Tottenham FC: Outlining the Worst-Case Hotspur Scenario
With 10 matches to play in the Premier League season, Tottenham supporters are in a state of shock as their team's glorious season is on the verge of completely falling apart.
Once in a position in which their season seem so assured of success, Spurs now have only a four-point gap between them and fifth place.
Granted, this gap is filled by two clubs, so they would have to be passed by both in order to drop to this unthinkable low.
Hence, unless Tottenham turns things around and rediscover their own good form, their grasp on Champions League football may well slip through their fingers.
This is a frightening thought that must be faced by Spurs supporters as they quake whilst watching these final 900 minutes of Premier League football.
The scariest part of this whole run-in storyline is the unforeseen and lingering effects it would have on this club in the short and long-term.
In what follows, I will detail the horror story that might be the unraveling of Tottenham Hotspur if they were to drop below both of their London rivals.
Good-Bye, Champions League
This is the most obvious effect of falling to fifth in the Premier League by the end of the season, but its importance cannot be understated.
Who doesn't want to see Tottenham back in the Champions League, especially after their strong and thrilling run in the 2010-11 competition? (Well, maybe not AC Milan...)
Would they be a threat to win the competition? Probably not.
But Champions League football is what players and managers strive for.
The impact of missing out on Champions League football is what would metaphorically knock the dominoes over, causing all of the possible events that follow in this slide show.
If Tottenham finishes in fifth, manager Harry Redknapp could be out the door shortly after the final match.
He is already the favorite for the England manager position, a position that is to be filled in late May (hence, right after Tottenham's season).
With no Champions League football to look forward to (and the failure that goes along with that), Redknapp could trade his reins at Spurs for those at the England national team
There, he can become a national hero (but probably not).
And would Tottenham really try hard to stand in his way after such a terrible collapse?
A change might be needed, and both sides might just talk themselves into it.
Creative midfielder Luka Modric has already expressed his desire to leave White Hart Lane.
This past summer, he was wooed by Chelsea, and he not so subtly voiced his desire to join the Blues.
However, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was able to make him stay, given the knowledge that Redknapp would turn a bad situation good and get the Croatian to play his best for the club.
If Spurs were to miss Champions League again, Modric's desire to leave would just grow, and another possible suitor in Manchester United looms on the horizon.
If Redknapp were to leave, Levy would have no choice but to sell Spurs' creative force and move on without him.
To be fair, this may happen no matter what Tottenham does to finish the season.
After all, Bale has proven himself to be a world-class player (see the San Siro battles last season), and has reportedly sparked interest from the likes of Barcelona.
Missing the Champions League, having turnover in the manager's position and seeing the lynchpin of the midfield in Modric move on will all but seal the departure of Bale.
A big change may hit Tottenham in their front line, especially if they were to fall to fifth.
Anyway, if he continues to as he has for the past few matches, it may be Spurs who will exercise their option to not buy him and have him return.
Also, Jermain Defoe has been discontented by his lack of playing time, and has been linked with transfers away from White Hart Lane for months (for example, in January).
With only four forwards being used on a regular basis, this may put Spurs in a bit of a pickle heading into the summer transfer window.
Then again, maybe it will force them to begin playing Giovani dos Santos more often.
Good-Bye, Chances of Getting Top Signings
Spurs have had many high-profile players express interest in joining the club.
With these targets being coveted by top European clubs, losing out on Champions League football (not to mention losing a manager and top players) would probably be a deal-breaker.
This will have a large impact on the keeper situation at Spurs; with a starter and a backup who will be 41 and 38 in May, respectively, signing a young keeper is a must.
The Champions League difference between getting a blockbuster keeper who is there for years and making another short-term solution, a la Friedel.
I have painted a very bleak picture with this scenario, but it is only the worst-case.
Clearly, Tottenham still has a good chance to finish in the top four, and are still in pole position for third.
Also, if they do miss out on the top four, all of these things are not assured of happening.
It's just good to know that they might.
And if they do, well, it won't be nearly as bright of a future at White Hart Lane as the one we were preparing for just a few weeks ago.
I don't want to push you into having anxiety attacks at halftime, but you should realize that these final 10 matches carry even more weight than normal Prem matches. They spell the difference between Spurs being a top contender or drifting back to mid-table.
I implore you, dear reader and Spurs supporter, to follow the sage advice of the music in Mel Brooks' classic comedy The Twelve Chairs: "Hope for the best, expect the worst."