The Europa League. Hands up if you're bothered?
That's the question most Spurs fans ask themselves at the start of every season when we're not participating in the Champions League. Which happens to be every season since we last qualified for it. Make no mistake about it, the competition in its current format is simply an afterthought. It isn't quite the same one where Spurs made glorious history, under the floodlights in those near epic Glory Glory Nights.
Football has shifted so much since the 60s, 70s and 80s that these days competing for a 4th spot in the league is practically a trophy. An invisible one, but unfortunately one that we have become obsessed with thanks to the fame, riches and top end adventures that await the ones that qualify. The nearly teams get the Europa League.
I called it an afterthought, it's probably more so a cushion for any CL side that has the misfortune to get knocked out, as they fall straight into another cup run that can aid with finances and even silverware.
And this is why Spurs fans are not that bothered, or perhaps start out so until we the team drag themselves towards the latter stages.
all want a cup, we all want silverware. That one night out will outlast
several seasons of just finishing '4th'. I was surprised we got as far
as we did last time out. We rode our luck. Rotated. We seemed
preoccupied with the league. So will this season be any different? Can it be any different? Because priorities will sit elsewhere.
It might do.
Having spent £60M (or thereabouts) already this window, our depth is far more evident for the season ahead. I can see us progressing in this distraction - even though the league will retain its supremacy in terms of priority.
We've got a qualifying round to get through first.
club FC Dinamo Tbilisi that play at an impressive 53k capacity stadium.
We've played them before, back in the ill-fated 1974 UEFA Cup run,
drawing 1-1 then smashing them 5-1. We're away first leg once more,
which gives me confidence. A decent scoreline there and it sets up
another one of those nights under the floodlights at the Lane. You know the ones, the not so
glamorous nights, a touch subdued. This early in the season, it will still feel like pre-season.
Tbilisi themselves had
success in the UEFA Cup, back in 1981, winning it. Don't ask me to name any of their players.
the League Cup and the FA Cup, both providing disappointments last
season, it's important for us to do well and actually endeavour to look
like we want to win something. Both Spurs and AVB have form with this competition
(regardless of whatever name UEFA plant on it).
I'd love the FA Cup, but European nights are what you make of them. If
the team are up for it, the supporters will be up for it, and winning
silverware breeds confidence and belief but it also provides us another
chapter in our history. However, it can also stop us from writing another chapter in our history with other competitions. Specifically, the league. Not that I blame our run in this competition for lack of CL this season.
We made mistakes last season. Application in some of the cup games, lackadaisical. We've got to front more and endeavour to recapture that old cup Kings mantle we seemed to have misplaced.
'It might do' is best swapped with 'let's see how we get on playing a rotated side'.
However we approach it, it begins here.
Hope it ends with Lilywhite ribbons on the cup, in the final. I hope one of the cups ends with our Lilywhite ribbons on the cup. I'll take any cup.