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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:53 UK

Sheffield Wednesday's Strafford attacks Palace regimes

Championship final day - Sheff Wed v Crystal Palace
Venue: Hillsborough Date: 2 May
Coverage: Live video on BBC 1 and BBC Sport website (1240-1510 BST - kick-off 1300), commentary on 5 live sports extra (coverage starts 1245), updates on BBC Radio 5 live, text commentary on BBC Sport website

Neil Danns of Crystal Palace tackles Etienne Esajas of Sheffield Wednesday
Palace and Wednesday drew 0-0 at Selhurst Park earlier in the season

Sheffield Wednesday chairman Lee Strafford says Crystal Palace should have been relegated after entering administration for a second time.

Strafford's side face a relegation fight against Palace at Hillsborough on Sunday knowing that only a win will keep the Owls in the Championship.

"I don't have sympathy for anyone at Palace other than the fans," Strafford told the Yorkshire Post.

"There should be a bigger punishment and I think that should be relegation."

The Eagles were docked 10 points earlier this season as a result of going into administration from which they have still to emerge and also lost manager Neil Warnock to Queens Park Rangers in March.

If you mis-manage a football club to the extent where you end up in massive debt, administration should not be an escape route

Lee Strafford

The consequences of relegation for Palace, who are still hopeful of being taken over, could be severe, with joint-administrator Brendan Guilfoyle confirming last month that the club is not funded beyond this season.

Strafford continued: "If you mis-manage a football club to the extent where you end up in massive debt, administration should not be an escape route."

The Owls have harboured debts of around £25m for over a decade, and Strafford said some clubs could see administration as an easier option.

"We have suffered longer and harder than most clubs because we did not go down the administration route at a time when it may have been easier to do so," he said.

"You have to feel sorry for the fans. They don't deserve what has happened there. Administration twice is inexcusable."

Palace had the chance to confirm their league survival on Monday, but failed to beat West Brom, instead drawing 1-1, meaning they must now rely on getting a result at Hillsborough.

PAUL FLETCHER'S BLOG
Paul Fletcher

"Last night was Palace's big chance," Strafford told Sky Sports News. "Sunday is our chance to control our destiny."

"It's a one-off game, effectively it's just like the play-off final four years ago."

However Palace boss Paul Hart is also confident his side can beat the drop.

""We just need another performance of that calibre," he said.

"We don't have to win - our away form is excellent so it's a game to look forward to," he said.

Despite average attendances at Hillsborough of 22,000 this season - the sixth highest in the division - Wednesday have won only eight games at home, and been beaten nine times there.

Paul Hart
Hart has won three of his 13 matches as Palace boss

In addition, they come up against a Palace side who have lost just five times away from home during this campaign, a record bettered only by promoted duo Newcastle and West Brom.

And Strafford was considered on the potential impact of relegation.

"It's not like last time, when we went into a complete free-fall and had no assets," he said. "But it would be a massive opportunity missed.

"The feeling is that next season's Championship will be the biggest opportunity in years, given the quality of the clubs coming down and the financial restructuring."



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see also
Crystal Palace 1-1 West Brom
26 Apr 10 |  Championship
Palace takeover moves step closer
30 Mar 10 |  Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace in administration
27 Jan 10 |  Crystal Palace


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