days in europa
As Spurs battle to end the season in fifth, in one of
his match reactions, Adam posed the question of
whether this is a good prize for finishing just outside the Champions League places.
What do you think of winning the opportunity to play amongst Europe's fourth or fifth best ??
So, the battle for fifth place rages, with Spurs having the edge over Liverpool having beaten them at Anfield.
But do we want fifth and a place in a competition that might feature half a season's football if you go all the way ?
Yes, 19 games could be involved to win this trophy and not only that, but you beat all the teams in this competition and then get to play the ones who are not good enough to go all the way in the Champions League in the latter stages.
It is an ill-conceived idea to produce money and it does not do that all that well, with half-empty grounds full of fans whose glasses are half-full. TV revenue does not match that of the Champions League while ticket prices do.
There is not much to commend this competition to any of the participating football associations, other than a chance to travel the continent to play teams from Wales, Azerbaijan and the Faroe Islands.
UEFA would better serve the footballing family by re-instating the UEFA Cup and the Cup-Winners Cup in their old formats, as at least they provided some excitement and a decent level of opposition.
With the Europa League, it promises a lot but fails to deliver ... which might yet happen with our own team in their last game against Birmingham City.
Spurs only have to match Liverpool's result on Sunday to earn another year in European football. And that will be a major achievement in itself ... even though it might not be the Champions League.
Harry Redknapp was right. Spurs have not been regulars at Europe's top table and to expect to qualify again this season was hopeful. A season trying to blend playing against top opposition on Tuesday/Wednesday combined with games at the weekend was a new experience for the team.
And let's face it, until the last few years, we had hardly been regulars in any form of the competitions to play European sides, so we shouldn't be turning our noses up at the Europa League.
If Spurs should qualify for it, then why not use it as a stepping stone. Both to the Champions League and for our younger players to get experience. We have a big squad with many of the fringe players out on loan getting first team experience with lower league clubs. So, why not keep them under the watchful eye of our own coaches and stick them into this competition. As well as blooding them in the first team, it would give them an opportunity to play against teams with different styles and get used to playing in different atmospheres. And it would give our established first team players a chance to concentrate on the league.
Secondly, it would allow the fans the chance to see the up and coming players show what they can do in a Spurs shirt ... instead of one of Millwall or Yeovil Town. Properly priced Europa League matches could see the Lane sold out and reproduce that special European Glory Glory night atmosphere that we have seen this season for the Champions League games. And it would give the club a chance to expand their fan base, by allowing those who might not be able to get along to games that often to see a match if some of our more discerning supporters wish to give those games a miss.
I think there are benefits to be had by qualifying for the Europa League and if Harry does want to play some of the first team squad in matches, then it will satisfy their craving to pit their wits against teams from other countries.
It may be Thursday night on Channel Five, but that is no reason to snub the opportunity to raise Tottenham's profile across Europe and to raise our UEFA quotient in the process.
For all the Spurs fans moaning about not getting Champions League football next season, just look at what was happening in one corner of the Park Lane.
Relegation could spell the end for the Midlands club, as they won the League Cup and probably never thought they would go down. Financially, they might be in a perilous position and they need to sort that out, which will probably mean losing all their better players and in the process losing their best bet of getting back into the Premier League.
While the Europa League might not be the greatest competition to be in, it is a darn sight better than the Championship.
Now we are in the Europa League and the impact has sunk in, are we happy to take a full part in the competition or do we want to get out of it as quick as possible ?
While not as financially lucrative as the Champions League, it will generate cash for the club and if they institute a sensible pricing policy for tickets, then there could be sell-out crowds and a reasonable match-day income from the competition. Add-ons like merchandising and programmes will boost revenue a bit as well.
Spurs are one of the clubs in the Top 20 Richest in the World and that has been without playing in Europe on a regular basis. While the Board look for a new ground, the need to bring in money through the gates is assisted by having regular income from European matches and the TV rights that go with them.
The kudos of doing well in the Europa League will help make Spurs a name that is known across Europe. Having had the one season in the Champions League, the impact made was immense and sustained presence, just as much as doing well in European football will help build a reputation for the club, who, for many years, were in the European wilderness.
And any sort of European involvement will be an attraction to not only buy new players, but to try and keep the ones we already have.
A shrewd selection policy should see the club do well on the domestic and European fronts this coming season.
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