The 2009/10 Championship Playoffs begin this weekend with the first legs of the semi-finals. The race for playoff qualification went down to the final days of the season with Leicester City claiming fifth place on the penultimate day and Blackpool edging out Swansea City on the last day for sixth. That sets up the four-club playoff to determine who will join Newcastle United and West Bromich Albion in the Premier League in the 2010/11 season.
Interesting storylines abound as each of the four sides would make a compelling story in the Premier League. Forest, the third place finisher, have not been in the Premier League since 1999. Obviously Forest have a compelling past with European Cup titles and fantastic success just thirty years ago. Blackpool, their semi-final opponent, have not been in the top flight since 1971. Just three years ago the Pool were in League One and in the early 80s, at the height of Forest’s reign, were four places from the bottom of the entire football league. Cardiff City would of course be the first Welsh side in the Premier League, were they to win the playoff while Leicester’s re-entry to the Premier League for the first time since their financial collapse and relegation in 2004 would also be a nice completing of the circle.
Nottingham Forest @ Blackpool
Cardiff City @ Leicester City