In yesterday's Europa League match against FC Basel Tottenham Hotspur's star player, Gareth Bale, had to be stretchered off after what looked like a pretty bad ankle injury. By now we've all read about Gareth Bale's injury. Manager Andre Villas-Boas only expects him to miss a couple of matches. Certainly that number is helped by a 10-day layoff following the next leg of the Europa League, but two games still isn't bad.
In the immediate after-math of the injury many people were screaming on Twitter and in the blogosphere that this is why the Europa League is stupid. Star players get hurt and Tottenham shouldn't be taking this competition seriously. Andre Villas-Boas obsession with the competition has lead the direct cause of Bale's injury. Bale should have never been on the pitch and Spurs shouldn't be paying attention to this competition anyway.
All those things are so stupid, that I don't even know where to begin in my critique of them.
I suppose I'll begin with this: players get injured in football. It's not as though Gareth Bale was the victim of some horror tackle from a team that play a ruthless aggressive style. Bale was unfortunate. The challenge from David Degen didn't even didn't even earn the Swiss midfielder a card. This type of challenge could have just as easily happened in an FA cup match, but I don't hear anyone calling for us to not take that competition seriously. Injury is a possibility every time a player takes to the pitch. It's just a fact of football. It doesn't matter if you're playing in the Conference or if you're playing in the Champions League. Good players, star players, get injured.
I'm not trying to diminish the impact that Gareth Bale's injury has on Tottenham, but those people who are blaming the injury on Tottenham's effort to win a trophy instead of focusing solely on the league are just wrong. In the words of a half-way decent American Football coach "You play to win the game." Spurs should be taking all these competitions seriously, they'll certainly have to do so if they play in the Champions League next season. If we're in fifth or fourth next year and playing in the Champions League will fans advocate not taking that competition seriously so we can assure ourselves Champions League football the following year? I highly doubt it.
I've mentioned before how important I think a trophy is to Spurs and I maintain that stance. This trophy in particular is important. Let's be honest, the domestic trophies have lost their luster. I don't even think many English people take the whole "Magic of the FA Cup" seriously anymore. The Carling (Capital One, whatever) Cup was always viewed as Mickey Mouse competition. The big two have been, in recent years, the League and the Champions League. Tottenham have no chance to win either competition, so we may as well attempt to win the one that we can.