Our aspirations for next season differ from fan to fan but what is becoming increasingly clear is that whatever happens we must finish in the top 4 if we are to realize our ambitions.
With Arsenal withering and uncertain for the first time since Wenger took over, it at last appears reasonable to say that we are capable of qualifying for the Champions League. However, whilst we rejoice at Henry’s exit it presses further the concern for us to break the big 4 stranglehold. This is partially due to the development of Arsenal’s youngsters as undoubtedly Champions League experience helps them mature into top class players such as Fabregas. However, if we succeed in denying them this experience, we not only stifle their development as players but also cause their better players to flee to leave. This may seem obvious but the sense of urgency is not.
Platini intends to cut the maximum number of clubs eligible to qualify for the prestigious competition to 3, making the premiership further elitist. If we harbour any ambitions of winning the title in the next 10 years we must ensure the acquisition of players capable of mounting a title challenge by the start of the 2009/10 season, which is only possible through Champions league qualification.
If we fail in this then Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and possibly Arsenal will dominate the league and leave us with no chance of silverware or success in the short-term or medium future, not to mention Berbatov’s impending exit should this happen.
This urgency is then furthered by the potential for football clubs instead of the Premier League selling their TV rights individually to companies*. This would mean the bigger clubs i.e. those in the top 3 or 4 will get significantly more TV money then the rest, increasing the distance between themselves and the others; this is why Juventus and AC Milan have been so utterly dominant of the Italian league.
In-turn this has caused a sudden influx of foreign investors desperate to cash in on the TV goldmine. The desperation of clubs to avoid being on the receiving end of such an alteration to TV payments is demonstrated by the mass spending spree all the clubs seem to be promising, the excessive inflation of player values is testament to this.
West Ham, <st1lace><st1lacename>Man</st1lacename> <st1lacetype>City</st1lacetype></st1lace>, <st1:city><st1lace>Newcastle</st1lace></st1:city>, Aston Villa and <st1:city><st1lace>Portsmouth</st1lace></st1:city> all realise this and along with us are in a scrap to secure the best TV deals and the rewarding 3<sup>rd</sup> place in years to come. We, however, have the head start with 3 years of rebuilding already done.
Therefore Tottenham Hotspur must ensure that it forms a part of the premiership elite soon if it is to be able to compete for honours.
And with changes to both the number of Champions League qualification places and potentially TV deals in the next decade, time is running out for Martin Jol and Daniel Levy.
We need to stop saying 5<sup>th</sup> is acceptable next season because after millions spent and so much promised only substantial improvement will do. No excuses, no second chance, we need 4<sup>th</sup> and we need it now!
Next season will shape the destiny of this Club.
*If the Glazers ever wanted to make a lot of money quickly, all they have to do is refuse to have their TV rights represented by the Premier League and sell them themselves to Sky for example. As Manchester United play in the majority of games televised they will therefore get most of the original TV package’s money.
Sky will then bid significantly less for the rest of the games then they would otherwise, forcing other clubs to follow Manchester United’s lead in order to gain more money and not share the payment evenly.<o></o>