FA Cup or 4th?
FA Cup = immediate silverware, club shop dvd, another chapter written into the history books
4th = CL
CL = more money, better players
More money, better players = possible title challenge
Title challenge = top 4 placement every season
Top 4 placement every season = CL every season
CL every season = even more money, even better players
Even more money, even better players = sustained title challenges
Sustained title challenges = potentially lots of silverware
Simplified, I know. Qualifying one season for the CL doesn't mean there's a guarantee you'll be in it the following. But that's a defeatist attitude. Anyways, to answer my own question:
A Cup final didn't quite work out for us, but the intensity of the Prem game at Eastland's felt like one. And tbh, as much as tangible silverware means the world to me (it goes down in history as history and the game is meant to be about glory, right?), in order to push on we need CL football. It's just the way the modern game is built. Otherwise all you're left with is the odd cup final win now and again, leaving you somewhat empty because you're missing out on the next level of play (read the quoted text above again).
We need it season in season out. Now that might not be possible if Villa, Everton and of course City (and go on then) Arsenal continue to have aspirations to crack the top 4 or stay there. And let's not forget the red-faced Anfield club. Hence the importance that as much as we all like to remind ourselves that we sat at the bottom with 2 points from 8 games and CL football was never the true target this season - failure would have been / could have been devastating. Morale would have been impacted and potential of key players looking elsewhere for their top tier Euro fix a possibility much like previous summers. We now have the players anchored and can look to sign new ones who in the past politely declined because of our league standing.
The monopoly is dead, for the moment. And the new dawn might comprise of 5-6 clubs fighting for 4th and 3rd meaning that CL entry is shared from one season to the next. That might have a detrimental effect on Chelsea and United and the top of the Prem might end up being wide wide open. Which, for the love of football, would be amazing. But with feet on the ground, it could still yet prove to be a hardship. And that's how we should approach it. Take nothing for granted.
I've heard a few people say it, 4th is the new FA Cup. I don't doubt our ability to actually get our hands on that old and beautiful trophy. I'm sure we'll have our day again at Wembley. One step at a time, and the club should simply look ahead and prepare themselves for the qualifier and then (fingers crossed) the group stages.
Where Harry needs to earn his money all over again is making sure we don't get carried away with our travels into the promised land and continue to concentrate on the Prem - because until we are actually good enough to win the CL (dream the impossible dream - I don't actually expect us to win it by the way, but it would be stupid to make it THE only objective next season) the league has to remain the priority.
But honestly, all this is just hypothetical musings, way to early and too serious to be thought about in any great detail at this point, at the end of a fine season. 2010 has been a blast. Our club likes to take us through the mire, punish us for daring to support them, taking us to the edge and back so finally achieving this means a lot. Considering how dismissive other fans and the media have been in the past, it's a significant milestone in our recent history and the EPL.
In the mean time, get sodding drunk, enjoy Sunday at Burnley when there is no pressure on the players at all and sing up, sing up, with those arms out-stretched and fingers waving to the tune of...that song we sing, the marching one. I'm sure you've heard it a few times.
We'll let Levy and Harry worry about the '5 year plan'. As long Spurs continue to play with flair and entertain the f*ck out of us, whilst pulling our hearts from our chest down to our toes, I will continue to love my life as a supporter of THFC.
To dare is to do do do.
p.s. I'm wetting myself in anticipation for MoTD and Lineker v Hansen/Lawro.