As yellow tickers on Sky Sports News go, this one at midnight on Saturday seemed a little unnecessary: “Spurs qualify for the Europa League”.

No one at White Hart Lane, least of all Harry Redknapp, wanted to be playing in Europe’s second-tier competition next season. Maybe the ticker should have read: “Spurs handed a booby prize, hahaha”.

The joke now is that Tottenham have beaten Everton for the shortest stay in the Champions League. A week after finishing in the top four with the hope of taking on the Real Madrid and Inter Milan again, Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties and Spurs are back among the also-rans such with Torpedo Kutaisi and Videoton.

The Tottenham supporters I know are a pretty morose bunch. I am sure that when they drop their toast in the morning, it always lands butter-side down; when they order a black coffee from Pret, they open the top and find it to be white; it probably always rains on their day off, oh and their football team always bugger things up.

A week before Christmas, Sir Alex Ferguson, no less, said: “You always expect the usual four teams to be in the hunt: ourselves, City, Arsenal and Chelsea; but to my mind Spurs have been the best team to watch recently.”

Now, everyone knows that Fergie and Redknapp are mates and the Manchester United manager was probably having a little early-season pop at his neighbours City.

But one look at the table at the turn of the year spelt out what Ferguson was talking about. When Gareth Bale tore Norwich apart on December 27, Spurs were third, seven points behind City and United, who were first and second, but with a game in hand.

Three months later and Spurs were still third when United visited White Hart Lane. Win and the gap to Fergie’s side was down to five points but Redknapp’s team were swept aside. That was March, speculation was rife that Harry was off to manage England and Spurs were at the start of a dreadful run that saw them collect just two wins from 10 Premier League games.

Who was to blame? The Football Association? The players? The manager or the chairman? Probably all of them! Home draws with Wolves and Stoke and the defeat at Arsenal after Spurs were two goals ahead had more to do with the players but speculation about Redknapp’s future could not have helped.

Nor the lack of re-investment in the team. Louis Saha arrived on a free transfer in January when there was an opportunity for Daniel Levy to build on the team’s fine start to the campaign. The chairman runs a tight fiscal ship and Spurs’ finances have been in healthy state for some time, with Deloitte’s Football Money League for last year showing the club raised more revenue than City. But while the champions have billions to spend on players courtesy of their Arab owners, less than £20million has been committed to transfers in the past two seasons at White Hart Lane.

Levy recognises the need to move to a bigger stadium to raise more money if Spurs are going to compete at the top of the table for longer, and missing out on the Olympic Stadium was a blow.

Despite all this, I have to ask Spurs fans where they would rather be: in the same position as Liverpool, Aston Villa or Blackburn or where they are now?

This season has been a bizarre one. Spurs ended up with the same number of trophies as United and Arsenal — none — and of the top five clubs, only one, City, won any silverware.

Redknapp says the club’s fans should be grateful because when he arrived in 2008 they were looking at relegation and he has achieved stability and taken them to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. But is this enough?

Well, that all depends on your expectations. At the start of the season, 20 Premier League teams are chasing three domestic trophies and the odds of actually winning one are not great.

They say it is the hope that kills you, but look at Chelsea; in a mess when they sacked Andre Villas-Boas but ending the season with two trophies.

While I am using clichés, I might as well chuck in another one: be careful what you wish for. With Redknapp being linked with the Chelsea job if Roman Abramovich decides not to hand the role to Roberto di Matteo on a permanent basis, is it wise for fans to continally criticise Harry?

Being ousted from the Champions League has just made his job harder. If Bale and Luka Modric decide to pursue their careers elsewhere, the talented starting XI that Redknapp has at his disposal starts to look a little less so.

Without football at Europe’s top table, White Hart Lane looks a far less appealing place to move to. A thinner squad might then convince Redknapp he has taken the team as far as he can and then what will happen if he goes?

Spurs fans should be grateful for what they have and remember that they are far better off flirting with the top five every season than the bottom five.

Follow me on twitter @stevecording

No respect for...
John Terry, who should have stood aside and let the Chelsea players who won the Champions League without him enjoy their moment.

Delighted for...
Sam Allardyce and West Ham who have been promoted. Big Sam has taken some ridiculous stick and I hope those who dished it out are feeling a tad ashamed.

Rooting for...
Harlequins, who take on Leicester in the Aviva Premiership play-off final on Saturday. Their play merits the title champions of England.


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