Europa League or Cup Run Should Be Mauricio Pochettino's Primary Target

Trevor Murray@@TrevorM90Contributor IJuly 23, 2014

Bill Nicholson continues to be a revered figure at White Hart Lane.
Bill Nicholson continues to be a revered figure at White Hart Lane.Don Morley/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur club legend Bill Nicholson once said: "It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory."

A hero in Spurs folklore, the former player and manager left a hugely positive and lasting mark on the club before he departed in 1974 and is widely regarded as one of their most loved and respected footballing icons. Having added 11 cups to their trophy cabinet, he was as successful a coach as the White Hart Lane faithful have ever had, and he breathed new life into their ambitions. 

His words are revered and sacred; they underpin the mentality that permeates Tottenham football club.

In fact, his presence continues to live on even now as a new era is starting to take root. 

Recently, as reported by the Daily Mail's John Drayton, the Lilywhites launched their new-look kit for the forthcoming season, and Nicholson's famous mantra was heavily intertwined with it—featuring on the jersey itself, underlining just how central his philosophy continues to be.

Yet now, with financial and boardroom expectancies heavily influencing the way any side's season is measured and judged, it might seem just a tad romantic for Nicholson's much-loved viewpoints to hold too much sway over exactly how their campaign is steered or how their ambitions are moulded.

After all, if new boss Mauricio Pochettino aims high for Champions League football and is unsuccessful, he might end the season a little more red-faced than anticipated, and nasty repercussions could start to kick in.

It would be difficult for the Argentine to find any glory in that, particularly if the board were to withhold transfer funds or worse, sack the former Saints supremo. 

Because while passionate supporters and fans will always justifiably have a keen interest in and love of their team's history, and while their stories will always rightfully hold the philosophy of Nicholson in their hearts and minds, it's important that the north London club find a way to successfully meld the past with the future as they aim to strive, logically, for glory. 

Right now, it's important for them to be just as cautious and careful in their approach in laying the new foundations as they should be excited and fighting fit.

And the best way for them to achieve this is by setting their sights on securing Europa League football once more—and by gong all-out to bring home the trophy that Europe's second elite club competition maintains as its prize. 

An extended run would bestow upon them the confidence to know just how capable they are at mixing it up with some of the continent's best teams. Because when all is said and done, it's not merely the prize money that's the attraction, it's the perks that come with it, too. 

Chris Wathan of Wales Online recently revealed that last season's winners, Sevilla, netted £11.72 million, which equates to nearly 15 million, while Swansea took home close to €4 million from their European adventure. So, while the prize fund isn't exorbitant in the slightest, it is tempting and very useful for a growing institution like Spurs. 

Emerging as champions at best or pushing all contenders close at worst would sprinkle a touch of added prestige to the club and elevate them back to where they feel they belong. In short, it would fill their depleted stocks of confidence and retouch the once burning glow that fans of Spurs found so regularly during their heyday.

After all, breaking into the top four is an unlikely accomplishment for the 2014/15 season. Even the most positive of Spurs fans shouldn't feel bad about thinking that for a second.

And even with the club's record signing Erik Lamela vowing to attack the new season with renewed vigour, it's clear it'll take more than one redeveloped signing to reignite their spark. But it's certainly a start.

As reported by The Sun, the Argentine international is ready to finally win the fans over.

A footballer always feels lonely when he cannot play for whatever reason and I felt very lonely at times last season. But I am getting in good shape and am determined to show Tottenham the real Erik Lamela this season. I have recovered from my injuries, we have a new manager and I cannot wait to play. I am confident you will see a much better me this season.

Realistically then, a good Europa League showing, combined with a strong display in either of the domestic cups, would allow Pochettino to get a good grasp on just how nicely balanced his team is or is not. And it would give him time to zone in on a certain amount of success while also providing ample opportunity to evaluate his players with every passing matchday.

And from there, he can look to endow his side where he sees fit and continue to improve them wherever weaknesses crop up. 

Getting down to the nub of the issue, if they intend to rediscover the echo of glory that Nicholson once spoke so famously of, they need to listen to the mistakes and the victories of the past, look to the future and remember that the upcoming season is a work in progress that requires patience proportionate to the never-ending hope.

Looking back at Nicholson's own downfall just before stepping down, the UEFA Cup final against Feyenoord back in May 1974, it would be quite apt for Pochettino and Co. to pick up the pieces where he stopped; there'd be a certain symmetry to it, and most importantly, it could signify the beginning of another club idol.

Who knows?


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