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12 May 2021

Why is Harry Kane still at Spurs? I can think of 20 reasons

When Harry lies awake at night, turning it all over and over, perhaps he sees the news at the end of the season – Harry Kane, player-manager!

By Hunter Davies

Alorra mysteries this season. Is Richarlison of Everton a spoiled brat or is it that he can’t help his moaning-minnie face? Why does Gary Neville say wing-ger as if there is hard g in the middle? Why did Mourinho get the push at Spurs?

The last is easy to explain. It was me wot did it. Oh yes. Just a week after I wrote in this very space, no up a bit, down a bit, that’s it, spot on, suggesting that Daniel Levy had been a total eejit to hire him, guess what, José gets his cards.

[see also: Mourinho was always a bad choice for Spurs, but I know better than to despair]

But the biggest mystery of all this season, and for the last two seasons really, is why is Harry Kane still at Tottenham?

Captain of England, heading to be the Prem’s leading scorer once again, in his prime at 27, highly ambitious, hugely admired around the world, why has he stayed so long at Spurs, in a really boring middling side with a lot of middling to useless players?

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1) His wife won’t let him.

2) His mum won’t let him.

3) He’d miss Essex too much.

4) Fear of abroad and all those funny foreigners eating funny food and speaking funny. That was what kept generations of our best players on these shores in the past – surely Harry is not like that?

5) Daniel Levy’s asking price is too much.

6) No one really wants him now – too old, ankles too dodgy.

7) He can’t go – he has signed a contract until 2024.

8) He likes being a big fish in a middling pool.

9) He has tried, but he and his wife can’t find a suitably huge house. He did spot one on the internet with a helicopter pad, saunas, disco, hookah bar, theatre, church, and arboretum, with gold taps everywhere – a snip at one hundred billion rubles, property of a Mr Putin, but his wife Katie said nah, Harry, it’s too John Lewis.

10) He did fancy Barca at one time, till they started playing rubbish, though not quite as rubbish as Spurs.

11) Katie did fancy Rome, for all that old architecture, then Roma got a new manager and Harry said no way, José.

12) Man United has appealed, but the kids would grow up speaking Manc.

13) He did sign a sort of contract with Real Madrid, after a secret meeting in a motorway service station with a supposed agent, but his Labradors ate the paperwork, including phone numbers.

14) Man City sounds good. They are bound to win lots of pots in the next few years, but they have done pretty well so far without a centre forward.

15) In fact, have strikers had their day? Has he waited too long, become obsolete before he has peaked?

16) Really, it would be nice to stay at Spurs, beat Jimmy Greaves’s all-time record of 266 goals in 379 appearances. At 164 goals in 239 games, Harry will surely equal it.

17) Then they will erect a brass statue of him in White Hart Lane, to be admired for centuries to come. He must be here to see that.

18) He is holding on because young Ryan Mason is only passing through as interim manager. Spurs won’t tempt another super celeb manager as they haven’t got the money and won’t be playing in Europe next season, probably never again, so when Harry lies awake at night, turning it all over and over, he sees the news at the end of the season – Harry Kane, player-manager!

19) Then, as captain of Ingerland’s Euro 2020 winning team this summer, he gets knighted by the Queen. Arise Sir Harry, for services to football and his country. He has to stay here now, out of loyalty. He is the first player to be knighted while still playing since Stanley Matthews in 1965 – though by then Matthews was playing for Stoke reserves and about to turn 50. Harry is nobbut a lad.

20) Gareth Southgate goes to the House of Lords – and Sir Harry becomes player-manager of England too. Beat that, Sir Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Greaves. Then he wakes up… 

“London Parks” by Hunter Davies is published by Simon & Schuster

[see also: A long retirement is the price footballers pay. Is 15 years of glory worth 50 years of emptiness?]

This article appears in the 12 May 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Without total change Labour will die