Only Spurs can witness their season end only to have it extended to wait to see if fourth spot translates to Champions League football. No lasagne this time, just Martin Fulop. Would have preferred the lasagne in goal to be honest, stronger backbone.
Mission accomplished then with a top four finish but then not quite job done and not quite what we had planned when you go back to the hedonistic days that came before the month of February. At one point we flirted with a title push. It's been some season. In the end it feels like we've let ourselves down but only because of those standards set early doors. We should have achieved so much more than what we've been left with. What we've been left with ain't too shabby but in context, it's bitter sweet and hard to swallow. What we have is an agonising wait for another football match to play out before we look to book tickets for the continent.
At the very start of the season I'm not sure many believed a top four place was going to be easy to achieve. Remember the back end of last season? Most wanted Harry gone after our league form slumped. Thanks mainly to other teams faltering and us pelting it, you can now nod approvingly to the suggestion that we should have done better because of the position we found ourselves in. But then when you strip away all the hype and you admit to the defiances of the squad, the mismanagement of loaned players along with the variety of outside interference that hogged the headlines from riots to heart operations to court cases to the England job...we've done as good as a team managed by Harry Redknapp can do. He found himself in a position he's never been in before and he fluffed it. A little more bravery and astuteness here or there from the gaffer might have seen us capture the odd lucky point to secure that 3rd spot even with the blip playing out the way it did. The crux is, can he learn from his mistakes at such a grand stubborn age?
No matter our ambitions before the start of the season, we've under achieved when you take into account how much the top tier of the Prem has opened up and invited us in to attack it. We've played some fantastic stuff but we have proved to be a side that only truly works when everyone is available and fit to play. Redknapp struggled too often with the pressures of rotation and tweaking strategy and catering for growth (Bale and the left flank and roaming the perfect example of losing control). Other clubs might complain they had their fair share of injuries and lack of depth issues with squad. Fact is, Harry and the players lacked the guile at vital moments that have proved to be costly. We had a 13 point lead at one point, that's Harry's doing. I'm not ignoring that. But it's also his doing that we lost that lead. I'm also not going to ignore the fact that a few seasons back we finished mid-table below West Ham United. We now compete season in and season out but that cutting edge is still required to make it all a little less nervy. I'm sure we wouldn't be complaining too much about a 4th place finish had Barca had beaten Chelsea in the semi-final. If WBA had a better keeper between the sticks would you have forgiven Harry for all the fluffs? Probably not, right? Because if we had finished in 3rd one point ahead it still doesn't change the fact that we slumped post-Feb. Either way, it's been harder than it should have been. We also lost ownership of a hashtag. The shame.
Still, little old Spurs with their 36k stadium and wage cap are once more sitting in one of the CL places (caveat: German club that needs to do us a favour). Next season we have to be prepared to build on this season's platform keeping in mind that one or two clubs that might believe themselves to have under achieved might come back with less of a brittle spine for the 2013 season. But even if they improve, if we do so to, they'll be worried as much about us as we would be about them.
We need to fix up in key areas during the summer months. Early business and not last minute. Redknapp also has to drop the 'it's as good as we've ever had it' defeatism. Although that's unlikely. He thinks and lives in the short term. Would be nice for him to tell us it's disappointing we've not finished higher and that next season we'll aim to do so. Not likely. But that's the crux of the problem I have with him and his lack of consistency with us. Nobody cares that we sat in mid-table below West Ham four or so seasons back. It's the here and now that matters, the present day. The past is the past and we need to be led into the future with relentless hunger to better ourselves. Aim high. Always aim high.
To do so, little Spurs have to play big. Since our last top four finish we've spent £16M compared to Arsenal (£64.7M), United (£80.3M), Liverpool (£132.9M), Chelsea (£160.4M) and City (£212.7M). Impressive yeah? But we need to do more than just survive in their company. We need to be able to bully them. Get on it Levy.
I'm repeating myself now. Lucky I completed my end of season review ('The regression of Harry Redknapp's Tottenham') already. Everything I've got to say is in there.
I can now look forward to all the ITK nonsense that is about to explode in our faces. I didn't give them much stick last couple of windows so I might need to allow the therapy to consume me as the alternative is to follow England in the Euro's and that is one ugly alternative.
The end of season finale (ep 43) of The Fighting Cock podcast will be recorded on Wed, out Friday.