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Would we rather Leeds United came up, or Doncaster Rovers? It’s a tricky one.

On Saturday Doncaster take on Leeds in the League One Play-Off Final, with the winner obviously getting a place in the Championship next season, and the high honour of visiting Carrow Road that accompanies it (:)).

The thing is, I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot, and it’s tricky. Real tricky. Last week I said I was disappointed that Leeds beat Carlisle and spent the next couple of days receiving very friendly emails and comments so for the final I’ve decided to take a more scientific approach – I’m not making that mistake twice.

The best way to do it is to judge the clubs in several categories, much like I did for Manager of the Year:

  1. Who would add the best value to the league?
  2. Who are City more likely to do better against?
  3. This season’s performance against expectations.
  4. X-Factor (no cheating this time).

Let’s see how we get on…

Round One: Adding value to the league

I define “adding value” as adding value to the competition as a whole, and by bringing in bigger crowds (and therefore money) to other clubs in the league.

City are in the fortunate position of being able to sell out Carrow Road for pretty much every game regardless of how we are doing in the league (as has been proven in the last couple of seasons), but not too many other Championship clubs can say the same thing.

Doncaster have a decent following but with all due respect it can’t really be compared to that of Leeds. The Leeds United “brand” also has a much bigger appeal that that of Rovers (despite their recent “troubles”), so for me Leeds win this round by a country mile. 1-0 Leeds.

Round Two: Who are City more likely to do better against?

It’s a tough one to answer this. In all likelihood regardless of who came up we’d lose away and probably win at home, so it’s all square. The better question is probably “who is more likely to finish above us?”, and you’d have to think we’d be more likely to finish above Doncaster than we would Leeds, so it’s Doncaster’s round. 1-1.

Round Three: Performance compared to expectations

No doubt about it, Leeds expected to go up this season – and then the 15 point penalty was confirmed. My own expectation following that was for Leeds to probably end up finishing mid-table and having to spend another year in League One – with their squad likely to be considerably weakened as a result.

If you asked a Doncaster fan what their expectation was at the start of the season and they would probably have said mid-table, so to finish third – and just two points off the automatic promotion places – was a fantastic achievement.

Both clubs probably performed better than expected all things considered, but for me it’s Doncaster’s round. 2-1 Rovers.

Round Four: The X-Factor

If you’re thinking I was a little hard on Leeds saying they Doncaster out-performed them compared to expectations then ask yourself this question: At the start of the season (or before the 15 point deduction was confirmed), where did you think Leeds would finish? Chances are you thought either in the play-offs or in one of the automatic promotion places.

That said, making up a 15 point deficit is hardly an easy thing to do. If you look at the Championship table City would have finished in the play-off places with 15 more points and the goal difference that went with it.

So for that reason alone this has to be Leed’s round, making our final score – Leeds 2 Doncaster 2.

B*gger. Something’s got to give and we need to have a winner, and I guess it comes down to a straight choice –

Would we rather the league was stronger in general, or would we rather give ourselves as good a chance as possible to finish higher in the league?

Not an easy one to answer is it? I like to think of myself as a football fan first and foremost, but I can’t usually resist a good underdog. I guess the simple answer for me is that I don’t really mind. It’ll be a hell of a story whoever wins, and I think Leeds will.

What do you think? You can have your say in the poll, or leave a comment…

Poll: Who would you rather get promoted from League One?

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Discussion

10 thoughts on “Would we rather Leeds United came up, or Doncaster Rovers? It’s a tricky one.

  1. Doncaster please – it will be a new ground to go to next season.

    Posted by Tim | May 23, 2008, 6:39 pm
  2. My heart is in my mouth but I’ll be there on Sunday singing my heart out for Leeds, Leeds, Leeds.

    Posted by GilesLeftFoot | May 23, 2008, 7:22 pm
  3. Leeds are bigger than any championship team. we will beat donny 3-1 and finish top 6 in championship next year. marching on together. 15 points who gives a f*ck were super leeds and were going up!!

    leeds, leeds, leeds

    Posted by Declan | May 23, 2008, 7:39 pm
  4. No brainer for me – Donny Rovers will do nicely. I can do without the ‘fabulous’ Leeds fans. Rovers will bring enough to keep our average gate up (so long as the league don’t make them travel on a Tuesday night!). I also prefer our chances of 6 points – call me a coward – if Glenn brings the right boys in…not loanees either!

    Posted by Chris Riches | May 23, 2008, 8:11 pm
  5. Come on Leeds! Can’t wait to visit Norwich next season if we win – decent team, nice ground – should perhaps be performing better…

    Posted by fingerbang | May 23, 2008, 8:38 pm
  6. “That said, making up a 15 point deficit is hardly an easy thing to do. If you look at the Championship table City would have finished in the play-off places with 15 more points and the goal difference that went with it.”

    ….and if Norwich had started with a fifteen point deficit they would have finished below Scunthorpe! This time next season we would be asking ourselves if we really thought that the Canaries would offer any kind of benefit to the Championship 😛

    See you next season.

    Marching On Together!

    Posted by Finster | May 24, 2008, 10:32 am
  7. Interesting and well constructed! Obviously as A Leeds Fan I want the whites back in the Championship. Donny Rovers have done really well to get where they have over the last few seasons, baring in mind they were a non league side not so long ago. I hope next season they get promotion, but only one team for me on Sunday Come on Leeds!!!

    MOT!!

    Posted by Brighouse White | May 24, 2008, 1:14 pm
  8. Donny have done fabulously well and were seriously impressive in dispatching Southend last week. But no team starting with any penalty has avoided relegation and here we are with Leeds in the play off final, despite the biggest points penalty ever. If you ignore the -15 points, we finished well above Donny, so for that reason alone, we should be the ones going up. Over the season, we were the better side – pure and simple.
    Besides, well as Donny have done – they have an average gate of 8,000 and couldn’t even sell their OTT allocation for Wembley, leaving 12,000 empty seats tomorrow. Leeds are a Premiership Club, and as they pass through the championship (whenever that happens) they are the club that will enhance the league and benefit every other club financially in the process – including Norwich.
    So, it just has to be Leeds tomorrow. Come on you Whites!

    Posted by White Heather | May 24, 2008, 6:14 pm
  9. “Leeds are a Premiership Club”

    Really, by divine right, I suppose?
    Relegations mean you’re not anymore. Didn’t you understand that? Or is this the same as you being Champions of Europe?

    Leeds fans. So up-themselves. You really want them back in your division?

    Posted by Kilburn Rover | May 24, 2008, 9:10 pm
  10. As a Donny fan, I{d just like to add in response to comments that Donny fans would be happy with a mid table finish…nonsense. We’re not the small team you think we are. We’ve had sme rough years but we have a small but strong fan base, a rich, dedicated and driven chairman with good financial backing from our directors. At the beginning of this season and last we looked at our ambition and squad and knew we’d compete. Last season we finished just outside the play offs and were dissapointed at that. This season when we looked at our squad, we had (on paper) a squad as strong as any other teams in the division. We expected promotion and got what we expected, albeit the hard way after bottling it on the last day of the proper season. Anyway, just thought I’d clear that up, look forward to our meetings next season.

    Posted by dave drfc | May 25, 2008, 9:42 pm

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