Kane Makes Time Stand Still

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Thump thump. The cross, as sudden as it is unexpected, flies into the box.

Thump thump. The header. Kane, twisting backwards, it loops. We are right in line.

Thump thump. Towards the goal that despite Spurs’ frenzied pounding, their midfield dominance, their unceasing creativity, has been breached just once. Time is trickling by. For the first time in the match the level of intensity has dropped, a fraction maybe, to a level that a few weeks ago we could only have dreamed of but today represents a falling away such has been the ferocity of our performance.

Thump thump. This soft header has no place here, amid the fervour and ferment of this dear old ground which has seen it all but seldom seen something like this, the bedlam in the stands, the shaking, the rocking that has energised navy blue and white for one last effort.

Thump thump beats my heart against my chest. This is the game, my club, my team. The Arsenal, the derby and we have taken them on. Umpteen years they’ve finished ahead of us but today, no more. Today, two young men from close to home led the way. Two others came from equatorial heat and Scandinavian chill, a manager from far away, they pulled on a white shirt, looked at the red and fought like the cockerels on their hearts and said: enough.

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Then nothing. At the top of the arc, the ball is still and so are we. Not even the ringing in our ears from the noise, the perpetual accompaniment to this most thrilling of occasions. Everything stops, there is only the ball, shining in the cold north London air. We watch, spellbound.

It floats, gravity defied, no longer subject to the laws of the universe but in its own time and space. For the last 85 minutes, our world has been within these four high grandstands, shutting out the rest, there has been only this. Nothing else matters, only white shirts and navy blue shorts.

Hanging in the air. The cross came as a surprise because Tottenham had been reluctant to cross the ball even when well-placed to do so. After all, there had always been other options. Tirelessly Rose and Walker dashed eagerly into the gaps out wide, to exploit any space and take the game to the Arsenal. Inside, Eriksen bobs like a hungry sparrow, head down to the ball up to find the runner, move because being still means danger, down again ball to feet move it on to me down and move it head up and who’s in the space. Alongside him, Dembele, a hunched giant take it off me go on take it I dare you knock me down and I get up go on take it I dare you.

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Nabil Bentaleb struck the cross. Before kick-off he looked at his team mate Ryan Mason and said, you know what, we’re going to show that lot a thing or two. A couple of World Cup winners, a team of internationals, we’re going to show them how to play. Never gave them an inch.

It floats. We had waited for it to stop, the running, the pressing, the passing and the moving. We would have been grateful, thankful for what we had seen and what they had already given. The tackles, the blocks, the running always the running so Arsenal had been penned back in the own half for much of the game, immobilised. Delighted with the movement, not so many chances but the final ball was hard to thread through a disciplined defence. They were all back. After all, they had nowhere else to go. Had to be.

Except it didn’t stop. It floats and the game is a blur of creative energy, it was exhausting to watch. They never let up. Never stopped trying something, and I’ve not seen anything like it for many a long season.

The ball is dropping now, so slowly it is bound to be saved. Such a shame. We couldn’t truly enjoy the first half performance because it was tainted. Tainted Tottenham, never get it quite right, always frustration souring the mix. Always a stupid mistake at the back. Vertonghen and Walker argued furiously as they trudged back to the halfway line but it was an old familiar problem, Walker drawn across and leaving his man. Ozil had all the time in the world. Spurs back in it so the second half was rocking and rolling after the ball fell to Kane from a corner and he obliged from a few yards.

Dropping and it must be saved. Dropping and we are in line. Dropping and there’s only crossbar, post and a wide open empty space, what was once as big as the eye of a needle but right in line and suddenly it’s as wide as the Grand Canyon. The goal rushes towards the ball.

Kane places the ball into the corner of the net with the tender care of a jeweller replacing a diamond into velvet. The silence hangs in the air for a moment.

It’s in it’s gone in it’s bloody in stuff them it’s in it’s gone in Kane you beauty have that it’s Kane it’s in. Thump thump.

I’ve missed one north London Derby at White Hart Lane since 1970 although for the life of me I can’t remember why. I couldn’t have been doing anything better because there is nowhere better to be. I can’t recall a better day.

I’m afraid you will have to go elsewhere for a tactical analysis. Spurs Fanatical is my favourite. Sorry but this one transcends analysis. Having said that, I must mention Eric Dier, a callow youth in this company yet totally composed on the day, and his manager Maurico Pochettino who was brave enough to pick him when Fazio and Vertonghen were essential to us turning the corner a couple of months ago.

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You don’t watch the Derby, you feel it. What I recall is the complete and utter absorption in a game that overwhelmed the senses. The noise level was astounding, I could not hear myself think at times. I’d say it was like the old days except it was better. Constant.

At the end the players did an impromptu half-lap of honour. The moments a few seconds after the whistle blew and they begun to realise what they had achieved were a joy to behold. Harry Kane cut a solitary figure, slowly walking past the Shelf to receive his applause, taking it all in. He was clearly emotional, close to tears of joy. Supporters and players together. One influences the other, on the good days you can’t tell where one starts and the other ends. The greatest achievement of these young players and their manager is to banish seasons of growing alienation and close the gap between fans and the club. We’re in this together and we the fans have every reason to be proud. It’s been a privilege to be at, to feel, some great games at White Hart Lane. This is right up there with the best. Very proud.


