I’m an Arsenal fan, but this is not about Arsenal. It’s more a question to all Premier League fans about what constitutes a “winning” season in the EPL.
I’m curious as to what everyone thinks as over the past seven seasons it’s been constantly brought up that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup. There is even a contingent of fans that support the firing of Wenger for this reason.
Of course every Arsenal fan and player wants to win a trophy and the team has come close several times since 2005. The club’s 2006 appearance in the Champions League Final versus Barcelona came up just short and last season’s League Cup loss to Birmingham City was a hard one to take.
There is, however, another side of this Arsenal trophy drought that needs to be taken into consideration. Even without the silverware, the club has qualified for the Champions League for 14 straight seasons by never finishing below 4th place. Qualifying for this tournament, not only allows for teams to attract potential big name signings, it also provides a sizable amount of revenue from the event’s media and sponsorship contracts.
So the question that I have is, which is more important to fans: trophies or qualifying for the next season’s Champions League tournament with a top 4 finish? Of course the obvious answer is both, but if you could only have one, which would you rather have?
When considering this, keep in mind that trophies don’t always guarantee success. Take for example, Birmingham City and Portsmouth. Birmingham won last year’s League Cup, but was later relegated and is currently fighting for a return to the Premier League.
Portsmouth was victorious at Wembley in the 2008 FA Cup Final. Since then, it’s been all downhill for the club. In addition to going in to administration twice, they have also been relegated two times. I would guess that most Portsmouth supporters would gladly give back that FA Cup trophy if it meant a return to the top flight.
You can even throw this year’s Liverpool side in to the argument. Overall they have underperformed throughout the course of this season and are guaranteed of finishing no higher than 7th. The club, however, has already won the League Cup trophy and will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 5th.
Then there’s Chelsea. The Blues may also end the season without a trophy or a top four finish. They are in a great position to win silverware as they are in two upcoming finals. Their league position, however, is not secure. Should they lose both of their finals and finish below fourth, how will their season be viewed?
So again my question is this:
If you could only have one which would you rather have for your club; trophies or qualifying for the next season’s Champions League Tournament with a top 4 finish?