It’s easy to talk in a romantic sense about European football, after all, one of the founding fathers of this club, Bill Nicholson made his stance all too clear. ‘It’s magnificent to be in Europe, and this club – a club like Tottenham Hotspur – if we’re not in Europe… we’re nothing. We’re nothing.’ These words speak of Europe as if it is a hard-earned treat, a place where clubs of the higher echelons will be seen, a place one finds oneself when at the top of one’s game.
Under Daniel Levy’s stewardship, the race to be perpetually involved in the elite competitions is unmistakably fuelled by the desire to trouser the now supersonic UEFA payments. Just to provide some context here, reaching the group stage is worth €15.64million, but the refresher payments go on and on. Group-stage draws earn you a further €930,000, and you get an additional € 2.8 million each time you win a game. Reaching the Round of 16 secures a further € 9.6 million, and there’s another €10.6 million for quarter-finalists. Reach the semi-finals, and you receive another € 12.5 million, and the grand prizes are another €20million if you win the tournament and a consolation payment of €15.5million if you lose in the final.
As a reference point, the cash reward for winning the FA Cup currently stands at just £ 2 million, which may explain why the tournament’s status has somewhat declined over the years. Then there’s the interest in the competition itself, fans are drawn to the stellar names involved and the interest in Champions League betting is understandably piqued by the sheer quality of the games. Sure, the FA Cup does have a certain romance attached to it, but truth be told, the giant-killing that tends to occur these days is more of a case that the lower league side is playing their best players and the bigger club is using the game as an opportunity to rest some of their bigger guns, for clashes deemed more important.
There was a lot of noise surrounding the European Super League, largely due to the ham-fisted manner in which it was rolled out to the public, but can anyone genuinely put their hand on their heart and say that watching Spurs host West Bromwich Albion on a wet Wednesday night is as thrilling as seeing the Real Madrid players stepping from their coach outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium? Is wanting to watch the best in the business, really something to be in any way ashamed of? I think not. Europe is still the most coveted place to play, only in the 21st century, one gets properly compensated for doing so.