The English Football League (EFL) playoffs are interesting to watch. The teams play with the knowledge that promotion to the English Premier League is at stake. In recent times, there have been some upsets that the footballing world could not believe. In this post, we look at some recent playoff upsets that some people cannot let go of.
1. Derby County – 2018/19
Derby County FC under Frank Lampard as the head coach looked primed for promotion during the entire 2018/19 season. While this was Lampard’s first senior managerial job, he was doing impressively. His team’s style of play and his focus on young talent won him love among the fans.
It would, however, be one of his former teammates, John Terry’s team, which would end their bid for promotion. In the 2018/2019 playoff final at Wembley, Aston Villa, under Dean Smith and Terry as a coach, beat Derby 2 – 1 to gain promotion to the EPL as the third team. That playoff defeat for Derby serves as one of the greatest EFL playoff upsets in recent times.
2. Aston Villa – 2017/18
While Aston may have had the final say in the 2018/ 2019 playoff final, a year earlier, that was not the case. After an impressive season under Steve Bruce as manager and John Terry as captain, the team looked set for promotion.
Their dreams would, however, come crashing after a 1 – 0 defeat by bitter rivals Fulham at Wembley. A 23rd-minute goal by Tom Cairney ensured that Fulham’s impressive run that season ended with promotion to the Premier League.
The Playoff defeat resulted in the sacking of Steve Bruce as manager and the appointment of Dean Smith. Additionally, a squad overhaul followed. These drastic measures eventually paid off with Aston Villa gaining promotion the following season after defeating Derby in the Playoff final.