Champions League greater than silverware
What I love most about Tottenham Hotspur is that since the 1950s we've always managed to win silverware in every decade that has followed. Spurs have never truly spoilt their fan-base by creating a dynasty that lasts an entire decade, instead preferring to give us the occasional iconic cup final.
Football, for me, has always been about a sense of belonging. Tottenham have strong traditions with the style they have always endeavoured to play along with a particular style of player wearing our shirt.
Every club has a cycle of success, some more than others. Liverpool owned the 70s and 80s with Villa, Forest and Everton making cameos back in the days when anyone could challenge for the title before the Premier League was birthed and new empires were built. Now only the super rich stand any chance of contending and the rest only look to survive.
Spurs achieved greatness through a series of firsts (first British club to win a European trophy, to complete the league and cup double that century) and these moments have defined the club. Sure, it's left us in perpetual state of aspiration to reclaim those glories. By not having prolonged success we have remained grounded in expectancy and appreciative of when those days out at Wembley come around.
The problem is, they don't come around often enough. No longer are we cup kings, which was synonymousness with us during the 1980s. Football keeps evolving but where do we stand these-days? What do we truly aspire for?
Champions League is what everyone must aspire for. Sadly.
That's not to dismiss how glorious any given piece of silverware is. Think about how epic Ricky Villa's goal against Manchester City in the 1981 FA Cup final was and how it's still remembered now. That is the essence of football, a single moment that you never forget. A moment that sticks in time forever. Becomes folklore, legend. It's what we live for.
What the Champions League has done is make it impossible for most to contend for the title and for the domestic cups. Aside from those qualifying consistently for it.
We've never been a title challenging side, but that is more probable these days than it has ever been but only if we claim CL football and look how tricky that has become sense our solitary season competing in it.
That one single season has thoroughly corrupted our expectations. I can no longer dismiss the harsh reality that if you want to truly challenge, it has to be the priority. The alternative? A cup every ten years or so.
Hand on heart, which of the two do you desire more?
Because at the moment I can't shake the feeling that we are under achieving. That and the fact that Bill Nicholson would want us to aim for the very top and any form of failure will have an echo of glory in it, one that will come with a place in the CL and the money to sustain it.
Champions League is greater than silverware only as a starting point. Then when the continuity is set there's more chance of contending with those around you. How else can you possibly compete outside of the odd season they experience transition if they have CL qualification and you don't?
However, as our neighbours have proven nothing is guaranteed. The only sure thing these days is welcoming a billionaire playboy who won't care too much about the accountancy (aside from playing within the boundaries of Financial Fair Play) and will want to win trophies to appease his ego. It's the era where patience is not a virtue and winning at any cost is the only way to win.