Which Premier League manager will get fired first

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Jupiter’s Icy Moon

Europa is a far distant world, covered by thick ice and a small chance, if any, of life there and from his comments this week it would seem Harry Redknapp feels that you may as well be playing there if you finish 5th and that he would sooner finish 6th in the Premier League rather than enter the EUROPA League next season. If Spurs fail to beat Liverpool this weekend he will get his wish but is playing in Europe's 2nd tier competition as bad as he thinks it is.

The Europa League is a bit strange as clubs sped all season qualifying for it and then complaining about being in it yet it provides opportunity for extra revenue, a chance of silverware and the opportunity to play against some of Europe's top clubs (and some not so good ones as well). Whilst Stoke and Birmingham fans are overjoyed at the prospect of playing in Europe some Tottenham and Liverpool fans seem less than overjoyed by the prospect even though (if they approach it properly) they have a decent chance of winning it. After all Fulham reached the final last season, Liverpool reached the semis and Spurs did well in this season's Champions League so they should be looking forward to it with some confidence of picking up another trophy instead of wondering whether they can cope with that and their league campaigns. On that premise why bother trying to get into the Champions League? In fact why bother entering the FA Cup or Carling Cup and see if you can win the Premier League while only playing those games.

In reality those who blame the Europa League are just looking for an excuse to mask their own performances. The current Premier League leaders reached the FA Cup semi-final, Carling Cup quarter final and are in the Champions League final yet I don't hear any complaints from Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge about the number of games played. Winning becomes a habit no matter what competition it is in and you give yourself as many chances to win as possible. Cup runs breed confidence and players who may never get a league winners medal get a chance to win something. Fulham, Rangers, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Arsenal have all reached the final in the last 15 years and although only Liverpool have emerged as winners the fans of all those clubs have enjoyed the experience of reaching the final and would not trade the memory for anything. Ask Spurs 1984 UEFA Cup winning side what they think of the trophy's importance and you will likely get a positive response of it being one of the highlights of their career and likewise the 2001 Liverpool cup winning team and I daresay the Rangers, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Arsenal and Fulham players would likewise all speak of it favourably. The last 8 winners (including this season) have been from Spain, Italy, Russia and Portugal with 4 British finalists in that period. It is a great chance of a trophy and clubs should not be regarding it like a trip to the outer reaches of the solar system because ultimately whilst success breeds success the same can also be said of complacency and indifference, two things that are a far greater threat to Spurs than Thursday nights on Channel 5.