow night’s game at Fratton Park.
After all, they finished this season sixth in League Two – seven points behind fourth-placed Accrington.
Then I realise, it’s just the fear talking.
Fear of the unpredictable happening. Fear of failure. Fear of not knowing what will happen if the Blues don’t eventually get promoted. Fear of seeing others rejoice at our expense and planning for an exciting future while Pompey make do with yet another League Two season.
So much can go wrong and the disappointment would be unbearable.
But then why should I or any other Pompey fan for that matter be approaching this key stage in the club’s future with trepidation?
There should be nothing to fear from the challenge that lies ahead.
All the ingredients are there for this to be a successful mission that leads to Wembley.
We all know Pompey have a far superior squad than that of the Pilgrims.
They have the beating of a side who stole victory the last time they came to Fratton Park.
They’ll have the full support of a packed Fratton Park determined to cheer their side to victory.
Not so much a lottery, therefore – more of a platform to show the rest of the world that the Blues are on their way back!
– MARK McMAHON