49 thoughts on “Kane Makes Time Stand Still

  1. An excellent read as always. A brilliant performance by the lads yesterday, even more enjoyable because of the feeling that we are witnessing the start of something. Dreary Tottenham, trudging through the drudgery of the early season have developed into an unexpected thing of joy and beauty to behold. The future is bright with Harry Hotspur and his bad of brothers.


    • Exactly, the contrast with earlier in the season and the fact that we could be in at the beginning of something made the atmosphere all the better. Regards, Alan


  2. A tremendous result. And yes – this game is one you feel not watch. Very well put.

    Stick with and support Poch, build a team around Academy players and over the next few years we could do something special.


  3. Marvellous Alan, thanks.

    I love that photo of Kane, Rose, Bentaleb and Mason. Reflects your last paragraph rather well, Alan. We have beaten them a few times in recent years, but we completely owned them yesterday, ran all them over on the pitch and with the support in the stands. Well done to all concerned.


    • Ta, pleased you liked it. Normally I go for action shots but this time the celebrations told the story. Great all-round performance.

      Regards, Alan


  4. A game of football …Heaven sent!
    Plaudits to Poch, Harry and all our lads ..but Mason was our leader on the battlefield yesterday.
    I can’t remember a time when we had such an all-action and committed display from one of our midfielders ..even though, my respect for every one of our midfielders, even Paulinho, is growing weekly. Eriksen and Mason have changed a bland mindset in the middle of the park, and made determined winners of all those challenging for a spot.
    Moreover, this squad seems determined to drag themselves up to the heights that we, as fans, hope and long for ..not just to the heights we demand and expect.
    There is, once again, a tangible Glory in all this ..but we need now to treat ALL opponents as if they were Arsenal and Chelsea.
    Our quality, tactical understanding, energy and lack of fear are no longer problems ..but we must seek to dominate more often, and beware our predilection for complacency.


    • ..starting with Liverpool tomorrow. Remember how they tore into us earlier in the season – that’s what we have to produce tomorrow. And the next time, and the next…


  5. Thump thump Alan!!
    My head is still thumping with emotion 😁
    So so proud of our team and, most of all our academy players Harry Kane, Mason, Bentelab( what a Hoddle of a pass)and Rose. The fight they showed lead the others to follow that spirit they had. Dier another legend in the making and future England centre back for sure.
    Great write up as usual Alan.


  6. God spot on mate, also felt like time stood still when Kane scored that winner. An atmosphere that I can’t recall in 30 years of going to WHL. Loved it. Will live long in the memory


  7. Alan, cheers for dropping us right into the cauldron of WHL! Over here, we had 90 of us LA Spurs at the Greyhound — actually 89, for some inexplicable reason, one dude in red! — and after the game one of us phoned the Fox & Hounds, the other firm’s tiny local, and we sang on his phone, “Norf London is ours!” You know the rest. Since day one, I haven’t shaken my belief in this manager and his philosophy — he rarely singles out an individual, preferring to talk about them in the context of his increasingly exciting, high pressing, energetic system. Bentaleb sweated blood, clearing balls, stretching, scratching, (alongside high energy Mason making his dangerous runs into the other box) and then that sweet cross for HurriKane. Lamela not scoring but leading that press from the front, making several dispossessions — just don’t sense that Azza was up to it. That photo of The Boss pounding his chest. ‘Arry making that impromptu lap of honour. There will be some hiccups along the way, but bring in some more players who buy into this exciting way of playing and next season, we’ll be a very competitive team. Oh when the Spurs… 😉


    • Totally agree with the pressing and what it can acheive and none more than Lamela who tackled amazingly,with Bentelebs strong arm,Dembeles power and Masons never say die attitude


  8. Loved the write up Alan, summed up my emotions perfectly.
    I was fortunate enough to be at the old Wembley stadium when Gazza’s free kick flew past Seaman’s groping hands all those years ago, and never thought that I’d feel such elation celebrating a goal again.
    I remember a bloke beside me falling down the steps of the Olympic Gallery before returning bruised to his seat. He didn’t feel a thing.
    Neither did I as I slammed my big toe into the leg of the coffee table when Kane’s header looped past the groping hand’s of what’s-his-name yesterday.
    Distance means nothing at such moments, I was SO there with you all.
    Still grinning despite my aching digit.


