Call it pessimism if you like, but I’ve found over the years that if you don’t get too far ahead of yourself you don’t have as far to fall when things, inevitably, come crashing down around you!
As it happens though, the worst case scenario this year is a place in the Europa League and a fifth placed finish in the Premier League ahead of the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, earning plaudits along the way and being talked about in a positive light once more. There, that’s not so bad is it?
However there is a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that the bare minimum of the Europa League may not be enough to tempt some of our blue chip players to stay on Tyneside.
Make no mistake about it, the performances of some of our players, or all of them in fact to be fair, have been top notch for the most part which will not have gone unnoticed by some of the games giants. They’ll be circling, and whilst we all pretty much understand that it would take silly money to sell one of our prize assets the real fact is that the clubs that have been conditioned for Champions League football regularly have the resources to do so.
This is why it is vitally important to take the bull by the horns today and try as best we can to grab a spot in the Champions League. I know that Michel Platini and Co are working on a way to make the Europa League more lucrative to teams, but at the moment you only get the big bucks by playing in Europe’s elite club competition.
That could cause a problem for us. The money on offer in the Europa League, whilst not to be sniffed at, is hardly enough to warrant a change in our approach to transfers or wages. Alan Pardew has stated numerous times now that if we qualify for the Champions league the finances will then look after themselves, but we have to get there first.
Prestige is fine, and the Europa League has some of that, yet there is the glaring and glittering lights of the Champions League ensuring that the old UEFA Cup is left in the shadows somewhat. It’s good, but it’s not Champions league good, and that unfortunately means that there is another level for players to consider when it comes to both prestige and pay.
Before I wasn’t really bothered about us making the Champions League, and I’m still not really as I’ll be over the moon regardless with how the season has gone. However, I’m now starting to wonder of qualifying for it is more important than I thought?
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