May 25 2013 Latest news:
By London24’s Spurs blogger Daniel Grigg
Monday, May 21, 2012
Tottenham fan Daniel Grigg considers the implications of Saturday’s Champions League final
Tottenham went into the season fully aware that anything short of Champions League qualification would be a failure.
Spurs finished fourth but were deprived of the prize on Saturday night – and, sadly, that means that the campaign has been utterly unsuccessful.
It is also a sad fact that, if you fly high in modern football and you don’t have the money to fully back it up, you’re eventually going to lose most of your biggest stars to ambition or a bigger pay day.
It’s happened enough times to enough clubs in enough leagues, including us – like Dimitar Berbatov for example, who left for Manchester United for £30million
By missing out on Champions League football, Tottenham have missed out on around that same £30m figure - assuming they could have navigated the qualifying stages.
The heartbreaking result of Saturday’s Champions League final has also made this summer’s transfer business all the more difficult for Daniel Levy, who has neither the cash nor the exciting future prospects to wave in the faces of prospective talents.
Would Jan Vertonghen, for example, really leave a team like Ajax – who have already qualified for next season’s Champions League - to join a club who have just missed out?
The dream centre-back pairing of Younes Kaboul’s physique, combined with Vertonghen’s technical ability, may remain just that - a dream.
Talks with the Belgian defender are thought to be going on this week – and he was believed to be present at Spurs’ final game against Fulham at White Hart Lane.
But, with the likes of AC Milan and Arsenal also sniffing around, how likely is it that he will now make Tottenham his permanent home?
Giuseppe Rossi - another of Tottenham’s long-term transfer targets - could also have been available for a cut-price £10m after Villarreal’s relegation from La Liga.
But, given that he needs a big stage to reclaim his position within the Italian national team following a horrible injury, why would he now risk joining a club like Spurs, who pay relatively low wages and may be about to sell one or two of their better players?
Without a billionaire owner, teams like Spurs and, to a lesser extent, Arsenal will always find themselves banging their heads against the glass ceiling in the Premier League.
The difference is that Arsene Wenger, unlike Harry Redknapp, can always motivate his team and, miraculously, get a performance when it really matters.
As gut-wrenching as it is to say, the Gunners have the stadium, they have the profile, they still have the higher league position - and they have Champions League football for the 15th season in a row.
On the other hand, Tottenham fans face a summer of pessimism rather than optimism. Like Icarus, the higher and closer you fly to glory, the greater your chances of losing those precious wings and crashing back down to earth with a heavy thud.
The temptation is growing for players like Gareth Bale and Luka Modric to join the so-called ‘winning sides’ now. You know, the ones that pay twice the wages (or more) and are filled with other star names who can make a difference and cover for them on their off days.
All players have those off days, but Spurs had too many of them in the second half of the season.
While all this sticks in the throat of the modern football fan - especially when it’s the same players who themselves have underperformed and who suddenly feel the clubs aren’t matching their own ambitions - this is unfortunately the way that things are.
The supporters live with the heartaches, the pain and the consequences of failure while the managers get huge compensation payments for being sacked, and the players get the lucrative transfers to other clubs.
Cynical, I know. Bitter too – and understandably so, given that Spurs finished above Chelsea for the first time in 16 years, only to be surpassed again at the death.
The implications of the Blues’ triumph for Tottenham future - not just next season but down the line - really can leave you questioning a few things about modern football, issues that we might have just ignored had they lost.
Why was it that missing out on the Champions League this time hurt so much more than losing the FA Cup semi-final, as awful as both were?
Because these days Champions League football is the arena where a club builds and, more importantly, secures its future. This is an era where domestic cups are just short- term successes which have little real lasting effect other than nostalgia.
It will take very strong management next season to keep Tottenham up where we’ve been for most of the last one - and particularly to motivate the remaining players again.
At 65 years old, Redknapp faces the toughest test of his managerial career, having missed out on the England job that we all knew he wanted, and then the chance to prove that his Champions League success wasn’t just a one-off.
He will have to motivate himself again before he worries about the players - and he will have to prove himself again to a large majority of Spurs fans (including me) who feel that he completely dropped the ball during the second half of the season and cost us badly.
For many fans, Redknapp’s position is already untenable. Personally, I’ve said for months now that I would fully support Levy were he to make a clean break from Harry now and start afresh with someone new.
Brendan Rodgers would be my preferred choice, although his decision to turn down the interview with Liverpool leaves me now wondering whether he would actually quit Swansea for the lure of the Tottenham job anyway.