I've really started to hate the month of May. It seems that every year at this time Ipswich Town are either fighting for promotion to the Premiership or fighting to avoid relegation to (what is now) the Championship.
- 94-95 Finished 19th in Premiership. Just avoided relegation.
- 95-96 Finished 22nd in Premiership. This one was over by Christmas.
- 96-97 Finished 7th in Div 1. Just missed out on playoffs.
- 97-98 Finished 5th in Div 1. Knocked out of playoffs by Charlton.
- 98-99 Finished 3rd in Div 1. Knocked out of playoffs by Bolton.
- 99-00 Finished 3rd in Div 1. Promoted to Premiership via playoffs. I was at Wembley for the final, what a fantastic day!
- 00-01 Finished 5th in Premiership. The only enjoyable May in years.
- 01-02 Finished 18th in Premiership. Relegated on final day of season.
- 02-03 Finished 7th in Div 1. Just missed out on playoffs.
- 03-04 Finished 5th in Div 1. Knocked out of playoffs by West Ham.
In the last 10 seasons, May has been a nervous time. Sadly, most years, things haven't gone our way either. Those playoffs matches never seem to go the way of regular season form. They are usually close, tense games and often can go to overtime and even penalties.
So here we are less than 24 hours from the end of the 04-05 season. This year is our best chance in a while for an automatic promotion spot. Town are level with Wigan for second place. Naturally, Ipswich never do things the easy way as Wigan have the tiebreaker should it be needed. I can't help but think the playoffs are starting a game earlier this year. They are now saying it's worth about US$30million in additional revenue being in the Premiership rather than the Championship. The stakes are high and the matches are close and exciting for the neutral fan. Here's hoping Ipswich make it the easy way (finishing second) and Wigan win the playoffs (they deserve it).