Saturday, 30 April 2011
In this case, Harry's attitude to failure is spot on
It's completely understandable that Harry is maintaining his public, unconvincing protestations that the race for fourth isn't over yet.
What's more significant, though is his attitude to the supposedly hypothetical scenario of us missing out; knowing full well that it is going to happen, he nonchalantly shrugs it off – not in the sense of dismissing the prospect, but actually accepting it and instantaneously dealing with it.
He refuses to be cowed or depressed by it. He doesn't accept that it will kill the club, derail our progress or prompt significant departures.
He's preparing us for the worst, whilst stressing that the worst isn't actually that bad.
This is different, of course, to when he derisively laughs at Spurs fans for daring to be disappointed with the run of results that has lead us to miss out on the Champions League. That, as discussed elsewhere, really grates. But this positivity, more chipper than chippy, I can certainly buy into.
To paraphrase, he says: "If we don't, we'll try again next year, and then if we don't next year we'll try the year after that. And we won't just try and qualify for the Champions League, we'll try and win the title. We'll get better, not worse, and see how far we can go."
Quite right, Harold.
A top four finish was seen as the key to Spurs future in some quarters; the hinge on which the entire future of the club would swing. But in reality, if we had made it, who says we'd have made it next year? Or the year after?
And, same argument in reverse: If/when we don't make it this year, who says we won't make it next year? Or the year after?
There's a plausible line about qualification becoming self-perpetuating, because we hang onto our best players and attract new ones with the lure of Champions League football. But, we didn't exactly go nuts in the transfer market last summer, and pretty much all our best players, the ones we will hang onto, were signed when we had the Europa League, at best, to offer them.
If we had finished fourth this year, we wouldn't have become a permanent part of a new elite. And now we've missed out, we shouldn't just crawl back under a rock.
We won't be part of a new Big Four, but we can be part of a process that screws with the old hierarchy and adjusts everyone's expectations.
Harry's right, let's just keep giving it a go. Let's be one of five, six or seven teams that compete for Champions League slots year after year, sometimes making it, sometimes not. Because that's actually the best we can hope for anyway. And I'd take it, in a heartbeat. It would be good for Spurs and, actually, good for football.
We will not finish 4th, we may even finish 6th. But it will not be a disaster. And the Spurs will go marching on.
On a much more gloomy note, if it's a Chelsea match preview you're after, click here.