NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 52
Submitted by Norman Giller
Stop trying to pigeon-hole Harry Kane
Hope you don’t get a neck ache reading this, because I’m coming to you from cloud nine. Happiest of happy New Years to you all, or should that be Happiest of Harry New Years? What an unbelievable start, and let me kick off 2015 by asking everybody to please stop trying to pigeon-hole and label Our Harry Kane.
In all my sixty-plus years watching Tottenham I have not seen anybody quite like him. Some say he’s the new Bobby Smith, others the new Martin Chivers, some liken him to Clive Allen, others to Jurgen Klinsmann, real old timers go for Len ‘The Duke’ Duquemin, and I have seen him called the new Greavsie.
Well, they are all wrong. He is not a new anybody. He is the one and only Harry Kane. Let’s all remember it is early days and we must not lumber him with the weight of expectancy. Just sit back and enjoy watching him develop.
The new Bobby Smith? He stood just 5ft 9in, seemed as wide as he was tall, and was much more muscular than Harry in an era when brute force was accepted as part and parcel of the game. Like Harry, Bobby had a lot of method as well as muscle to his game, but there the comparison ends. Bobby was a bulldozer, while Harry is more excavator.
Harry is not quite as well chiselled as big Chiv, but when at full gallop he is quicker than Martin and more willing to get physically involved than the often-subdued Hampshire Adonis.
Clive Allen was smarter and sharper in the box than young Harry, but did not have his physical presence.
Jurgen Klinsmann was a ring-worn warrior by the time he arrived at Tottenham, and so we did not see him with Harry’s youth and exuberance.
Len Duquemin was a biff-bang-wallop centre-forward out of the old school, a real powerhouse but lacking the subtleties we are seeing bubble to the surface in Harry’s game.
As for being like Greavsie, it’s like comparing a banjo with a violin. Harry has plenty of pluck, but is not a Jimmy-style virtuoso. Jimmy stood 5ft 8in, weighed 10st 7lbs in his peak years, had a low centre of gravity and rarely sweated for his goals. He was all style and guile.
But Harry has recently been matching his remarkable goals ratio.
Our Harry is still laying the foundations to his career, but all the signs are that he will become a legend of the Lane to match any of those mentioned above. He is like an amalgam of all those great Spurs strikers, yet can’t be compared to any one of them. He has his own style, his own attitude and his own way of playing the game.
Chelsea had no idea how to handle him. Whether he was driving directly at them, shooting on the turn, making decoy runs or battling at set pieces he was always a thought and a deed ahead of vastly experienced defenders like John Terry and Gary Cahill.
Just how good can he become? I have an idea this is just the start, and we are so lucky to be in on the ground floor. But let’s not weigh him down with comparisons – which is fairly hypocritical of me as I have just done that in spades!
There’s only one Harry Kane. And he’s One Of Ours.
It will be all eyes on Turf Moor this evening as Spurs start their challenge for the FA Cup against a team that stands tall in the memories of those of a certain age.
Veteran Spurs fans will recall the sublime 1962 FA Cup final when Spurs retained the treasured trophy with a sweetly chiselled 3-1 victory over Burnley.
Greavsie, at the end of his first season as a Lilywhite after his £99,999 transfer from AC Milan, gave Tottenham the lead with an exquisite third minute goal.
My Greavsie bias coming out as usual after our 20 books together, but I think it rates with the finest goals scored at old Wembley. He was fifteen yards out and passed the ball along the ground into the net through a forest of players’ legs and with all the unerring accuracy of a Jack Nicklaus putt. Jimmy, never one to boast in his playing days, said just before the players left the dressing-room, “I’m going to get an early one today lads.” If it had been a fluke it would have been an outstanding goal, so the fact that he meant it puts it up into the classic category.
The Tottenham team that wonderful day in the springtime of my football reporting career: Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Jones. The names roll off my tongue like old friends and with a rhythm you could set to music … Glory Glory Hallelujah, naturally.
Goals from Bobby Smith and skipper Danny Blanchflower clinched Tottenham’s win after Jimmy Robson had equalised for Burnley. Danny’s goal came from the penalty spot in the 80th minute when Tommy Cummings handled a Terry Medwin shot on the goal-line.
As Blanchflower was placing the ball on the penalty spot his Northern Ireland team-mate and good friend Jimmy McIlroy sidled up to him and said: “Bet you miss.”
Danny did not say a word. He calmly sent goalkeeper Adam Blacklaw the wrong way as he stroked the penalty home. Then, as he ran past Burnley schemer McIlory, he responded: “Bet I don’t!”
The victory earned Tottenham a place in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and the ‘Glory-Glory’ chanting supporters roared them all the way into the final and the famous victory over Atletico Madrid in Rotterdam in May 1963, the first British team to capture a major trophy in Europe. Be proud of your history!
I think the stunning 5-3 victory over Chelsea has gone to my head. If Spurs get through the difficult tie against Burnley – finishing the job at home if necessary – then I will start to dream of another Double … the FA Cup and League Cup.
Ok, feet back on the ground. It’s going to be tough at Turf Moor tonight. But we’ve got Harry ‘King’ Kane!
THE SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE
Yes, the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League! This is a new challenge for all those of you who take part in my Giller Teaser on a regular basis.
From now on I will award three points for each correct answer that you send me, and will throw in bonus challenges for extra points. I will keep a count of your points, and at the end of the season I will announce who has topped the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League table. I will give occasional updates, so watch this space. There will be a suitable prize for the winner at the end of the season.
Your first SOQL question: Who scored two goals for Spurs in an FA Cup semi-final replay and another in the final at Wembley? He joined Spurs from Stoke. That’s for three points, and your bonus challenge: With which club did he have a loan spell while on Tottenham’s books?
Email your answers please to SOQL1@normangillerbooks.com Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond.
I will email a screen version of one of my Spurs books to the sender of the first all-correct answer drawn at random. Come on, let’s have some fun.
Last week I asked: Which future Tottenham player and manager was in Alf Ramsey’s original squad of 40 players for the 1966 World Cup finals. He won two England caps before joining Spurs.
Yes, as most of you worked out, it was Terry Venables, El Tel, who joined Spurs from Chelsea as a player and later returned as manager and then part-owner in the stormy Alan Sugar days.
First name drawn and winner of the last autographed copy of Lane of Dreams is Bradley Mason, of Poole.
Ok, now all eyes on Turf Moor. Harry New Year! COYS
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