By now Tottenham Hotspur supporters know not to count their chickens or assume something before it actually comes to fruition.
Going into the last day of the season, Spurs are on the brink of accomplishing what just a few months ago looked out of sight. Not since Tottenham’s unlikely run to the Champions League Final in 2019 has the north London club tasted action in Europe’s premier club competition.
That barren streak will hopefully come to an end on Sunday when Spurs travel to Norwich needing a single point to book their spot in next season’s Champions League.
Who would have though that possible when Nuno Espirito Santo had the team reeling in eighth place before his November dismissal?
Antonio Conte will know the importance of not going into the Norwich match with the mentality that a point is enough. Bad things happen when sides play for a draw, no matter the competition.
While a loaded history of misfortune and missed opportunities will always have at least some Tottenham supporters carry the burden of skepticism and apprehension going into any important match, things feel different this year.
That’s entirely thanks to the Italian maestro’s unparalleled competitive nature and winning mentality. He has, under the most challenging conditions, transformed Tottenham and it’s immediate expectations.
And supporters feel it, tangibly and palpably.
Spurs supporters are in desperate need of a winning result on Sunday. Of course a draw will suffice, but no supporter on the planet wants to bear the nerves that outcome will embody.
Until the club makes grand strides and eventually, fingers crossed, returns to the Champions League Final, Sunday’s match at Norwich represents a moment in time for Tottenham as important as a big final.
Qualifying for the Champions League would change everything, especially with the astute and wily Fabio Paratici pulling the transfer strings. It would once again skyrocket the club’s profile, allowing Paratici to approach the world’s best players.
Elite players simply want to play in the most prominent competition. That is, inarguably, the Champions League. Players who would currently balk at the idea of playing for Spurs, if they qualify for the Champions League, will jump at the opportunity to sign on the dotted line.
Qualifying for the Champions League would also mean the man that got us there, Conte, wouldn’t be going anywhere. This is the outcome he may have envisioned when he took the role, but only he’ll know whether he believed it possible within a year of taking the helm.
And then there’s Harry Kane, who will also most likely stay put with the Champions League beckoning.
It’s not just the prospect of the Champions League, but the idea of adding elite reinforcements in the transfer window and progressing further under Conte’s expert guidance.
Imagine not only having the best stadium, training facilities, manager, managing director and striker in world football, but also punching our ticket to Europe’s premium club competition.
Supporters have endured heaps of woe, misfortune, melancholy and despair in recent years. While qualifying for the Champions League under the most unlikely circumstances won’t erase any of the aforementioned anguish, it would make all the pain bearable.
And to qualify at Arsenal’s expense would mark a non-fictional tale better than any fulfilling fantasy.
It would also represent a euphoria Spurs supporters haven’t experienced since that epic night in Amsterdam three years ago.
Now it’s up to the lads to do the business in Norwich on Sunday and return Tottenham to a place where the club belongs, participating against the elite sides in the world’s premier club competition.