Tag Archives: play offs

Two things MK Dons are getting from signing former Man Utd youngster Regan Poole

MK Dons have signed former Man United player Regan Poole, following his release from Old Trafford.

The highly-rated youngster was chased by a number of clubs, however, the pull of League One football tempted the Welshman to Stadium MK.

Poole spent the end of last season at Newport County, helping them to reach the League Two play-off final, which they lost to Tranmere.

Let’s have a look at how Poole will benefit The Dons…

Mr Versatile…

The 20-year-old is predominantly a defender, playing both central and full-back. During his loan spell at Northampton, he also displayed his ability to play in midfield.

Poole is a very well rounded player, tall, strong, athletic and a good footballer. Paul Tisdale will have taken this into consideration when signing the former Man United player, if anyone is injured or suspended, Poole will fit in as their replacement.

Vital EFL experience

As mentioned above, Poole played a significant role in helping The Exiles reach the League Two play-off final, although they lost, Newport County beat Mansfield on penalties in the semi-final. Having a player that has experienced winning playoff matches, is always an added bonus, and I’m sure Poole will be at the heart of their side for the next campaign.

All Cup Finals Should Not Be Played at Wembley – Agree?

I was at the National League play-off final yesterday at Wembley Stadium. A great occasion for the fans of course, however, a mere 8,049 were inside the 90,000 capacity ground.

Next week is the FA Trophy final, an average crowd over the years of around 15,000 to 17,000 – similar to that of the National League Playoffs. However, again it will look lost inside the vast Wembley backdrop.

Yesterday seen two northern teams travel down to the Capital, each with an approx four-hour drive there and back. Early starts, late getting home. It’s a long day for the fans, although the flow of beer for many will help.

I was sat next to some rather tipsy Salford fans waiting for the underground, who just wanted to get home – this was 7 o’clock at night in Wembley Central. I didn’t get home myself until 10:30 pm.

Was it worth it for them Salford fans? Without a doubt, yes.

Nevertheless, my gripe with the use of Wembley is this, yes it’s a great day out and something not every fan will experience watching their team at the iconic ground. However, I don’t understand why if two northern teams are in a final, we have a nominated ground in the north – like Old Trafford of the Etihad.

Similar if it’s a northern and southern team, we have a neutral ground in the Midlands like Villa Park.

Leave the League Cup Final, the three EFL play-off finals and the FA Cup ONLY to be played at Wembley. The rest play at neutral grounds, because let’s face it FA Cup semi-finals are not a Wembley showpiece. They take the edge off truly getting to a Wembley final and, it’s double the expense for the travelling fans.

It would be easier for the money spending fans to get to, more fans would be more likely to go with shorter travelling distances and it would pump money into different parts of the country.

Yesterday could have been played at the Etihad. The numbers would have definitely been more and the chance to play at a Premier League stadium would have still been a massive day out.

This all will never happen of course, but in common sense terms, it makes total sense to all.

Today Salford City or Fylde Will be Taking a Step Into The Unknown, Miles Ahead Of Expectation

Just over a decade ago AFC Fylde and Salford City were so far apart, one of the clubs had a different name and the others had a different colour for a home kit.

Fylde were named Kirkham & Wesham until the 2008/09 season before winning the FA Vase at Wembley, the same venue of the play-off final. Salford’s main kit was orange until a controversial colour change following on from the takeover that changed Non-League forever. 2014 was the year the Ammies found fame, following the takeover of The Class of 92.

It’s fair to say Fylde and Salford have more than ambitious owners. As near neighbours, Blackpool have suffered aplenty under the Oysten Family, the new up and coming Lancashire club have been doing the complete opposite. Under chairman David Haythornthwaite, a top of the range stadium and academy named Mill Farm has been constructed.

Now with Haythornwaite’s backing, they too have aimed to make the Football League. 2022 is their desired aim for League Two football, meaning if David Chanillor’s men come up short against Salford, they’re still ahead of progress to one day be in England’s top 92 teams. Alongside businessman Peter Lim, Gary Neville and co have something similar planned at the Peninsula Stadium.

