Let's talk about it: did we break football?
I don't feel good about some of these trends
There was a moment of pure football joy recently.
Coventry City, a club that were relegated from the Premier League in 2001 after 34 consecutive seasons of top-flight football, reached the Championship play-off final. In the time since 2001, Coventry were relegated to League One and then League Two, coming close to going out of business. Coventry were the definition of how not to run a football club, and it was reasonable to assume they might never play Premier League football again, such was the state of mismanagement.
Of course, they’re not there yet. They’ll play Luton Town at Wembley on Saturday. Luton were relegated from the old First Division in 1992, right before the Premier League started and could’ve brought the club great riches. Four years later, they were relegated to the third tier, and then down to the fourth tier in 2001. After getting promoted back to the Championship in 2005, they soon suffered three consecutive relegations, driven in part by financial issues that saw the club docked points. In 2009, Luton fell out of the Football League entirely after 89 years. They only returned to League Two in 2014, beginning a miraculous turnaround that saw them reach the Championship again in 2019. Luton fans have really been through it.
Whichever team wins the play-off final will be more than deserving. Either has a great story to tell about the true romance of football. I’ve been trying to keep that in mind for the last few days.
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