by Noel Draper

As regular readers will know, I have a hatred of anything UEFA. If something has Platini written all over it then I shy away, knowing that it will be for the good of the few whilst ignoring the many. The financial fair play regulations? A waste of time and money that will only serve the few. European Championships in Ukraine? Only there due to several large backhanders and since when has Ukraine been in Europe? I could go on. I have done before. Trust me, it will be like a broken record.

The trouble is I agree with one rule that UEFA brought in recently and it is this. I will quote it just to get it right.

2.03. The UEFA Champions League titleholder is guaranteed a place in the group stage even if it does not qualify for the competition through its domestic championship.

a) If the titleholder comes from an association entitled to four places in the UEFA Champions League and qualifies for the UEFA Europa League through it’s domestic competitions, the lowest ranked club of the association’s UEFA Champions League representatives is automatically transferred to the UEFA Europa League (into the latest possible round where there is a vacancy).

In English? Chelsea get the fourth place and Tottenham go into the Europa League. It’s all very simple. These rules were set out before this season’s competition started. In fact they were brought in after Liverpool had won the damn thing in 2005 but didn’t finish in the top four places. They finished 5th. Obviously a team needed to defend the title it had won so UEFA decided to let them in the next season although they would have to start from the first qualifying round. Everton, the team that finished 4th, blew a huge sigh of relief as they were allowed to keep their place. The new rule was then set in stone.

So why are Tottenham fans complaining about having to drop into the Europa League? Surely they knew the rules at the beginning of the season? Is it because an old London rival has pushed them into an inferior competition? Is it because their closest rivals finished in 3rd thus guaranteeing a Champions League position? Is it because their manager was linked to the England job by the media and it ruined his concentration? Is it because they lost a 10 point lead for 3rd place in the space of two months?

Well, according to the Spurs fans it is a combination of all of the above.

The trouble is I don’t agree, because I think it was due to a manager who was outed for the one-trick tactical non genius that he is. I also think that the Spurs fans, deep down, also agree with me but are using the above excuses to cover over the cracks. Redknapp, for all his bluff and media savvy chat, is an average manager in charge of an above average team. When the going got tough the manager didn’t and simple let his team go through a horrible patch that cost them the season. If Redknapp is that good a manager how did he let his “beloved” team slide from 3 points to 20 points behind the eventual winners in the space of 2 months?

Complain all you like Spurs fans but if you want an excuse then I would look a little closer to home if I were you.