Thursday, 24 February 2011
A better class of Spurs forum recently asked its readers to choose between two scenarios:
A) We get beaten by AC Milan in the second leg and go out of the Champions League in the last 16, but we finish in the top four and qualify for next year's competition.
B) We get to the final of this year's Champions League, play against a team of our choosing, but finish fifth.
Now, in light of how the poll actually went, I fear I may lose some of you here. But this is a no brainer, right?
It's B all the way, isn't it?
Apparently not. The vast majority of respondents plumped for A.
There was plenty of talk about the future development of the club; continuing to take strides forward; long-term financial implications etc. It sounded more like a shareholders meeting than a fans' forum.
I was genuinely shocked. What's the point in qualifying for a competition? It's to try and win the bloody thing, isn't it? To add to the honors list, not shore up the balance sheet?
Someone, a well meaning someone, piped up with the observation that it's not as much of a gamble, because if we won it, then we'd qualify anyway.
Well, yes, yes we would, but, more importantly, we'd have won it. That's the ultimate goal. In fact, that's sort of the entire point of the game. It's why we're here.
It doesn't matter that we'd be in next season's group stages, we'd be in the fucking history books for Christ sake. We'd be the first London club to win the thing. That wouldn't change. Ever. Arsenal and Chelsea would be so envious and dispirited they might just pack everything up and sod off.
I still don't think I was wrong to go for B in a heartbeat. There is no wrong answer in a poll like this. Apart from A, which is so fucking wrong it's astonishing.
Where I obviously was wrong, however, was thinking that everyone, all of us, would jump at the Final option.
People see things differently, obviously, and is, of course, genuinely fine. Maybe mine's an old fashioned view. Maybe it's short-sighted, short-termism and maybe we would lose the game then lose Modric and Bale in the summer and end up 'doing a Leeds'.
Finishing fourth last year was fantastic. The game against Man City was genuinely exciting and felt like a cup final. But it only felt like a cup final. It was, ultimately, a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
What's the game about, again? Remind me: Is it about financial implications? Or shoring up the long-term future of the club? Or 'qualifying' for something? Oh no, I remember, the game's about glory. Whoever said that knew what they were talking about, and they certainly wouldn't have chosen option A.