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Recovering From The Gut Punch

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I want to begin this post with an apology. First, I want to apologize for basically ignoring this site for the last 24 hours. In the initial aftermath of yesterday's Champions League Final match between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, a match that, as we all know, Chelsea won, I didn't think there was much that could be said to calm the masses. Indeed, reading through some of the comments on this site and on Twitter I know that I was right, but that's not really an excuse. You all deserved better.

Second, I want to apologize that I have to be the first from the staff to "officially" comment on yesterday and where this leaves the club. I know that I lack the gravitas and well-reasoned manner of Kevin McCauley. I don't have the amazingly beautiful and analytical style of Uncle Menno or The Sleeper's Sleep. I also do not possess the unbridled passion and fervor that Nick Petrilli and Ed Francis bring to this site. I don't have the same deep emotional and cultural connection to the club that Ryan Rosenblatt and Brian Mechanick have and I certainly do not possess the sense of humor that TheRoosevelts does.

In a way, I'm the last person that should be writing about this, but I'm all we have at the moment. So again, I'm sorry, you deserve better. I hope that what follows the jump sufficiently captures my emotions at this time. I won't pretend to not be disappointed by the result in Munich yesterday. Nor will offer platitudes or excuses. My only goal with this post is to provide a little perspective and a reason to be optimistic.

It pains me to see so many people say that they lost a little bit of the fandom on Saturday. If only because I know how each of you are feeling. To describe a typical Tottenham Hotspur fan as self-loathing would be an understatement of almost criminal proportions. Spurs fans are the most optimistic masochists you've ever met in your lives. They'll spend their lives preparing for the gut punch, then let their guard down only as the blow is in mid-delivery. That's what yesterday in Munich was, a gut punch and none of us were really and truly ready.

Tottenham Hotspur, despite a season filled with ups and downs, managed to finish in fourth place in this seasons Barclay's Premier League. This finish usually grants a club the right to participate in the final qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. Instead, Spurs will be spending another season in the Europa League thanks to Chelsea winning this seasons competition and getting an automatic bid into the group stages.

The fourth place finish marks the end of a remarkable three year period for Spurs. In the past three seasons the club has finished 4th, 5th, and 4th in the domestic leagues, twice reached the semifinals of the FA Cup, and made it to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. Those achievements make this one of the most successful three year periods since the early 1960's, a time when most of us weren't even born.

But this run has, ultimately, not been good enough or at least it hasn't been good enough in the eyes of many fans. This was a club that for want of a more consistent defense, for want of better marking on set pieces, for want of a top class goalscorer could have achieved so much. What seems to be lost on all of us, myself included, is that we are witnessing a new era of Tottenham Hotspur football unfold before us and instead of welcoming it into our lives, we are kicking it in the groin and telling it never to come back.

This is a Tottenham Hotspur squad that is one of the oldest in the Premiership, but also one that is bristling with solid young talent. We may be close to seeing the end of the careers of the likes of Ledley King, William Gallas, Brad Friedel, Ryan Nelsen, etc. Other players, mostly those on the fringe, may well be sold this offseason. Many have already speculated that failure to make the Champions League this season will result in the defections of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale. Two players with whom I am adopting a wait and see approach, but also two players who I will not be surprised to see in a Spurs shirt in September.

But with retirement and sales come new players, exciting new prospects. Failure to make the Champions League does not preclude exciting new signings. Look at what Newcastle did last offseason, look at what Liverpool seem to do every year. We're about to witness a revolution at Tottenham Hotspur. It's not going to be a massive overhaul like what Manchester City saw, but it well be a thought out and well reasoned process. We have already seen the way the the club has brought along young players like Bale, Kyle Walker, Sandro, and Jake Livermore. The future of the club has not been so evident in years and I, for one, am excited by what lies in wait for this club in the coming season.

Tottenham have established themselves as a top club in the Premier League. No longer are we the little brother nipping at our bigger siblings heels and claiming that we are in fact big enough to play with them. Two seasons in the top four show that the gap between Spurs and the so-called "elite" of English football is closing and it's only a matter of time before the gap is closed for good.

Certainly, I cannot tell you how to feel in the wake of this season. All I can say is that I see reason to be optimistic. I see reason to be excited about the future of the club. There are new training facilities opening soon, our plans for a new stadium are coming together nicely, and the club has some truly elite talent that with a couple of additions would make it one of the best in league. Champions League or not, it's hard not to be excited about the future of Tottenham Hotspur, not matter how painful the present may be.