It’s that time of year again where trophies are handed out, and some fans get to have their day out at Wembley. But perhaps, more importantly, it’s when we find out who finishes 4th in the Premier League. Or so the managers, pundits and TV companies would have us believe.

For now, it seems the only way to judge whether or not a team has had a successful season, is if they finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

Finances are impressive

The finances are obviously impressive. For instance, Manchester United won £3.4 million for winning the FA Cup in the 2015/16 season.

They also received £12.3 million for going out in the Champions League group stage and into the Europa League that season.

Prestige also comes into it. The top level players all want to play in the continent’s premier club competition. And if clubs are to have any chance of signing these types of players, then they have to be able to dangle the carrot of Champions League football in front of any player. Manchester Utd. being the obvious exception last summer when signing Pogba, Zlatan etc. but that was more against the rule than setting a precedent.

What owners demand from managers

It comes down to what the owners demand from their managers at the start of each season and Champions league qualification is obviously ahead of any trophy hunt.

But this isn’t what football is about. Clubs are moulded by what they’ve won. Their fans remember the cup finals, the year(s) where they were crowned their country’s finest by winning the league. They don’t look back and remember that ‘glorious’ year where they finished 4th!

Take this season for example. Tottenham have been a joy to watch, have a largely English core group of players, and have been put together for a relatively small amount (as opposed to the obscene amounts both Manchester clubs have spent on some average players).

But they still ended the season empty handed.

I’m not saying there’s nothing for Spurs fans to be excited about because there is a new stadium, the average age of the team is young and you can only think they will get better. But they ultimately won nothing. Yet Arsenal, who even if they win the FA Cup, by general consensus will have had a worse season than their North London rivals.

Three domestic trophies

There are only three domestic trophies up for grabs (and no Jose, the Community Shield doesn’t count as a trophy). The Champions League is pretty much beyond our teams at present with the strength and power of the Spanish trio, Bayern Munich, and Juventus. The Europa League is still treated with contempt by our clubs and that’s a story for another article.

Yet you get the sense if you were to offer any of the ‘big 6’ the option at the start of next season, of winning the EFL Cup or finishing top 4? They would all pass on the opportunity of a day out at Wembley and the chance to win an actual trophy, for a top 4 finish.

Don’t let them fool you. Football is about winning trophies. It always has been, and always will be.