'EFL rules out possibility of Sheffield Wednesday vs Sheffield United play-off final'
Fans on both sides of Sheffield’s football divide must have at least recognised the possibility of a Steel City derby playoff final as Wednesday and United continue to fight for promtion.
The Owls extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches after grinding out a 0-0 draw away at Stoke City on Saturday, while the Blades dropped out of the automatic promotion spots after slipping to a 3-2 defeat at home to Bristol City.
But any thoughts fans had of an end-of-season climax at Wembley with a Sheffield derby have been dashed after Football League bosses ruled it out – claiming the three previous meetings ‘had not provided the spectacle which such a high profile game deserved’.
Abril Tonto, a spokeswoman for the English Football League, said: “While the prospect of a Steel City derby playoff final might be appealing to fans in Sheffield, based on the last three derbies ending in 0-0 draws, we feel it wouldn’t provide the spectacle which a high profile game such as the Championship Playoff final deserves.
“We are sorry to both Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United supporters but the playoff final is the biggest match of the season and is a showcase for our fantastic league.
“After no goals between the two teams in 270 minutes of football, we don’t feel it would be an appropriate final.”
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United currently sit third in the Championship table, two points behind Leeds United, while Wednesday sit 11th – three points off a playoff spot.
Ms Tonto said that if both teams were to meet in the semi-finals then the two-legged tie would go ahead as normal, adding: “You would hope that with a Wembley spot up for grabs there would be some goals in 180 minutes.”
But if the two Sheffield clubs were due to meet in a final, promotion would be decided by the number of pies sold at home games during the regular season.
Sheffield United take on playoff chasing Preston North End away from home on Saturday, while Wednesday take on Aston Villa on Saturday.
Happy April Fool’s Day to all our readers and best of luck to both teams as they chase down promotion to the Premier League.