Championship Play Off Guide

What is it?

The Championship play-offs are a series of matches that determine who will take the final place in the Premier League for the next season.

Three teams are relegated from the Premier League each season and they are replaced by three teams from the Championship. Two places are taken by the team finishing first and second, and then the final place goes to the side winning the play-off final – which is contested between the team finishing third to sixth.

The semi-finals see the team finishing third play the team in sixth, and the third and fourth teams take on each other in the second semi-final – both semi-finals are played over two-legs, home and away but away goals do not count.

The two winners then meet in the final, which is played at Wembley – and is generally the last game of the English footballing season, and it is also the most valuable – that is because any team promoted to the Premier League is now guaranteed £100million, meaning the play-off final itself is worth more than any game on the planet.

Since being introduced in the Championship, play-offs are now entrenched through the football system in England – barring the Premier League, who only have a straight relegation.

What is the history?

The play-offs were introduced to England in 1987, but under a slightly different system. Back then it included the team finishing fourth from bottom of the top-flight and three teams from First Division – as it was then.

And in the first play-offs, top-flight side Charlton won and it was not until 1988 – under the same system that a side was promoted via the play-offs, and that was Middlesbrough who defeated Chelsea – which sent them down.

However, 12-months later the system was changed to what it still is to this day – that is that all four teams involved in the play-offs come from what is now known as the Championship, so it is a complete promotion only play-off.

The play-off finals have seen 22 different teams achieve promotion via this method. Some teams are multiple winners, indeed the most successful have been Crystal Palace who have won on four different occasions.

YearWinners (number of wins)Runners-up
1987Charlton Athletic (1)Leeds United
1988Middlesbrough (1)Chelsea
1989Crystal Palace (1)Blackburn Rovers
1990Swindon Town (1)1Sunderland1
1991Notts County (1)Brighton & Hove Albion
1992Blackburn Rovers (1)Leicester City
1993Swindon Town (2)Leicester City
1994Leicester City (1)Derby County
1995Bolton Wanderers (1)Reading
1996Leicester City (2)Crystal Palace
1997Crystal Palace (2)Sheffield United
1998Charlton Athletic (2)Sunderland
1999Watford (1)Bolton Wanderers
2000Ipswich Town (1)Barnsley
2001Bolton Wanderers (2)Preston North End
2002Birmingham City (1)Norwich City
2003Wolverhampton Wanderers (1)Sheffield United
2004Crystal Palace (3)West Ham United
2005West Ham United (1)Preston North End
2006Watford (2)Leeds United
2007Derby County (1)West Bromwich Albion
2008Hull City (1)Bristol City
2009Burnley (1)Sheffield United
2010Blackpool (1)Cardiff City
2011Swansea City (1)Reading
2012West Ham United (2)Blackpool
2013Crystal Palace (4)Watford
2014Queens Park Rangers (1)Derby County
2015Norwich City (1)Middlesbrough
2016Hull City (2)Sheffield Wednesday
2017Huddersfield Town (1)Reading
2018Fulham (1)Aston Villa

When is the Championship Play-off final?

In 2019, the Championship play-off final is the last of the three play-off finals, following on from the League Two and League One finals. During years of major finals, sometimes the final is moved to allow the players to leave earlier.

This year the play-off final is due to kick-off at 3pm BST on Monday May 27th.

Who will be in the Play-off final?

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Semi-final teams will be finalised this week..

Championship play-off final trends

Many people are of the belief that the team in form, often the late comer who finishes sixth, are the team to fear and indeed the third placed team miss out more often than not – but this is actually something of a myth.

It is in fact best to finish third, as the winner of the Championship play-off has been the third placed team on 36% of the times, the worst is actually sixth – as team finishing in that spot are the least successful at only 17%.

PositionWinsWin percentage
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About the author:

James OddsMonkey

James OddsMonkey

James' background in IT support and matched betting knowledge is how he's ended up at OddsMonkey updating offer, answering tickets and generally being super helpful.

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