Why history is on Blackpool's side in play-off battle after finishing third in League One ahead of Sunderland, Lincoln City and Oxford United

History is on Blackpool’s side in their quest to win the League One play-offs.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 9:00 am
Updated Sunday, 16th May 2021, 12:40 pm

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The Seasiders beat Bristol Rovers on the final day last weekend to finish the campaign in third place, reaching 80 points for the first time in 14 years.

The last time Pool reached that points tally was in 2007, when Simon Grayson’s side finished third in League One before sealing promotion to the Championship via the play-offs.

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The play-offs were first introduced in 1986/87 and have been active in its current guise, with four sides battling it out for promotion, for 34 seasons.

During that time, the side that has finished in third place in League One has been promoted on 13 occasions.

The team that has finished in fourth, which this season is Sunderland, and sixth, which is Blackpool’s semi-final opponents Oxford United, have won promotion on eight occasions each.

The U’s snatched sixth place on the final day with a 4-0 thrashing of Burton Albion, leapfrogging Portsmouth who were beaten at home by Accrington Stanley.

Neil Critchley's side finished in third place in the League One table

The final position that has brought about the fewest number of promotions is fifth place, which is where Lincoln City finished.

The Imps have also lost all six play-off campaigns they’ve taken part in.

Pool, meanwhile, have won promotion on five of the eight times they’ve finished in the play-offs.

Oxford were beaten play-off finalists last season, losing 2-1 to Wycombe Wanderers.

Play-off winners

2019/20 - Wycombe Wanderers, 3rd (final placing decides on PPG after season was curtailed)

2018/19 - Charlton Athletic, 3rd

2017/18 - Rotherham United, 4th

2016/17 - Millwall, 6th

2015/16 - Barnsley, 6th

2014/15 - Preston North End, 3rd

2013/14 - Rotherham United, 4th

2012/13 - Yeovil Town, 4th

2011/12 - Huddersfield Town, 4th

2010/11 - Peterborough United, 4th

2009/10 - Millwall, 3rd

2008/09 - Scunthorpe United, 6th

2007/08 - Doncaster Rovers, 3rd

2006/07 - Blackpool, 3rd

2005/06 - Barnsley, 5th

2004/05 - Sheffield Wednesday, 5th

2003/04 - Brighton & Hove Albion, 4th

2002/03 - Cardiff City, 6th

2001/02 - Stoke City, 5th

2000/01 - Walsall, 4th

1999/00 - Gillingham, 3rd

1998/99 - Manchester City, 3rd

1997/98 - Grimsby Town, 3rd

1996/97 - Crewe Alexandra, 6th

1995/96 - Bradford City, 6th

1994/95 - Huddersfield Town, 5th

1993/94 - Burnley, 6th

1992/93 - West Bromwich Albion, 4th

1991/92 - Peterborough United, 6th

1990/91 - Tranmere Rovers, 5th

1989/90 - Notts County, 3rd

1988/89 - Port Vale, 3rd

1987/88 - Walsall, 3rd

1986/87 - Swindon Town, 3rd

3rd = 13

4th = 8

5th = 5

6th = 8

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