Usually the role of a journalist is to shed light where there is darkness and create clarity where uncertainty lingers. This is not one of those occasions.

This, after all, is a column about the Championship play-offs and I’d like to pose a few questions.

Perhaps the chaps who switch on the fixtures computer could advise we great unwashed why, with just a matter of days to go before the whole shebang gets under way, there was a flurry of emails and telephone calls between the four participants trying to work out exactly who is to play who and when.

It seems the union’s suggested programme did not take into account the fact Rotherham must hand over the keys to Clifton Lane to the local cricket club before the scheduled season end date. Professional league, my eye.

And how can a team that has finished 55 points clear of another and broken no financial protocols in the process, face the same fate as their beleaguered neighbour?

While you’re at it, where’s the sense in the team that finished ninth, just two points behind the one that came eighth, being forced to fight against the drop whilst the other is handed a shot at the Premiership Promised Land?

And why is there a division where there is no such thing as mid-table, where a club must either fight for promotion or against relegation? Can you imagine football’s Championship breaking off into two groups of eight playing off to go up and another to go down?

Course you can’t, the Football League have some ability to organise a celebration in an ale-producing facility.

And let’s take the Bees’ situation, docked 15 meaningless points for going into liquidation but two massively important ones for a bureaucratic oversight.

Surely failing to pay the tax man is more serious than making a registration cock-up. Apparently not.

And where’s the sense in having a play-off to decide which team goes into the Premiership when only two of them meet the ground entry criteria?

And where’s the sense in dragging two other, solvent, teams into a dogfight when two others have already shown themselves incapable of managing themselves at this level?

What a complete load of make-it-up-as-you-go-along nonsense this new structure has been. Particularly so when you consider it was rushed through at breakneck speed despite several clubs’ concerns that it should be deferred for a year while the economy stabilises and consumer confidence grows.

There is, though, one consolation. That, even with the RFU involved, next season can’t fail to be better thought out than this. Can it?


* Saturday, March 20: Bees v Moseley; Rotherham v Coventry
* Saturday, March 27: Coventry v Bees; Moseley v Rotherham
* Saturday, April 3: Rotherham v Bees; Coventry v Moseley
* Sunday, April 11: Bees v Rotherham
* Saturday, April 17: Rotherham v Moseley
* Sunday, April 18: Bees v Coventry
* Saturday, April 24: Moseley v Coventry
* Saturday, May 1: Moseley v Bees; Rotherham v Coventry