With a cup semi-final in touching distance, Stephen Puddicombe wonders what this would mean for the club.
There’s been much discussion lately, including on this website, about what an FA Cup victory would mean for the club. On the one hand there are those who insist that this Spurs side must win a trophy to confirm its excellence – after all, what’s the point of having so much talent and potential if you don’t actually win anything with it?
Then there is the counter-argument that plays down the significance of trophies, the idea that we should enjoy the week-to-week supremacy of a team that plays brilliant football with a regularity that is reflected by high placings in a season-long league, as opposed to inherent luck required to win a tournament. Should there really be that much prestige afforded to a tournament that was won, only five years ago, by a team that was relegated that same season?
There is no doubt that this is the best Tottenham team in many generations. The question is to what degree can it be called successful so long as the trophy cabinet remains empty?
I think we’d all agree that we’d rather be in our position that Arsenal’s right now despite their recent FA Cup victories, the same way that no-one could reasonably claim that we held bragging rights in North London between Arsenal’s trophy-less run between 2006-2013 just because of one solitary League Cup victory.
Yet seeing Ledley King hold that trophy aloft remains among my personal fondest Spurs memories. Better even than beating both of the Milan sides during our 2009-10 Champions League run, or any one particular day during the Pochettino era. There’s something conclusive about winning a final – it’s not a stepping stone to anything bigger, but an end in itself.
The question is to what degree can it be called successful so long as the trophy cabinet remains empty?
So surely, it follows, that winning the more prestigious FA Cup would feel even better? Not exactly. In 2008 we were an inferior side enduring a difficult season, so in that context the cup victory came as a thrilling surprise. These days the idea of targeting the League Cup almost feels beneath us, and even winning the FA Cup for the first time in over two decades does not, as Pochettino frequently insists, seem like a priority now we are capable of challenging for the Premier League title, and arguably even the Champions League.
The reality is that all success is relative. There is no direct currency of success in football that can translate what league position is equivalently prestigious as winning the FA Cup or League Cup. Nor is it clear what round of the Champions League we would have to reach to match winning one of those inferior trophies. The final? Semi-finals? Quarter finals? Ask a selection of fans and you would get a range of answers.
The word we love to talk about so much as this club, ‘glory’, is itself a vague concept – it can mean winning trophies, but it can also mean European nights playing under the lights, or playing a certain way, or giving Arsenal a good kicking.
We’ve had plenty of glory over the past few years, and can look forward to plenty more glory on the horizon – potentially in the form of some silverware.
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