My aim is EARL


Europa League - Spurs News

STRONGEST team in the Premier League, kids in the Europa.

I have seen and heard a lot of people say we should keep doing what we’re doing, at least until we get to the latter stages of Europe’s secondary competition, ‘THEN we can start taking it seriously.’

I beg to differ.

How can I put this simply… the further into the Premier League season we go, the more important every game becomes.

If the Europa League is insignificant now, it’s going to be even less important once the advent calendars are finished and those who think the Andros Townsends should make way for the Gareth Bales once the new calendars are out need to think again.

When we are in with such a good shot of returning to the rarefied air of the Champions League, we cannot let anything, ANYTHING, distract us from our goal.

Please allow me to use literature to illustrate my point… Spurs are Frodo Baggins, Champions League football = chucking the ring into the fires of Mount Doom and the Europa League, FA Cup and Carling Cup are the meddlesome Gollom.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for a bursting trophy cabinet, I love open-top buses as much as the next man and there’s plenty of room in my collection for another cup final programme. But here’s the crux of the matter… qualifying for the Champions League is as good as a trophy, and if you ask me, even better.

Hold up, stop, calm down, I know what you’re thinking. Sacrilege. Wash my fingers out with soap. The FA Cup is more beloved than Bruce Forsythe. How can being fourth best ever been seen as better than winning something?

Well to my mind finishing in the top four is like winning a league – let’s call it the English Ahead of the Rest League (or EARL if you’d rather).

Simply put, the EARL is the second most important competition we enter behind the Premier League. It’s ahead of the Cups quite simply because it earns us promotion – reaching the Champion’s League is the present-day equivalent of being promoted from the bog-standard old Premier League.

Once we get there we can argue all day about whether the PL or CL is more important, but for now, assuming we are not quite up to winning the Premier League, EARL is as good as it’s going to get.

How about some food for thought?

The first leg of the round of 32 will be on February 16 – or in other words just after the home league game against Newcastle and two days before the FA Cup Fifth Round weekend.

The second leg, a week later on February 23, would be just three days before Arsenal away.

Still playing King, Bale, Parker, Modric and Manu in Portugal on Thursday night are you? I do hope not.

The first leg of the Round of 16 on March 8 is sandwiched between Man United at home and Everton away with the second leg the following week falling just before either Stoke at home or the FA Cup quarter-final.

You see where I’m going with this yeah?

Quarter-finals: March 29 and April 5 – the first leg is just after Chelsea away (this year!!!) and just before Swansea at home while the second leg precedes a trip to Sunderland.

Seen a PL game we couldn’t do with winning yet? Me neither.

First leg of the semi-final on April 19 falls betweeen trips to Bolton and QPR, (unless we make the semi-final of the FA Cup, in which case we’ll play that instead of Bolton), with the following week’s second leg a few days before Blackburn visit the Lane.

I know we all want to finish the season on a high with a nice day out at a showpiece Cup Final, don’t we?

Well you won’t even get that with the Europa. Spurs fans would have to leave for Bucharest almost as soon as our away game at Villa (or our FA Cup Final at Wembley, of course) has finished, with the Europa Final scheduled for Wednesday, May 9.

No night out at Faces for the lads though, win-or-lose, because the final game of the Premier League season at home to Fulham is less than four days later, and who knows, it might just be the EARL decider.

By Alex Hoad

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  1. Your deluded. Man City managed Europa and league last year so we can. We have a big squad and should not look at it like an inconvenience. A trophy is a trophy and Bill Nic would be disgusted I'm sure by the attitude that it's an 'inconvenience'

  2. Its called squad rotation fella, the likes of gallas, corluka, cudicini, sandro, giovani, kranjcar, bassong, defoe and pavlyuchenko are more than capable of getting us through a few knockout rounds of the europa, throw in one or two first teamers plus the returning dawson/huddlestone along with rose/livermore/carroll/townsend and you have a squad brimming with talent. Not allowing for january arrivals. My point is, we have the squad, why not go for FA cup, Europa and 4th! we know we are good enough.

  3. Ask yourselves this question.

    Were you happier when we beat Chelsea in the Carling Cup or when we beat Man City to qualify for the Champions League.

    My answer would undoubtedly be the latter. The Cups get you a day out at Wembley, the Champion's League brings us to Camp Nou, San Siro……no comparison.

  4. Irishspur has got it spot on. I agree with most of the sentiment in the article too. Winning something, even the EL will not keep Bale, Modric et al, who we're enjoying watching and are the mainstays of our success, at the Lane.

    In agreement with Irishspur and perhaps in response to Jizdo, the bigger hitters will return be returning from injury and the kids will become more peripheral (if Kranjcar was fit, who do you think would be playing, him or Carrol? for example). There will also be some natural rotation with injuries and rests needed. We have a strong squad.

    Also, at the moment, things are looking so good that 4th may seem a little UNambitious. This season, and with Ade up front, our play seems to have moved on to another level. Our closing down is different, higher up the pitch, and our attacking more fluid as demonstrated by the goals and assists between Lennon and Bale. We might be fucked if Ade get's injured though. African Nations this year too!

  5. I couldn’t give a stuff about the uefa.

    It’s the ugly mate of the bird you’d rather have.

    And it means nothing financially.

    Qualifying for the group stages of the CL earns a club more than winning the uefa cup!

    Keep the kids in it and concentrate on the league.

    Get the CL next year, keep our good players motivated to stay at the club and more good players motivated to join.

  6. The only person speaking any sense on this article is Irish spur.. a team made up out of cudicini, Corluka, gallas, Bassong, Rose, Sandro, Huddlestone, Pienaar, Krancjar, Gio, Pav is more than capable of making it to the Europe final 4 or FA final (if we have a lil bit of luck)… In fact that team should do us proud in the PL…. For the rest of you…. WAKE THE HELL UP!!!!!! Half the time they dont even broadcast Europa league matches!!!! the only time anyone gave a shit about it was when Fullham made the final because that is the type of team Europa was made for…. Lets say on current form Inter milan dont make CL but win a cup do you think they will be tearing up the pizza joints and looking forward to a good run in Europa…. Not a chance they will focus all their attention on getting back into the CL…. and EVERY manager in the PL plays weaker teams in cup competitions…. WHY????? Spurs for 2/3rd in Premier league this year!!!!!

  7. we should play every game as if we mean to win it, the idea of rotation is meaningless, if any of you have played competitive football at a serious enough level then u will know that playing with the same blokes is important. Good article though food for thought but we should always put out the best side.


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