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Harry Kane: Can There Ever Be A Trophyless Legend?

By Derek Ross

Whoever the player is that attracts your weekly adoration you would need to have a petrified heart, devoid of any warmth and impervious to the tender whispers of empathy not to feel some kind of pity for Harry Kane. Despite the England captain, being both his country’s and Tottenham Hotspur’s greatest-ever goal scorer he finds himself on the end of the ongoing accusations of being a failure in the silverware department. I have been mulling this over for some considerable time and, was somewhat reticent to share this revelation in the certain knowledge that mirthful castigation would be certain to rain down on me faster than a Harry Maguire defensive error!

But there must be something going on somewhere among the ethereal clouds in the footballing heavens.  As if the man hasn’t suffered enough from accusations of trophy dodging, we now learn of a missing statue of the great man commissioned by Waltham Forest Council back in 2019. Apparently, it depicted a life-sized Kane sitting on a bench, not something he’s ever been accustomed to, and was planned to be erected at Chingford Overground Station where Kane was brought up.  The £7,200 statue has lain in the council building during the intervening years becoming as anonymous as Eric Dier in a back four!

Harry Kane playing for Bayern Munich

Photo by Bayern Munich FC

Is Harry Kane Cursed?

Anyway, my musings have led me to pose this question. Is Harry Kane experiencing Karma for the sins he must have committed in a previous life? Honestly, the man who would struggle to win first prize in a one-ticketed raffle has suddenly found himself in the middle of a footballing maelstrom that’s usually reserved for anywhere Jose Mourhino works! 

Kane, finally fed up with life as a serial runner-up at Tottenham, jettisoned his spiritual home to alight upon Bayern Munich, Germany’s very own silver mine with eleven consecutive Bundesliga Titles and a collection of serial medalists. The twelfth would surely be a cinch. A German Cup, and a more than even chance of Champions League glory.  Kane’s trophy itch would finally be scratched. The doubters and petty begrudgers would be silenced. And then…

Thomas Tuchel Binned

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The Bayern hierarchy might be willing to overlook certain blips during their usual waltz toward another title. However, losing to teams like the lowly Bochum while Bayer Leverkusen move ever closer to stealing the king’s clothes is not one of them. Unsurprisingly Thomas Tuchel was binned shortly after that defeat, and for falling eight points, currently ten, behind their main rivals, as well as the team’s pallid performances in this season’s Champions League.

The team has managed to reach the last eight of the competition, courtesy of you know who?, but will surely be reaching for an attorney if the quarter-final draw pits them against Real Madrid or Manchester City. More surprisingly however is that Tuchel is to remain in charge for the remainder of the season. I can only surmise that such a decision has been made to ensure that Bayern can squeeze every last drop of dressing room disharmony out of him. Personally, I don’t know anyone who would allow the person who just trashed their home to sleep in the spare room!

And yet, amid this inexplicable chaos, the England captain continues to score with the regularity of Leonardo Di Caprio in an under-twenty-five night club! Sadly, the coveted trophy collection that Kane so desperately covets appears to be fast disappearing over the German horizon!

Can Harry Kane Be Labelled A True Legend Without A Trophy?

Which brings us to the burning conundrum in respect of Harry Kane. Can he be a true legend of the game without a winner’s trophy to his name?   Through the ages, the great players have usually been measured by the number of trophies they have managed to win. However, this simple analysis ignores the fact that this is not the best way to gauge any player’s ability.

On the converse side of this coin are those players who have lifted many trophies while those who have witnessed such unexpected triumphs could only raise their eyebrows. Jose Bosingwa, Djimi Traore, David May and Jesper Blmqvist and a few more. Champions League winners all. Great players?  Erm … NO.

In that context I think we could all agree that greatness and legendary status need not necessarily be conferred by the accumulation of precious metal. If one considers, for example, the Oscars. There is a veritable roll call of legends who have never heard their name at the very end of the sentence, … ‘And the winner of this year’s Oscar goes to…’

Robert Redford, John Travolta, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Richard Burton to name but a few of those acting giants who never became acquainted with filmmaking’s ultimate accolade. None of them are any less great because of it.  

That being said, can a player who has won nothing of any acclaim ever be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Maradona, Pele, Messi and Ronaldo or any of those other eternal legends who amassed vast arrays of trophies throughout their careers bathing in the bouquet of resplendent triumph, suffusing the senses with an ineffable allure that lingers in the soul long after the battle is won? Your correspondent says yes.

In my view, Harry Kane’s status as a great player is not diminished in any way due to his failure, to date, to land a major trophy. Indeed, he is a member of that small but exclusive and niche collection of legends for whom silverware has proven to be as elusive as a military secret at Mar-A-Lago!

Other Legends Without A Trophy To Their Name

George camsell
George Camsell, one of England's greatest ever goal-scorers.

Socrates, the Brazilian midfield maestro should have won the 1982 World Cup with Brazil but didn’t. He never won any league title of any note either. Matthew Le Tissier, or God as the Southampton fans referred to him, was rightly lauded as one of the most skillful players of his generation but couldn’t win an argument. The football aficionados among you will recall the great Tom Finney’s religious loyalty to Preston North End which resulted in never winning him a major trophy.

One of the greatest goalscorers in English, and indeed, world football history, is one George Camsell. George holds the record for the highest goals-to-game ratio for the England national team. This legend spent almost his entire career with Middlesbrough, and once scored 59 league goals and 63 goals in all competitions in a single season, which stands as the second-highest in English football history, behind the great Dixie Dean.

For England, Camsell scored 18 goals in 9 games, averaging two goals every game, which remains a record. Camsell never won a single trophy. And to round off on this particular track Sir Les Ferdinand scored 149 Premier League goals, making him the eighth-highest scorer in the competition’s history. Unfortunately, his goal-scoring prowess never won him a trophy of any description. So, there you go.

I could throw in Giuseppe Signori, or Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank, but I think we need not egg this particular pudding any further. By the way, Roberto Benigni has an Oscar for his performance in the 1997 movie Life is Beautiful, which was arguably more than could be said for his acting performance! 

It’s Not Over

Kane’s brilliant career isn’t done yet. Euro 2024 beckons in Germany this summer. England are among the favourites, and another golden boot would look very nice next to a winner’s medal on his mantelpiece. Maybe, Daniel Levy will trigger the buyback clause and bring Kane back to his spiritual home where he will surely smash Alan Shearer’s premier league goal-scoring record and maybe bring the Ange Postecoglu revolution to a career-defining crescendo.

Whether any of this or none of it happens, Kane is a genuine great of the game and a legend, a striker for whom you would gladly pay double the admission price just to watch him, and a genuinely nice guy to boot.

Derek Ross is an occasional contributor for First Touch. He also writes for Soccer 360 and The Top Flight   

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