Forget The Magic Of The FA Cup, I'd Rather Spurs Came Third

Harry and his Spurs team are through to a semi-final with Chelsea but if they want to keep their best players and attract high-quality new ones, it's more important they get a Champion's League place
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Harry and his Spurs team are through to a semi-final with Chelsea but if they want to keep their best players and attract high-quality new ones, it's more important they get a Champion's League place

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After yesterday’s win against Bolton,  Spurs are now bookies favourites to win the FA Cup. Anyone that has supported them for more than 9 months will know what a glorious and faintly disorientating space this is.  They will also only be too aware of taking said lofty position with a heart-stopping grab of salt; memories of semi-final defeats against Portsmouth, Arsenal and Everton still being raw.With this in mind and only a couple of League Cups in 20 years to cheer, it goes without saying that this FA Cup progress is extremely welcomed.  The thought of winning an FA Cup is very exciting.  Despite this, however,  it’s 100% more important for them to qualify for the Champion’s League than win the FA Cup.

At the moment Spurs have a first team that, on paper, can match most of Europe (other than the super-heavyweights).  Would we have this team if we hadn't qualified for the Champion’s League last season?  Not a chance.    That campaign, and especially the victories against the Milans that pulled the club out of its also-ran rigor mortis, put us and our players on the map.  It also bought another season with Modric.  It proved that we are a better team than the one he joined, and gave us a chance to show him, Bale and the rest of Europe’s top footballers that we are worthy of our place at the top table on a regular basis, even if this year we had to slum it in the Europa.

Spurs are a club in development and it is now reaching another crucial phase.  Ever since ENIC came in it’s been a case of two steps forward, the odd shuffle sideways and some huge jumps (hello Ramos) back.  And now the next question is; can they turn from Champion’s League challengers into Championship challengers?  A feeling endures that this season we have been the fortunate recipients of  transitional seasons from the ‘Big’ Four (or Five), but that is the card that we have been dealt and we need to take that good fortune and run with it all the way to the final flop.  Without Champion’s League football, however, this is as far as we will come.  Let’s be honest, we’ve got a pretty good chance of losing Modric, Bale et al anyway.  But if he have Champion’s League football Spurs have got at least a fighting chance of holding onto them; they’ve got something above or at least on par with those clubs that can blast the clubs admirable (but restrictive) salary policies out the window.

It will also enable us to realistically join the scramble for the game’s top players to supplement (or perhaps replace) our own; recent talk about signing Eden Hazard has been good for the ego, though probably a little far-fetched considering he  is, give or take a Neymar, the most sought after young player in world football.   The fact the idea is even being entertained-if primarily in the hallways of The Sun-is indicative of our position in the league and the fact that we are regarded as quote/unquote a top team.

The same applies to our search for a manager.  Harry is quite obviously going to appointed England boss sometime between now and July.  Spurs would be a pretty plum job for the young British managers currently knocking on the door or the top half of the Premiership, and the appointment of a Moyes, Rogers or a Lambert would seem to appropriately reflect Spurs’ position as a progressive football club.  But if you chuck in a Champion’s League place, you suddenly open yourself up to a whole level, and talk about Klinsmanns and Hiddinks doesn’t seem so misplaced.

Football is about history, we all know that.  FA Cup winners medals are history, but they can also be lost very quickly.  Ask Portsmouth fans. Spurs currently have an opportunity to take a very good team and perhaps add to it, perhaps add a manager that can deliver something truly historical. It will not happen without Champion’s League, it could happen without the FA Cup

Saying that, would it be greedy to have both?

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