Early Doors

Glamour evades Spurs – for now

Early Doors

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Switzerland isn't famous for many things. Chocolate, Roger Federer and Dignitas are the only ones of note ED can think of this morning - although admittedly it hasn't done all that much thinking.

It is also home to the beloved UEFA, whose headquarters are in Nyon, on the shores of Lake Geneva in the south west of the country.

That is where Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League fate will be decided later today when the draw for the play-off round takes place.

It's a beautiful setting for such an important day in the modern history of Spurs (and, of course, a great location for a slap-up lunch if you're a UEFA suit).

The reward for Harry Redknapp's side's fourth-place finish last season will finally be seen today - a good draw should see them enter the Champions League proper and reap all the subsequent benefits, while a tough one could threaten to reduce the whole story to a damp squib.

The good news for Spurs is that, by default, the former outcome is the more likely.

Thanks to their fellow Premier League sides' performances in Europe over the past five years (yes, Arsenal included), England's UEFA coefficient is pretty good.

That means that Spurs, despite having no previous experience in the current format of the European Cup, have been placed in the top seeded pot for the draw, along with the likes of Ajax, Zenit St Petersburg, Werder Bremen and Sevilla. Those teams cannot be drawn together.

Nor can Spurs play Anderlecht, Sparta Prague, Rosenborg, FC Basel or FC Sheriff, which leaves possible ties against Sampdoria, Dynamo Kiev, Braga, Auxerre or Young Boys.

None of those teams, with the possible exception of Dynamo, will strike fear into the heart of Redknapp. All are winnable ties.

Which is great, yet at the same time slightly disappointing. When Spurs pipped Manchester City to that final Champions League spot at the end of last season, their fans could have been forgiven for dreaming of glamorous opposition rolling up at White Hart Lane to dine with them at Europe's top table.

Young Boys are not glamorous European opposition. Nor are Auxerre or Braga. Sampdoria, at a push, might be, but only because they're Italian, have a great kit and were decent in the late 80s and early 90s. Who can name more than two current Samp players (i.e. someone who is not Cassano or Pazzini)?

Dynamo Kiev have Champions League pedigree, but they're no Ajax - and they haven't got Martin Jol in charge.

Of course, the big guns may yet arrive at White Hart Lane, but whatever the outcome of the draw today, it can only be a bit of a disappointment.

Redknapp's task will now be to ensure at all costs that last season's long hard slog was not merely for a couple of games against mediocre opposition and that they prolong their first involvement in Europe's premier club competition since 1961-62 long enough to welcome some of the continent's biggest clubs to North London.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "With the ink barely dry on Ben Haim's contract, club officials stepped up their bid to secure a fifth signing this close-season and hope to have the deal finalised within the next 72 hours. The potential recruit is a young international, who represented his country with distinction at the 2010 FIFA World Cup." West Ham get their fans all excited about a potential new recruit at the beginning of the week, only to shatter hopes with yesterday's announcement: "West Ham United are delighted to announce the capture of New Zealand FIFA World Cup defender Winston Reid."

FOREIGN VIEW: The French World Cup saga rumbles on with Nicolas Anelka revealing what really went on during his 'dressing room rant' at Raymond Domenech. "The coach said to me, 'Damn, Nico, I've told you to stop dropping back and stay up front'," Anelka said. "I told him if I stay there, I do not get a touch of the ball and said, 'Stop telling me to stay up front. I won't stay up front'. At that moment my head was gone. I wasn't even listening to what he said. He said, 'Go, it's fine, leave'. I said, 'No problem'. Patrice Evra said to the coach he should not react on a whim and make me leave. Again, the coach didn't listen." ED isn't entirely sure, but it seems unlikely that such an amicable argument led to the implosion of Les Blues' World Cup hopes.

COMING UP: The Champions League draw will be live at 11:00am today - find out Spurs' fate by watching proceedings in Nyon here and with our flashy live draw application thing. Same deal with the Europa League play-off which draw starts at 12:30. Jim White will be along this afternoon with his thoughts on the latest goings-on in the football world and of course, the new Championship season kicks off tonight, with Norwich playing Watford at 19:45 - we'll have full live text commentary on the clash at Carrow Road.

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