It hurts. It always does. Being a Spurs fan, you get used to the inevitable "spursing" of the last month of each campaign. And it seems the more it happens, the worse it hurts. On the other hand, with each progressive season of frustration and 5th (or 4th - Damn you, Chelsea!) place finishes, the pain seems to go away quicker.
This year, I've decided to take the optimistic approach. Dangerous, I know, being a Spurs fan and all - but hey, you can't always look on the darker side of life. So instead of dwelling on another frustrating finish to a promising Premier League campaign, I'm going to look forward to next year. Why? Because, like every year, I think this is the year that Spurs finally make a name for themselves. I may say that to myself every year, but deep down I know it isn't true.
But this year, well, it's different. In the next 90 days a lot will happen: the fixture list for next year will come out, the Europa League playoff draw will take place, and our 2013-14 season will get under way - heck, there may even be some big moves made on that new stadium. So yeah, I have hope. Optimism. I'm ready for this and I think Levy, AVB, and Bale are too - and as long as those three have their heads in the right space, we have nowhere to go but up.
So let's take a quick look at these three individuals and see how big a part they'll play in the next few months:
Europa League Quarterfinals (lost on Penalties), 72 points - a club record haul, and 4 points from United including three at Old Trafford. #AVBout Am I right?
But seriously. Despite the, at times, frustrating lineups and meager point differential, AVB did so much for us this season. When he was hired, I had my doubts to, but it's almost like night and day when you look back and compare him to Redknapp.
In addition to all this is the fact that this was his first year. Systems take time to adjust to and AVB's is a good one. It may not have gotten us what we wanted in the first year, but these things take time. As we go forward, and the right pieces come into place, I have boatloads of confidence in his ability to take us to new heights.
Next year will be tough, just as any year is, but if Levy can play his part, I can actually see us taking third.
Ahh, the apple of Tottenham's eye. This lad has done so much for us and, at 23, he can do much for us yet. I know that the high profile atmospheres of Madrid and Barcelona can be quite alluring, but Bale has everything he needs to keep moving his career forward right here at White Hart Lane. That, plus the three years remaining on his contract, as well as the not-so-impressive season of Luka Modric at Real this year, should be enough to keep Bale happy at home. The only problem I can foresee is if the chairman gets dollar signs for eyes when said big boys come a-callin' with £60m+ bids in the offseason. Which brings me to...
This guy. Arggh. So frustrating and, yet, so responsible for all of the good that have come our way during his reign as chairman. Levy is frugal and calculating and patient. He'll wait, as he always does, until the waning hours of the transfer window before attempting to pull off the big moves that we need to make a go of it. But the big question this year is whether or not he'll actually pull the trigger when the big money is on the line.
We have a great squad, but we are in DIRE need of a natural striker. Another season filled with game-saving goals by Bale just simply won't do. If we had had lured Damiao to North London last summer, I have very little doubt that our goal differential would have rivaled those of Chelsea and Arsenal and out points total would have neared - or topped - that of Manchester City.
Levy has to realize that frugality and penny-pinching can only get you to a certain point - and that point is perennial 5th place finishers and, maybe, occasional Champions League interlopers. But in the long run, with so much of Bale's good years left and a chance to keep him long term. Spurs have to move beyond all that and into the role that Arsenal have held for many years - perennial Champions League contenders.
In order to do that, we need to spend money. Of course we can't be foolhardy and just throw our money at a random big name or someone coming off of one good season with no indicators of repetition. But we need to spend. And we need to do it now. We have some of the finest young lads coming up through our system as well as world class quality in Bale and Lloris, but if we can't play in big games, then we can't have nice things.
If Levy takes the same approach as he has in the past, it will be difficult to lure big names because they'll recognize that Levy is more focused on profit than he is Champions League Football. And while it's great that we have that kind of chairman - one who is smart and tight with money during a period of big change for Spurs (stadium and all) - we need to spend money to make money. And this is absolutely the year to do it.
As I said at the beginning, I'm optimistic. I truly think Levy will realize that 5-6 more million spent last year would have resulted in the 2-3 more points needed to take us to the CL.
But then again, this is Spurs and this is Levy. Truly any sort of heartbreak is possible.