The season abruptly ended just under two weeks ago. An anticlimax that I was fully anticipating. Yet, to this day, I don't find myself replaying the 'what if' and 'if only' games. The Fulham home game isn't as imprinted into the deepest of thoughts as I'd have initially expected it to be after Berbatov found his way past Lloris.
Instead, I find myself reminiscing about the games in which we stole victory, escaping back to White Hart Lane singing AVBs name into the bellowing winter air. Every supporter has their own idealist view of where they want Spurs to be. I find many can be lead down a dangerous path dictated by the press, building up hope, then expectation, to only then fall back on their face with disappointment.
I do sympathise, but always think that we must always reflect on the goals we set ourself in the summer and anything more should be treated like a bonus. Everything needs perspective. I'm on record saying I expected a fight for fourth but to see us finish 5th or 6th this year. We always hope for fourth but only the brave go as far as to expect it.
I undertook my first three European away games this season and honestly felt it fulfilled everything I want when I support Spurs. Relatively cheap trips with a fantastic crowd and everyone in great spirits. Would I get this with the Champions League? Probably. But it's have cost a hell of a lot more.
I've come to the realisation that the CL is of course great for the progression of the club. It would've been a fantastic reward for the work AVB has done this year. Although, selfishly, I put my experiences as a supporter probably on par if not a above this. If I'm to find any consolation to our failure to qualify for the CL it is those arguably cheaper trips to the Europa League and a more realistic chance of winning the competition.
If the games about glory then would we rather be in Europe's second tier competition with a higher chance of winning it or in the first tier with a far slimmer chance? Genuine question, and one that I'm sure would invite a variety of answers. Maybe in the longer term, winning the Europa League would provide a pedestal in which to effectively fight for the Champions League crown. Who knows, but its hard to beat a side with a winning mentality.
We've a young side that have just had a year together under AVB and its hard to see us not continue to climb and improve. I take pride in that our achievements will occur within our means. It'll warrant personal pride. Of course a striker is needed, more so than any other position, but we'll stay within a 'sensible' wage criteria and spend what we can actually afford to spend.
I'm always careful when anticipating a season ahead. Although this ones slightly different. AVB is building a bullish side and were arguably just a couple of players short from the quality in both depth and balance in the side that we've craved for so long. With United, City and Chelsea all changing their managers, this offers a potentially minute chance to bite the bullet and fight with these teams. We need to treat the games in August as we do those ones in April and May. I forgive the dropped points in the early parts of the season last year, we were still learning.
Now we've little excuse, let's hope we can kick on and hit the ground running.
Ben - you can follow me on Twitter here