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Saturday, May 01, 2010

The argument for League Two

In the third and final statement, Nobes makes the case as to why he believes League Two is the best division.

It may be the lowest down the ladder, but League Two is, without a doubt, the best division in the Football League.

It might not have the high quality football, and big name players and managers that the other leagues have. However, is that what really makes a great league?

I don't think so, and let me tell you why I think League Two is not only the best league - it's the league of dreams.

League Two is the start of dreams. Take Hull City for example. I remember watching my team play a league game at the KC Stadium in 2003. Just five years later - it was Chelsea playing a league game there.

Hull were at their lowest ebb, at rock bottom, almost extinct, at the start of the new Millennium in League Two. They managed to avoid dropping out of it - which could have finished the club off.

From there, they built up to realise their top flight ambition. And they're not the only ones - look at Swansea, they could do the same thing.

In fact, this season's Premier League has featured the likes of Wolves, Fulham, Burnley, and Wigan - all in League Two in the last 20 years or so.

It is the division where teams who have fallen on hard times can begin their climb back up the pyramid.

Not only is it the start of dreams though - League Two is also the realisation of dreams. Never will you see more grown men cry than when their team earns promotion to League Two.

It is the gateway to the Football League - to finally fulfilling their dreams of competing in League Two, the League Cup, and automatic entry into the FA Cup First Round.

I know what that feeling is like - winning promotion to the Football League, gaining membership of an exclusive club of 92. The elevation in status, shedding your Non League tag.

The boost it can give to a town or a local area is huge. It's difficult to downplay just how amazing promotion to League Two is to teams.

Ask fans of Stevenage this summer - or fans of Macclesfield or Kidderminster - teams who were denied promotion to the Football League and League Two. When they eventually did get there - it meant the world.

For some too - the likes of Wycombe and Yeovil - finally gaining entry into League Two allowed them to progress further up the ladder. Make no mistake though - that first promotion was the most important.

Staying in League Two can also feel like a dream. Ask fans of Burnley - League Champions in 1960 - how relieved they felt 27 years later when they stayed in League Two on the final day.

Staying up is always a cause for celebration - but even more so when it means preserving your Football League status.

League Two is the division of holding onto dreams. I has unique status in having four teams who win promotion - and a play-off system that goes down to 7th.

It means the season goes on longer for teams. Teams who know that if they put a late run together, they still have a shout at achieving promotion.

If they can just slip into 7th - just make that final play-off place - they can still make Wembley, still win promotion. That's why, more than other division, every side - if they put a run together - can win promotion.

The extra promotion place means that the promotion dream is not only open to more teams - they are dreams that are kept alive for longer during the season.

That adds to the excitement and drama of every League Two season, it really is open to the very final fixture. And what dream final fixtures the computer often throws up.

Think of 1997 - Brighton and Hereford fighting it out to avoid relegation on the final day - against one another. The same with Barnet and Torquay in 2001. The same with Boston and Wrexham in 2007.

The quirks of the fixture computer seem to be more in evidence in League Two than any other - so much so you'd almost think you were dreaming.

League Two is also the division of dream moments. What other division can claim that a dog helped save a club from relegation?

Relegation, let's not forget, to Non League - which means so much. Survival in the Football League - which is so important to so many clubs.

But yes, the actions of a dog biting a players leg once helped save Torquay United from relegation from League Two. Now that's animal magic.

And it is the division of the most dream moment of all - Jimmy Glass.

A goalkeeper who scored the winning goal - in injury time - to save Carlisle from relegation. A goalkeeper who saved the club from going out of the League - and business.

A goalkeeper who was only on loan - playing his third game for the club. A goalkeeper who was only an emergency loan - the first ever emergency loan in British football.

Forget England, no league in the world has such a dream set of circumstances leading up to the dream moment in Football League history. And it's League Two history.

So there we have it.
No other division has the same number of promotion places. No other division has the same importance of promotion to, or staying in.

This is the beauty of League Two. The division where dreams are made, dreams are realised, dreams are saved.

Where dreams can be preserved and held onto for longer, where dream moments are the order of the day, where even the fixture computer is dreaming.

League Two really is the best division, and no, you're not dreaming.

You can vote for which you think is the best division in the Football League in the poll on the right hand side.

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