The one-club man has become something of a mythologised legend, all the more cherished for its contemporary scarcity. Sticking with one club demonstrates loyalty above money, and a prophetic purity. Harry Kane’s departure (if or when it comes to fruition), and ‘failure’ to live up to such lofty ideals, should not taint his image in the eyes of Tottenham Hotspur fans.
Harry Kane’s Departure: Club to Blame
Kane Has Been Amicable With His Notice
If he does secure a move away this summer, most fans would wish him the best, and good luck. The player has appropriately conducted himself. He hasn’t threatened to down tools, nor has he thrown a tantrum – unlike most players he applauded the fans after the final home game of the season. Irritation at his departure should be directed at the structure, not the player.
He has given the club ample time to resolve a situation of their own making. Daniel Levy’s penchant for last-minute negotiations is well documented. But in this instance, it would prove counterproductive to all parties.
Spurs Rebuild Exacerbated by Harry Kane’s Departure
With a monumental rebuilding task in store for whoever takes over, such uncertainty would undermine pre-season cohesion and the foundations of the new manager’s philosophical project. Not knowing how much money, or indeed if there will be any, from the potential Kane sale makes player acquisition that more difficult.
Kane himself would almost certainly prefer to do without the unknown dogging his European Championship campaign. This is made all the more pressing by his captaincy, a position never afforded to him by Tottenham. That’s despite his leadership qualities demonstrated on England duty and his homegrown, in-house development. It’s even more baffling in light of Hugo Lloris’ drink-driving escapade.
Taking it Personally
Fans would never change their allegiances, even at the lowest pits of despair. They project their hopes, aspirations and ideals onto the players. So for home-grown players that grow up supporting the club, such errant want-away desire can smack of betrayal.
But from when they walk into the training centre and onto the pitch, they cannot act like fans. It would do a disservice to the club to act in a similarly hot-headed and often irrational manner, and that goes throughout a career.
This isn’t to completely nullify such feelings, and any move must be conducted with the utmost sensitivity. Done in the wrong fashion, such a move could smack of moral duplicity. Tottenham fans still have an axe to grind with Sol Campbell after his move to Arsenal on a free transfer. Similarly, Kane’s departure, if he were to go to Chelsea, would cast all good feelings asunder.
Jimmy Greaves successfully navigated his way from West to North London (via a brief Milanese sojourn), and even onto West Ham United in 1970. But fan positions have entrenched, and rivalries strengthened in that time. What’s more, Tottenham are no longer the ‘bigger’ club in London that they were in the 1960s, adding to concerns about sell-outs or ‘betrayal’.
The Blame Game Over Kane
The failure is not Kane’s. With three Golden Boots and a Playmaker Award throughout his Premier League career, it’s hard to identify what more he could have done. The responsibility falls on the club, its inability to resource appropriately, and on the managers that have seen Kane progress.
Jose Mourinho’s defensive obsession is well known, and it hindered the team’s ability to build on and around Kane’s latent talent. But some of the blame has to go to Mauricio Pochettino. For all he took the club forward, he negligently ignored the value of the cup competitions. His uninterested attitude meant that there was nothing to materially show for his progress. He failed to satisfy the desire for glory inherent in fans and players alike, particularly at a club renowned for cup success.
The preference from Spurs fans would surely be for a foreign move. It would mean not having to face his prowess demi-annually, nor would his talent be working against Tottenham’s domestic campaign. With the Herculean rebuilding requirements plain to see, it could be a long time before they would face him in Champions League opposition.
Fans have every right to feel disappointed, let down, even angry. But those emotions should be directed at the club, and the structures that failed to produce a side worthy of retaining the lifetime services of Harry Kane.