Just out of interest, in the past 10 years I believe we've spent more time in the PL than in the Championship, so when do you guys feel that we can become a team whose aim for the season is to finish within the top 10 and not be concerned about avoiding the drop?
As Lee said, never. We are a medium sized club without a financial backer. There are not many clubs who are guaranteed to stay up and even a few you would expect to be safe have come close in years gone by.
Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and now Man City are all guaranteed survival due to the amount they spend every year. Villa and Everton, as well as Newcastle can all consider themselves very safe bets although the first 2 have come close in the last 10-12 years to going down and Newcastle did so nothing is every guaranteed. That's 8 clubs who are safe. Clubs like Sunderland with their investments and maybe QPR and Fulham may be able to look at Europe every now and then because they have outside investment and either a big fan base or london money. They are still not safe from the drop though. So, survival will always be the first point to look at every season, just like over half of the premier league.
Aiming above 10th is also very difficult. Ashworth explained the club feel it would cost 30 million to move from 12th place to 8th place on a regular basis and that is financial suicide because the money for moving 4 places isnt worth it. We may have a lucky season but it is unlikely we will ever finish any higher than 8th and realistically, 10th is probably as high as we will finish.
That is why I think as a club we need to have a look now we have reached our pinnacle at how else we give the club a purpose. Mowbray made the point when he said that only 1 team can win the league every year and maybe 2 teams can win the cups but after that the rest have to settle for winning nothing and he felt we were "the rest". Thats why he thinks teams should try to entertain and I agree to a point. I think we need to look to be a bit more expansive to give the club a purpose and keep to our tradition. If not, we are just the person working 7 days a week to stay alive (I always wonder if it is worth it - life is for living etc).
I also feel, contrary to the cubs disappointing belief, that we should try to win a cup. Maybe only target 1 cup every year, be that League or FA cup (id say League for now) and that can be our tilt for silverware. It is hard as clubs like Newcastle (no major for nearly 60 years), Everton (no major for 17 years) or Villa (nothing for 16 years), have all struggled, but we should at least try. We would be selling out on our history if we did not focus on cup competitions.
As for looking at a European place as the aim for the season, I think we setting ourselves up for a fall because there are 7 spots and there are 7 teams with huge budgets.