Belfast Telegraph

Biting back: Fourth place falls well short of success

By Stuart McKinley

I'm all for judging success in relative terms. For example, I believe that Kevin Keegan, despite never winning a major tophy, was a successful manager.

Newcastle United, Fulham and Manchester City were all in much healthier positions - and higher divisions - when he left compared to where they were when he took over.

Now we know, if we were ever in any doubt in the first place, that nowadays clubs and their managers judge on-field success by how much money they put into the bank.

If any confirmation were needed it came from two of the most high-profile managers in the game ahead of last night's FA Cup quarter-final.

And who is to blame? It's simple, Uefa.

The Champions League is now where it's at and finishing in the top four of the Premier League is giving managers false success.

Years ago, before the Premier League and the Sky Sports billions, only the top three finishers in the old First Division receieved prize money. Fourth was nothing then and to me, it's still nothing.

Both Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger stated that a top-four finish was more important than winning the FA Cup.

If that's the case then answer me this: Have you ever jumped off your seat and punched the air in delight or cracked open the bubbly at your team finishing fourth?

Thought not.

Belfast Telegraph

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