After years of paddling around in the kids pool, Tottenham finally get their chance to dip their large man toes in the big boy pool. Champions League football beckons at the Lane next season. Question is, will they sink or swim? For now, Tottenham fans are not worried about the two-legged play-off in August. For now, they are just happy to have been invited.
Regardless of how they do in their first Champions League tournament, for Spurs fans, this is a monumental time. Not only have they achieved their main objective of the season by qualifying for Europe’s most prestigious footballing competition, they have also surpassed expectations by beating London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. In seasons past, they always failed against the big boys. Not anymore. This is a new Tottenham.
‘Arry Redknapp has done a phenomenal job guiding Spurs into the Champions League in his second season as boss. He has built a team that play for each other. He has developed Michael Dawson into a potential England international. He has made Gareth Bale a positive attacking force and his displays have made him a target for Manchester United. He has given Huddlestone so much confidence that you can now see his “Hoddle” like abilities. He even made Bentley step-up to the plate following Aaron Lennon’s injury. And his boy Peter Crouch came up trumps netting the winner against City. You could go on and on about what a great job ‘Arry and his staff have done. It’s good to see an English manager getting the opportunity to manage an English club in the Champions League.
Spurs are now breathing down Arsenal’s neck in more ways than one. They have certainly caught up to their North London rivals with regards to talent on the pitch and they are certainly miles ahead in the spending ranks. Plus they have done much better in domestic competitions over the last few years. They’ve actually won something! Credit to Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy for making some bold decisions and for being willing to make mistakes in order to achieve success. With Tottenham having gained on Arsenal so fiercely, is the power shifting to the blue side of North London?
There’s lots to dissect after this game, but the other obvious winner last night was British football. Manchester City made some bold statements at the beginning of the season. They spent huge amounts of money which left them so assured about qualifying for the Champions League. Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Wayne Bridge were already guaranteed Champions League football with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. So if it was really about playing Champions League football, then surely Adebayor, Toure, Bridge and Tevez would have have stayed at their previous clubs no? Gareth Barry wanted to play Champions League football but snubbed Liverpool for Manchester City, who were not even in the competition. All of these moves were motivated by the big bucks City were willing to pay. And it didn’t work. Does this mean you can’t buy success?
For British football, Tottenham and Manchester United, the fact City didn’t qualify is great news! But despite their failures, City have much to be excited about next season. They will no doubt have a new manager and they will certainly bring in some new faces. Of the faces they currently have, it’s questionable who will stay. One thing is for sure, Adam Johnson looks like a future star and was the best buy of the bunch that rolled into City over the last few months. If I were running the blue side of Manchester, I’d build my team around Johnson.
For now, the day belongs to Tottenham. It’s been such a long journey for their fans. They are ready to cheer their team on in Europe. Could they be singing “Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur” all the way to Wembley in 2011 or will it all end in tears before the party has even begun..?