EPL: Reshaping the Playoffs Will Help Parity

Jamie MasonCorrespondent IMay 14, 2008

This season saw Derby County break the Premier League record of lowest points total, and also chart only one win all season. They also hold the record of the most games without a win.

The reason for this is the widening gap between the Championship and Premier League sides.

Sunderland spent £45m last summer to retain their Premier League status and finished three points from the relegation zone. Teams like Stoke City and West Brom will have to spend that amount and more if they are to retain their status as a top-flight side.

Looking at the relegated clubs, two were in their first season back in the Premier (Derby and Birmingham City), while the other club, Reading, were only in their second—so does this set a trend where the teams coming up will be those that go back down again?

What can be done to stop this?

My idea is going back 20 years. 

Back then the third from bottom side (Reading) would play the team that finished third from top in the Championship (Hull City) over two legs. The winner would get a place in the Premier League.

That way, should the Championship side win at least we will know the quality of side in the Premier League would be better. But if they lost then they would remain in the Championship. 

As a "reward" for finishing third, the Championship side would get the parachute payment, that way they would be able to buy better quality players and make more of a challenge for a Premier League place.

Over a period of time we will recognise a closing of the gap.

Otherwise, there will be an everlasting cycle of teams going up coming straight back down again, and that can't be healthy for the English game.