Opinion: Spurs can kiss the Champions League goodbye and that’s okay

During the first half of the year, I could hear the symphony of the most historic tournament in the world playing in my ear. By the end of 2023, Spurs were sitting in fourth place, one point ahead of Aston Villa. At the time, I used up valuable cellular data to alert my friends of such spectacular play and victories from my boyhood club.

Shockingly, their demeanours never changed. It never wavered. They all repeated the same thing over and over to me. The Spursy Spurs will appear when things seem too good, they proclaimed. I ignored them. “This time, it was different,” I told myself. We were seven points from the top of the table. We were tied fourth for most goals scored and fifth in terms of goal difference.

Things were going to be different, I said.

Last April, we were also in fourth place, but we had five more points and seven more goals scored. We stayed in a positive position in the standings even though we just completed a stretch where James Maddison, Micky Van De Ven, Yves Bissouma, Cristian Romero, and Rodrigo Bentancur all missed significant time due to injuries or suspensions. Even with our slide in November and December where we went 5 games without a win, we were still in fourth.

Things were going to be different, I said.

Champions League
Photo by SpursWeb

As of this past Sunday, my phone had 89 missed text messages. What occurred after our defeat to Arsenal had my wife consoling me as I dug my face into my hands. Arsenal will once again finish the season above us in the table and might even win the league, with Manchester City hot on their tails with 2 games in hand. Aston Villa are 7 points ahead of us as we hold two games in hand. Things are looking grim if we want to play in the Champions League next year.

Here is Tottenham’s remaining schedule: Chelsea, Liverpool, Burnley, Man City, Sheffield United.

With Liverpool and City still in title contention and Tottenham looking like a lost foster child in the wilderness, those are the dates that most fans will be dreading. I can’t expect us to muster enough strength to get a tie against either of those teams. With our defence looking shambolic, it’s time to look ourselves in the mirror, take off our headphones that drown out the Spursy talk, and admit it:

The top four to enter the Champions League is over.

I know, I know, the season isn’t over. I understand. But here are Aston Villa’s remaining fixtures: Olympiacos home and away in the Conference League, Brighton, Liverpool, Crystal Palace.

Not a light schedule by any means, but with a seven-point lead, this lead over Tottenham can be very difficult for us to overcome. Their next win guarantees them a top-four spot in the standings.

And you know what? I prefer they get it over us.

Let’s Deal with Reality

Now before you throw tomatoes at me, let’s talk about this like a family.

After the fiasco of last year including Harry Kane leaving, Ange Postecoglou joining, and a very light pre-season schedule, many believed if we finished the season seventh or eighth, it would be a step in the right direction. But then Big Ange introduced us to rock and roll football early and many were sipping the juice.

But remember, the roster that we currently have isn’t complete. Ange has told us over and over and over that the team he needed to compete wouldn’t be completed after 2 transfer windows.

It was going to take time, a roster reconstruction, a mentality makeover, and some investments from the board to get us to that place.

But at the time, many of us, including me, didn’t listen. Nobody was going to stop us from what was looking like could be ours, the Premier League title.

Then the November-December slide occurred and shook us to the core.

To be honest, that should have been a precursor to what is happening right now.

We don’t deserve to be in the Champions League. And that’s ok.

Ange was upfront in telling us that the top 4 was not his goal. Not even close. He wanted to make progress as a club and eventually get to the point where we could win the league. After each win or defeat, his resolve to where the team was headed never wavered. It was repeated at most press conferences whenever it was asked.

Maybe the onus is on us to expect something different. As I responded to each of the texts from friends and family, I laughed at their faces and told them how it would be Sonny, and not Kane, who would lift silverware and be named as Mr. Tottenham moving forward.

UEFA Europa League
(Credit: Molten UK & Ireland)

Turn Off the Champions League Music For Tottenham

We don’t have the current roster to compete with the top teams in Europe. Hell, we got thrashed by Fulham and Newcastle. A Champion League-caliber team isn’t allowing that to happen. I don’t want us to go just for the fact that we are going to be spectators. In any competition in which we are involved, I want us to be legit contenders.

Our current roster is currently built to contend and win the Europa League. I believe that is the level we are currently at, and we shouldn’t shun our noses to that competition. We will still get extra revenue for each game played there, and we will have mid-week games. I am not discounting that we will have the summer to continue to build on our current roster. Additions to the midfield and an out-and-out striker should be our priority when Daniel Levy opens up his pocketbook

The Europa League holds the second tier teams of the top 5 leagues. That is what we currently are, a high-level second tier team at best right now. And that’s fine. No need to turn our noses up to similar-level clubs. But if our goal is to lift silverware each season, do we currently have a chance at beating Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG, or even Borussia Dortmund?

The answer is no.

And because of that answer, the Europa League is where we belong next year. And you know what?

That is ok.

Let’s go and win it!

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