Harry Kane would be sorely tempted by Man Utd or Bayern summer transfer after another Tottenham trophy failure

Harry Kane would be sorely tempted by Man Utd or Bayern summer transfer after another Tottenham trophy failure

IT is 32 years since Tottenham last reached the FA Cup final.

That triumph, blighted by Paul Gascoigne’s self-inflicted knee injury, arrived two years before Harry Kane was born.

Harry Kane faces another trophyless season if Spurs go out of the Champions League next week
Harry Kane faces another trophyless season if Spurs go out of the Champions League next weekCredit: Rex

At Bramall Lane on Wednesday, Kane’s last chance to lift the Cup for his boyhood club might well have passed with the England captain left on the bench until midway through the second half.

Kane turns 30 this summer, is out of contract next year and has no major trophies to go alongside a sackful of personal accolades.

And this workaholic football obsessive would have wanted to face Sheffield United in that fifth-round tie.

He wants to play in every game and values domestic cups more than most of those who have managed him at Spurs.


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For those of us who grew up on Chas & Dave Cup final singles, it is extraordinary to comprehend that Spurs have failed to reach that showpiece in more than three decades. 

Their recent record in the competition is shocking. Defeat by the Blades was their fourth consecutive last-16 exit, following a similar 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough last year, a ridiculous 5-4 defeat at Everton and a shootout loss against the Premier League’s worst team, Norwich, on the night when Eric Dier waded into the stands to confront fans.

Before that came a fourth-round defeat at Crystal Palace, after which boss Mauricio Pochettino — who had made seven changes — admitted domestic knockout competitions were less important than Champions League qualification.

That is the view of chairman Daniel Levy, too.

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But it runs against the Danny Blanchflower ‘glory game’ ethos and it shows a disconnect between ownership, management and the majority of Tottenham’s fanbase.

Spurs haven’t been the mightiest team in the land since they last won the league — ‘in black and white’, as rivals like to point out — in 1961. But for the following 30 years they enjoyed a rich heritage as a Cup team.

That is now all ancient history, Ossie’s Dream a distant memory.

Before their dismal recent run, Spurs lost their last seven FA Cup semi-finals.

But the Spursiness of Wednesday’s defeat was off the scale.
Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom had made wholesale changes but his promotion-chasing Championship side still had enough to defeat a complacent Tottenham.

Antonio Conte has yet to deliver silverware to Tottenham
Antonio Conte has yet to deliver silverware to TottenhamCredit: Reuters

Antonio Conte, soon to return after gallbladder surgery, miscalculated by dropping his club’s  all-time record goalscorer as well as his best defender, Cristian Romero, and Dejan Kulusevski.

Losing in Sheffield was a serious blow, especially as Spurs would have been handed a home draw against Blackburn had they made it to the quarter-finals.

A recent revival, which included victories over Manchester City and Chelsea, has boosted hopes of a top-four finish — but with Liverpool on the rise and Newcastle still dangerous, that is far from guaranteed.

Next week’s Champions League return leg against AC Milan, with Spurs trailing 1-0, has taken on added significance but the  FA Cup represented Tottenham’s best hope of silverware.

Kane will not be happy about Conte’s latest sickbed selection.

Sure, Iliman Ndiaye’s winner arrived after Kane’s introduction and, yes, Spurs lost at Boro last season with their talisman in the starting line-up.

But Tottenham’s chances would have improved had Kane started. His replacement, Richarlison, is yet to score for Spurs in domestic competition.

It was a desperate night for Spurs in Sheffield
It was a desperate night for Spurs in SheffieldCredit: Getty

Kane has refused to rule out a summer move and with Spurs almost certain to rack up a 14th consecutive trophyless season, he will be sorely tempted if Manchester United and Bayern Munich make their expected summer moves for him.

Might winning the FA Cup have made the difference in persuading Kane to stay? Quite possibly, yes. He is an old-fashioned glory man.

Kane tried to leave 18 months ago and the smart money is on him trying again, knowing it will be Tottenham’s last chance to cash in on him this coming summer.

The England skipper has carried Spurs for years. They have punched above their weight since he arrived in the first team, largely because of his goals, assists and all-round presence.

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With Newcastle’s rise, Spurs are now the seventh richest club in the Premier League. By rights they should be a Europa Conference League side.

Without Kane, they are likely to sink into that sort of territory. And defeat at Bramall Lane might not have been merely a one-off humiliation — it may spell the beginning of the end of the Kane era.


Dave Kidd

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