  9. I hope to God that that pounding on Lloris’s chest or rather his heart lasts.In some ways I feel it does.We have seen so many kissing of the badges and players leaving there is always some doubt. Lloris strikes me as one though who has the strongest of minds.he is a player that has kept his own standard while the the last few season’s projects have be on and off and on and on. He is so lionhearted you would like to think that he would stay. This was Kane’s game as so eloquently you put it and it was another few routine saves that kept us in the hunt of all three points while Kane brought his magic. Between those two was a brilliant support group,all of whom offered hear and soul and determination. I cant say enough about the resurgence of Dembele. The new trimmer down uber Dembele who now looks more like Yaya than Hudd and who owns thge centre in the minutes he plays.Mason,scrappy at first but forever focused,Benteleb the child man,who stood tall all game.The backs who frustrate us but make us breathless too with their speed and fight and at the top of the pile just on top of the star,Kane,is the Director and producer,Poch.
    This is a total system and everyone played their parts.It was critical.They had to. It was the system that Poch built and they played it to a T (give me an Oh!)
    I watched the game twice.I still have shivers. What fight,what coherence,what beauty…what Tottenham?
    Yes Tottenham.
    They simply outplayed and outgunned the Gunners.
    So many times over the last years we’ve handed them the keys in the final 5 minutes.This season the end has been ours but this game we owned 90% of it..
    I love Tottenham I really do but when they play the beautiful game and they play it with soul nothing is better.


    • It was a great day, worth watching twice. If this is Tottenham in the future…now there’s a thought to send shivers down the spine. Cheers Ron


  10. Great piece, absolutely superb. If I’m allowed one criticism it would be to never accentuate the name of that lot by preceding it with “the”.



    • landy,I have to say The Arsenal (L’arse) and The Spurs were always endearing terms for me….it was from many moons ago. my fathers time.He hated them but still called them the Arsenal.


    • You are allowed – I’m old and that’s how it comes out, been told off before about that by my son! I’ll try not to let it happen again.

      Thanks, kind of you. Regards, Alan

      Liked by 1 person

  11. i totally agree with you in ever aspect of this article. Dier, Lamela, Mason, Kane, Eriksen & Bentaleb ha Just turned 20+ years and they played like veterans. What a future this team has.. The whole team performed like champions for a full 90min, cred to Poch and his staff also.


  12. Fantastic piece Alan, thank you. Another blissful weekend. Even Levy looked contented, although he still couldn’t quite bring himself to smile broadly. Have we finally assembled a group of young players who have that mental fortitude we have been lacking for so long? That arrogance and swagger that you need to mix it with the best, while still remaining grounded and humble. It’s still early days but it does appear that this group is special. If only some of the stardust imbuing our front line players could be sprinkled over the second string for the rest of the season, Soldado in particular.


  13. A great write up and what a thrill it was to be there on Saturday. Sometimes it’s easy to forget why we go to football week after week but Saturday… To see Kane run to our corner knowing it means as much to him as it does to me; to know that we outplayed them and there could be no justified complaints. That was special. To see the players feed on the support of the crowd and the crowd respond to the genuine effort and determination of the team. That was special too.
    There are too many matches that fail to register in the memory, forgotten by the time we’ve got home. Saturday, that was Wembley ’91 – Gascoigne, Lineker, a day of utter magic.


  14. The fact that the pressing game worked perfectly in this one is so profound in summing up the victory and of course Kane’s brilliance.


  15. Alan, the ball is still hanging in the air for me, just like your superb piece above. You caught the mind and soul of the supporters. As I read I was imagining the suspended ball with so many hearts momentarily pausing and willing it on to its intended goal…


    • That’s very kind, try to capture what these games mean for fans. from where I sat, the ball really did seem to stop in the air. I watched the replay and of course the people behind the goal saw it was in all the way!


  16. As you so brilliantly articulated Alan, the shear power of the Lane could be felt thousands of miles through that NBC feed, it was a maelstrom of noise and I swear I could feel my living room shaking. There is something so incredibly gratifying about seeing this team succeed through the hard scrabble work of these young men, oh how far have we come from the Nabil bashing of last year, how many of us were routing for Ivory Coast to knock out Algeria, so he could start the derby. That cross was perfection, enough pace to allow Harry to cushion it in over the cement shoed Ospina, who looked unsure of himself all day. Mason was solid, working hard and marking back, sometimes trying to thread that needle too much but atleast he is always moving forward, pressure pushing up, Poch Koolaide in hand. Kane has such a presence, an uncany knowledge of space and movement, he is at the back post when we needed him, he is constantly making the intelligent run and his passing eye is very sharp, at 21 years he is a mature thinker. Although my favorite feature is his ability to play the hold up role, the outlet and subsequent maintance of possession is beautiful to watch, I swear he has gotten faster. Lastly Dembele, holding the ball, fight off defenders with power, he breaks the legs of the best of them, man he would make a great point guard.
    Alan I know at some point the run will end, laws of physics and all, but god this has been fun to watch, there something genuine and honest about this team, why do I feel like it is some “Field of Dreams” , playing just to play, for a kickup with your mates if you will.
    Thanks for your time


    • Several friends of this blog flt the earth move from thousands of miles away. Sums up what it meant. ‘genuine and honest’ – not something you could say about many PL teams, I’m convinced the closer relationship between fans and players helped create this stonking atmosphere.

      Cheers, Alan


  17. Absolutely brilliantly written…about as brilliant as the actual match. Yes , everything hung on that balls trajectory.
    You and your heartbeat idea captured it. Keep writing – dear Mr Levy has real competition now! ! !
    Colin morris….


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