Spurs now face losing key talent such as Modric.

The latter two Champion’s League spots were ferociously fought for during the second half of the season and made for an engrossing spectacle for those in the eye of the storm and neutrals alike.

For a considerable spell Spurs had looked like they could mount a serious title bid before falling away dramatically, not helped by their manager seemingly being coveted for the England position and a dip in form from their pivotal figure Bale. As winter turned to spring it was now all about halting the slide and securing a place in football’s premier club tournament for only the third time in their history.

Across North London Arsenal were in the process of redemption and healing for a season that began with an 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford. As the new signings struggled to ally themselves to Wenger’s philosophy there were surprising calls for the professor’s head as crisis loomed large at the Emirates.  The turnaround ironically began with a dramatic comeback against their arch rivals and from there the Gunners began to claw back the deficit they’d lost during their time of readjustment. Had they left it too late though?

The themes emanating from the Emirates were echoed ten-fold at Chelsea for this was a side truly in plight. As AVB naively chose revolution over evolution at the Bridge their patented model for success was thrown into disarray with some players exasperated to the point of revolt. With the failed experiment abandoned Abramovich looked in-house for a man to steady the flailing ship but with only two months to do so surely Roberto Di Matteo could do no more than offer hope for next season?

Remarkably, from the very moment of AVB’s departure the blues clicked back into immediate and familiar shape and began amassing points with ominous regularity. They were back in the hunt.

Newcastle meanwhile were the surprise package. A team that began the campaign minus two of their most influential players in Nolan and Barton and largely made up of bargain buys and supposed rejects underwent a season-long blitzkrieg of expectation-defying victories. This was achieved with an attacking verve and panache that quickly made them a populist favourite, an underdog amongst the usual mainstays of the top four that many rooted for throughout.

It was a fascinating and enthralling four-way fight of such drama and interest that it legitimised the existence of the very tournament they were all so stridently attempting to qualify for, a tournament that lest we forget calls itself one of champions but is largely anything but.

This was no consolation prize. What these clubs were so desperately scrabbling to secure were untold millions in revenue and advertising, the probability of maintaining their best talent, the possibility of procuring further talent, and of course the marquee glamour and glory of taking on the Milans and Barcelonas.

On the final day only Chelsea had fallen from the reckoning with the other three all requiring a victory to attain their dream and destiny. Alas it was the toon who stumbled at the finish line and the bitter pill of the Europa League now awaits a team that deserves better.

As for Arsenal and Spurs their fortitude and resolve will now be rewarded with….wait….what? Only three teams now qualify due to Chelsea triumphing in this year’s competition? How the holy f**k is that fair? I have little love for Tottenham as a club – and as someone who genuinely detests ‘Arry Redknapp with every fibre of my being it is tempting to imagine his summer of discontent and emit a sly smile – but for the supporters who have shed blood, sweat and tears along every step of Spurs’ ten-month effort, to have the rug pulled from beneath them on a technicality is a farcical development that borders on the outrageous.

Worse yet it is a situation that could, and should, have been avoided from the tournament’s inception.

32 teams qualify for each year’s Champion’s League and it is only right and proper that the eventual winner is awarded automatic entry into the next campaign. But this should be a condition integrated into the reckoning IRRESPECTIVE of who finishes where the following season in the domestic leagues.

This would now leave 31 places for up for contention which – although perfectly feasible due to the coefficient nature of qualification (they could simply shave off a qualifying place from one of England, Italy or Spain) – does make it an odd number.

So why not go further and set in place a guarantee that really should have been done a long time ago, which is to award an automatic placing in the Champion’s League for the winners of the previous year’s Europa Cup? Not only would this immediately give the maligned competition a greater worth but it would suitably reward any team that has negotiated through a potentially gruelling campaign of 61 games to win it. That is a season in itself! Only to then find yourselves with just a meaningless trophy that you have barely the strength left to lift and a league season that has fallen away due to the excessive demands.

So where would these two placings come from? Simple. As already alluded to there are currently three leagues that have the luxury of sending their top four into continental battle the following year. This is decided upon by the coefficient ratings which takes into account the performances of each country from the previous five years.

Presently it is England who top the table (something that will be extended further due to Chelsea’s triumph this week) so why not simply ensure that only the country leading the table has four entries? For now that would mean La Liga and the Bundesliga losing a place apiece but that could change in the future – which additionally would encourage other Spanish and German team’s supporters to cheer on Real or Bayern for their own ends – and at least everyone knows where they stand beforehand.

The current set-up is due to EUFA not wanting a country having five teams represented in their prestige tournament. But if one is the reigning champions then so be it. It matters not where they are from other than, assuming they also finished in their league’s quota for qualification, then the next team down gain entry by default. This way a club’s triumph becomes a nation’s triumph.

As it stands now a country is penalised for producing a champion and that quite frankly stinks.