Both teams have clear objectives, but by sunset tomorrow one side will have exceeded all aims and objectives. By August one of Fylde or Salford will welcome Oldham, Scunthorpe or Bradford to their respective stadia, while the other dust themselves down and goes again in the league they’ve spent nine months trying to get out of.

For Graham Alexander at Salford, promotion to the football league would be nothing short of his set standards. Only over a year ago Alexander was managing Scunthorpe in League One, come next season he may be taking his present team back to Glanford Park in League Two where the Irons have now been relegated to.

The former Scunthorpe and Fleetwood Town boss has been working with a lucrative budget this season, the reason why few eyebrows were raised when he made the rare step down in league quality. Most likely one of the few clubs below the Championship, let alone the National League to be able to have £4,000 a week Adam Rooney within his ranks, managing the club neighbouring Man United and City certainly holds a fair few bonuses.

But with money comes expectation and Salford have revelled in that. Set for another promotion, possibly their fourth in five seasons, working out where the momentum will end for the Ammies has been impossible. Working out where that will stop with victory tomorrow is a troublesome task as well.

Signings from Bristol Rovers (Rory Gaffney) and Chesterfield (Scott Wiseman) have helped Salford in their attempt to complete the last leg of their Non-League journey. In their way stand the club of the Fylde Coast. After finishing 5th in the regular league season and taking down Solihull Moors in last Sunday’s semi-final, they now have dreams and expectations of their own.

Radcliffe Passionate Fanbase Get Play-Off Win They Deserve

My first visit to the Neuven stadium as a neutral didn’t disappoint, with Radcliffe’s passionate fan base out in good voice in their Evo-Stick West Play-Off Final against Leek Town yesterday.

It was Boro’s first chance at promotion in 16 years, not since the 02/03 season have they been in contention for promotion to a higher level.

The game started at a fairly low tempo, with Radcliffe having most of the ball and creating all the chances. But it was Leek Town who made the breakthrough with an excellent ball into the box by former Liverpool academy man Dan Trickett-Smith, who found Rob Stevenson unmarked in the box and duly poked the ball home past Radcliffe keeper Ollie Martin to give Leek a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute.

This was the high spot of a fairly tame first half. Radcliffe made one change in the break, Matty Crothers coming on for Lee Neville. The team clearly responded positively to Boro manager Jon Mackens half time pep talk, as they stepped up their gear and played with a greater sense of urgency than in the first half.

As Leek struggled to match their opponents, Radcliffe started to find joy down the left-hand side of the pitch. Getting almost instant second-half success when top scorer Tunde Owolabi tapped into the back of the Leek net from a couple of yards out, after a well-squared pass from the recently introduced Matty Crothers in the 46th minute.

The vocal support from the Radcliffe faithful grew as they could sense a real chance of promotion unfolding on the pitch in front of them. Boro continued to turn the screw and apply pressure with an Owolabi effort firing just wide, and a goalmouth scramble in the Leek town box seeing many efforts blocked.

The pressure ultimately told. In the 62nd minute, Kyle Harrison did well to jink his way into the box from the left wing once again, where Leek left-back Lewis Short lunged in and brought Harrison down. Ben Wharton stepped up and fired home the resulting penalty to complete the second half turnaround.

Leek Town was to have a late penalty shout of their own turned down in the 75th minute when Rob Stevenson went down to a sliding Boro challenge in the box. The referee immediately waved it away to the relief of the home supporters, who were becoming more jubilant as the final whistle approached.

Five tense minutes of added time ticked away and as the full-time whistle was blown. Joyful scenes ensued. Large sections of the fans ran onto the pitch to celebrate with their heroes in what was not only a huge win for the club but, a huge win for the town of Radcliffe. Such passion for teams representing their community is often lost at higher levels of the game.

Radcliffe were very gracious hosts and look to be operating in the right way and hopefully, have more success coming their way in the future. Today’s promotion was for their loyal fan base and for their former club photographer Pete Lee, who sadly passed away in a road traffic accident earlier this season.

Today’s performance and result would have made him very proud.

Photo Cred: Radcliffe Boro/ Robert Duckworth