Football League One Play-offs
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Football League One Play-offs

The English Football League One play-offs are a series of play-off matches, contested by the teams finishing from 3rd to 6th in the EFL League One table to determine the third spot for promotion to the second tier of English football, the Championship.

The latest team to win the League One play-offs were Wycombe Wanderers.

The record attendance for a League One play-off Final at Wembley was the 1999 final, when Manchester City played Gillingham and the attendance stood at 76,935.

Name changes

Name changes
1987-1992 Football League Third Division play-offs
1993-2004 Football League Second Division play-offs
2005-2016 Football League One play-offs
2016-present English Football League One play-offs


The current system of the League One play-offs uses two semi-finals played over two legs, with 6th playing 3rd and 5th playing 4th, with the return fixtures following. The winner of each semi-final (based on the aggregate score of the first and second legs) goes forward into the play-off final. For the two-legged semi-finals, there is no away goals advantage such as those in the knock-out rounds of European competition. The Final is played at Wembley, although from 2001 to 2006, it was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff while Wembley was being rebuilt.

Aside from the branding changes which affected English football in 1992 and 2004, the League One play-offs have also changed in format. The last alteration occurred in 1995, when the restructuring of the league meant 2nd to 5th contested the play-offs.

When they started in 1987, the play-offs originally featured a second-tier team and three third-tier clubs. This format was continued for 1988, but discontinued afterwards. The first winners of the playoffs at this level were Swindon Town, who were promoted to the Second Division in 1987 at the expense of Gillingham, who had already condemned Sunderland to the Third Division for the first time in their history.

A year later, Walsall were promoted, defeating Sheffield United, who were relegated as a result.

The final was originally held over two legs, but both the 1987 and 1988 finals went to a third match at Selhurst Park and Fellows Park respectively. In 1989, the playoffs were two-legged affairs featuring the third, fourth, fifth and sixth place teams, with Port Vale being the successful side on this occasion.

From 1990, the final has been a single-match affair, being held at Wembley, or the Millennium Stadium between 2001 and 2006, apart from the 2011 final, which was moved to Old Trafford as Wembley was in use for the Champions League Final. The first winners of the one-match final were Notts County, who went on to win the Second Division playoff final a year later.

The first team to win promotion from the third tier via the playoffs on more than one occasion were Walsall, who won promotion in 1988 and again in 2001 via this route. Peterborough United (1992 and 2011), Huddersfield Town (1995 and 2012) and Millwall (2010 and 2017) have since matched this.

Past winners

Year Winners Finalists Semi-finalists
1987 Swindon Town Gillingham Sunderland, Wigan Athletic
1988 Walsall Bristol City Sheffield United, Notts County
1989 Port Vale Bristol Rovers Fulham, Preston North End
1990 Notts County Tranmere Rovers Bury, Bolton Wanderers
1991 Tranmere Rovers Bolton Wanderers Brentford, Bury
1992 Peterborough United Stockport County Huddersfield Town, Stoke City
1993 West Bromwich Albion Port Vale Swansea City, Stockport County
1994 Burnley Stockport County Plymouth Argyle, York City
1995 Huddersfield Town Bristol Rovers Brentford, Crewe Alexandra
1996 Bradford City Notts County Blackpool, Crewe Alexandra
1997 Crewe Alexandra Brentford Luton Town, Bristol City
1998 Grimsby Town Northampton Town Bristol Rovers, Fulham
1999 Manchester City Gillingham Preston North End, Wigan Athletic
2000 Gillingham Wigan Athletic Millwall, Stoke City
2001 Walsall Reading Stoke City, Wigan Athletic
2002 Stoke City Brentford Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town
2003 Cardiff City Queens Park Rangers Bristol City, Oldham Athletic
2004 Brighton & Hove Albion Bristol City Swindon Town, Hartlepool United
2005 Sheffield Wednesday Hartlepool United Tranmere Rovers, Brentford
2006 Barnsley Swansea City Brentford, Huddersfield Town
2007 Blackpool Yeovil Town Nottingham Forest, Oldham Athletic
2008 Doncaster Rovers Leeds United Carlisle United, Southend United
2009 Scunthorpe United Millwall Milton Keynes Dons, Leeds United
2010 Millwall Swindon Town Charlton Athletic, Huddersfield Town
2011 Peterborough United Huddersfield Town Milton Keynes Dons, Bournemouth
2012 Huddersfield Town Sheffield United Milton Keynes Dons, Stevenage
2013 Yeovil Town Brentford Sheffield United, Swindon Town
2014 Rotherham United Leyton Orient Preston North End, Peterborough United
2015 Preston North End Swindon Town Sheffield United, Chesterfield
2016 Barnsley Millwall Walsall, Bradford City
2017 Millwall Bradford City Fleetwood Town, Scunthorpe United
2018 Rotherham United Shrewsbury Town Charlton Athletic, Scunthorpe United
2019 Charlton Athletic Sunderland Doncaster Rovers, Portsmouth
2020 Wycombe Wanderers Oxford United Portsmouth, Fleetwood Town


Note: These are only for play-offs at League One level, for overall records in the Football League play-offs see here.


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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