TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES

So, Kane took his FIFA stats 'personally' then

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Netflix’s The Last Dance, a documentary that chronicled Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, spawned the ‘I took that personally’ meme. The basics of the meme are thus: Jordan zeroes in on any – perceived or otherwise – slight on him to use that as motivation for his continued excellence. Harry Kane’s exploits in the early part of the 2020-21 season indicates he may have channelled his inner Jordan and taken his FIFA stats to heart.

“Maybe the passing will go up after this season. We will see what happens,” shrugged Harry Kane when presented with his FIFA rating earlier in October (see below for the disdain).

It is important to state at this point that FIFA ratings are an utter nonsense. A cynic would perhaps suggest that some players are given deliberately provocative stats to generate outrage and thus free publicity for the game.

However, if said stats are to be taken at face value - and it appears, considering the annual social media furore from players, they are taken as such - Kane's 80 for passing seems a little light, especially considering the forward came through the youth team at Spurs as more of a number 10 than an out-and-out scorer.

Perhaps Kane - to coin a phrase - has taken this statistical slight 'personally' and set about setting the record straight. The England forward is already on course to obliterate the current record of 20 assists – held jointly by Thierry Henry and Kevin De Bruyne - in a Premier League season, with his knock-down to Heung-min Son making it eight in just six games. What is more likely is that Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has designed a tactical framework that extracts even more from Kane's abundance of talent, and, for that, both men deserve huge credit.

It was only a matter of months ago that there were murmurings that after another injury - this time a hamstring tear - Kane's best days, certainly physically, were behind him. Yet, in a theme consistent to his career, he has proved doubts around him to be unfounded. The England captain continues to evolve, continues to get better and that speaks to an elite-level mindset. It looks as though Kane has been taking things personally for much of his career.

'We're not title contenders' says Mourinho despite Spurs win at Burnley

Can Gareth Bale do it on a...

...cold, wet night in Burnley? Probably. But he didn't have to on Monday as Mourinho elected to keep him on the bench for Tottenham's 1-0 win against Sean Dyche's side.

One player who can do it in pretty much any condition, on any given evening is Son, with the South Korean international grabbing his eighth goal of the campaign with 75 minutes gone. To put that into context, he has now scored as many goals or, more than, nine Premier League teams.

Arsenal and Man City have each scored eight goals this season.

Ashley is right about PPV

2020 has been a discombobulating year, and, with each passing day, its weirdness seems to deepen. Monday October 26 almost passed without something very odd happening... but then Mike Ashley happened. The Newcastle owner, hardly revered for his consideration of fans, appeared to step forward with a zinger of a statement aimed at the Premier League after - check notes - considering the plight of fans.

Michael James Wallace Ashley stated that the current pricing model for pay-per-view matches in the Premier League was "not acceptable to any football fan".

The statement, published on Newcastle's website, began as follows:

"I am calling on the Premier League to immediately act and review its current pay-per-view arrangements for live matches in the UK.

Charging £14.95 for single televised matches in the current climate it is not acceptable to any football fan.

"Supporters have overwhelmingly rejected this offer and the Premier League must now act. Why not make it much more accessible at £4.95 per match until Christmas?

"The Government should waive VAT on the above pay-per-view matches so that as many of those who are unable to attend matches in person can at least watch their team."

It all seemed fairly logical but Michael wasn't finished there. Not only did he advocate a reduction in the price but also distributing the profits across the football pyramid.

"The profit from the above reduced-price pay-per-view option, I would suggest that 50% would be retained by Premier League and 50% would go to the football pyramid below," continued the statement.

The above threw up one obvious question. Why vote in favour of such a pricing model if it was not fit for purpose? Well, 2020 Mike had a pre-prepared answer for that.

"As a club, Newcastle United did vote in favour of the pay-per-view proposal, but to be clear, this was because there were no realistic or any viable alternatives put forward to enable supporters to watch matches."

2020. What a year.

IN OTHER NEWS

Maradona is still jabbing at England

On 22 June 1986 at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Diego Armando Maradona scored a goal of unmatched brilliance to help secure Argentina a World Cup quarter-final win against England. This goal, by Maradona's own anointment, would be indelibly linked to the phrase 'the hand of God'.

Now, the other goal in the match, often termed the Goal of the Century, was, well, as the names suggests, arguably the best goal of the century. However, the true genius lay in the first goal as it was not only a feat of engineering but also cunning.

Maradona gave away eight inches in height to England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who stood at roughly 6'1", but managed to get to the ball ahead of the then Southampton keeper after an attempted clearance from Steve Hodge looped up into the air. That in itself was a feat of excellence, but to do so with the use of his hand while concealing the use of the hand from both the referee Ali Bin Nasser and assistant referee Bogdan Ganev Dochev was sheer and utter genius.

Now, it is fair to say that a majority of people do not appreciate said genius for what it was and is. However, it is also fair to say that Maradona still seems pretty pleased with his work - for, when asked by France Football what he wanted for his upcoming 60th birthday, said:

I dream of being able to score another goal against England, this time with the right hand!

Before apparently bursting out laughing. Credit to him, he still retains the willingness to jab at England some 34 years after that quarter-final appearance.

IN THE CHANNELS

Decent goal here from Ebbsfleet United.

RETRO CORNER

Diego Maradona was handy.

COMING UP

Pure, unadulterated Champions League football, starting at 17:55 with Lokomotiv Moscow against Bayern.

Plus, the third Grand Tour of the season - the Vuelta a Espana - continues unabated. Glorious.

Tomorrow Ben Snowball will be here, who will be taking all of the above as a personal slight.

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