Proving once again that there can be no Spurs parade so large that it can’t be rained upon, world class football pundit Phil Neville has declared us to be a “nearly club” and for our striker and talisman ever to be considered truly world class or win a Ballon D’Or, he must set out for greener pastures.
Bollocks. And bollocks again for his brother. What we fans must understand—for believe me, Harry Kane already does—is that Neville’s supposed advice has nowt to do with Kane and his ambition, nowt to do with the hierarachy of European football, nowt to do with the actual future of Real Madrid and Barcelona, nowt to do with anything but the one thing he and so many others in England are deathly afraid of. And that is the simple fact that Spurs are now at the level of the other Big Five clubs, and in many ways headed past them. The Nevilles, the Mersons, the Chapmans, and so many other Gooners, Blues, Mancunians have brains, psyches and world views that will not allow the words “Tottenham Hotspur” to enter in any other way but disdain and dismissal.
So before we get to the two Spanish giants, let’s consider the evidence. In twelve months time, which Premier League club will have a) the most modern stadium in the country; and b) a multi-year arrangement with the NFL? Not United. Not City. Not Chelsea. Not Liverpool. Not Arsenal. Over the past two seasons, which Premier League club has contended for the title—through April—each year? Not United. Not City. Not Chelsea. Not Liverpool. Not Arsenal. Which Premier League club has fielded the youngest starting XI over that same time? Not United. Not City. Not Chelsea. Not Liverpool. Not Arsenal. In a bevy of truly world class managers—Guardiola, Mourinho, Klopp, Conte, Wenger—which club over two seasons has seen theirs best four of the five others, including two in multiple years? Not United. Not City. Not Chelsea. Not Liverpool. Not Arsenal. Which club has earned the most points, by double digits, of any Premier League side over those two years? Not United. Not City. Not Chelsea. Not Liverpool. Not Arsenal. And which club became only the fourth side in league history to amass over 85 points with a +60 goal difference? Not United. Not City. Not Chelsea. Not Liverpool. Not Arsenal.
So the counterargument goes: “You haven’t won silverware. Your wages are too low. You’re Tottenham.” If after the next, say, three seasons, that first sentence is still true, I will run to the highest hill and scream out “we’re not world class and never will be!”. I simply do not believe that Mauricio Pochettino and this collection of players will fail to win a trophy. And he has said, so eloquently, you can have all your Europa League, League and FA Cup silver, we’re going for the big two. As for the wages, we will find out soon enough if Daniel Levy’s model, which has only produced the most successful Spurs campaigns in more than fifty years, will not allow for the growth of the club and be able to retain the vast majority of the current team through their prime years. So far the only big sale of the Pochettino era is Kyle Walker, who has already been replaced by a younger, cheaper and perhaps better alternative in Serge Aurier.
As for Real Madrid and Barcelona, history tells us that they will continue to sit at or near the top of world football, long after CR7 and Leo Messi are gone. But the time when those two superstars begin to decline in influence may already be upon us. It seems more likely that we will enter a period when several other clubs, including English clubs, will compete for Champions League titles on at least a semi-regular basis. The four victories and a draw—and the size of the victories—earned by the five PL clubs the last two days suggests that the European malaise for the Premier League may now be over. Why would Kane want to be Bale—who after all left a team that had needed his brilliance to only barely finish fourth twice—or even Beckham, who was a brand more than a player when he left United for Real Madrid? If Kane is approaching their level, and that of Rooney (in his prime), Gerrard, Shearer, Law, Charlton, Keane or any other great British player save the greatest of all, Georgie Best, as I believe he is, why not plant your flag in home soil? Why not realise your ambitions where you are grounded? Loved?
He’s one of our own. And our own is…… wait for it…. About to become.. world class.
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