All in the Game: Harry Kane statue stuck in storage - and he’s sanguine about it

Duffer gets trapped in the ladies’ toilet; Ten Hag keeps a straight face; de Jong’s slow delivery; Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder’s costly remarks

When it rains it pours for Harry Kane. It’s not that he’s been goal-shy since he joined Bayern Munich; he’s scored mountains of them – including two more on Saturday to bring his season’s tally to 31 in all competitions, which is half decent. But it’s just his luck that he would move to Germany in pursuit of trophies only for the club’s quest for a 12th league title in a row to be teetering on the brink thanks to Bayer Leverkusen. “It’s a horror movie that won’t end,” as his team-mate Leon Goretzka described Bayern’s recent form.

So, all Kane needed to lower his mood further was to hear that the statue of him commissioned by Waltham Forest Council in 2019 is now covered in cobwebs after being hidden in storage since its completion.

The life-size figure, which rather controversially depicts him sitting on a bench, cost £7,200 and, according to the BBC, was to be placed on a platform in a train station in Kane’s native Chingford. So what’s up? Not the statue, alas. The proposal to install it in the station was rejected following a risk assessment carried out by Transport for London – which, perhaps, was wary of sledgehammer-wielding Spurs fans.

“£7,200 up the Swanee. It’s a joke – but it’s not funny,” angry Chingford resident Trevor Calver told the Beeb. Kane, mercifully, is more chilled about it all. “A statue is a statue, it’s not something that’s going to make or break my career,” he said a while back when asked about being the subject of such an honour. A statue in Chingford or a Bundesliga and Champions League title? Tough choice.


Word of Mouth I

“If there’s one thing Pep Guardiola can’t stand it’s bad behaviour and being overweight. The same thing happened to Cancelo at Valencia. He didn’t leave because he played badly, he left because even God couldn’t stand him.”

– Spanish Journalist Lu Martín reflecting on João Cancelo’s career hiccups

“The team showed big character to fight back, we showed big personality and character. You have to see the bigger picture. The bigger picture looks very good.”

– Erik Ten Hag after Manchester United lost at home to Fulham on Saturday, their 10th league defeat of the season. He said it with a straight face too

“Every time I go to Africa I cannot walk. The guys love me. Even in Europe with many African guys, people really love me. To be honest I love the guys. Many of them they call me daddy and some of them are almost my age. I love the guys, I love to work with the African players.”

– José Mourinho, feeling the African love

Damien Duff ‘loitering in the ladies’

Damien Duff was in mighty form during his media chats last week, starting with his revelation that he got stuck in the jacks at Tolka Park last year. “I decided to go to the women’s because I knew they’d be an awful lot cleaner than the men’s. I was in the cubicle and a few women walked in. It was 30 minutes before kick-off and I was stuck for about five minutes until they left. I was just stood there thinking I could give the team talk here.”

What about the prospect of the stadium being refurbished? “Are you going to rip Tolka up? No, it will cost €100 million. But tweak it, a bit of toilet roll, I will be loitering in the ladies – that’s the headline there.”

And his thoughts on the Irish Government contributing €50 million towards the renovation of Casement Park? “Fifty million? How many [Euro 2028] games will it host? Four? Great. We’ll go to the toilet four times. I’d rather it was spent on academies.”

Do you spot the theme here? Yes, toilets. When his Shelbourne side beat champions Shamrock Rovers on Friday night, surely there was a “Duffer flushed with success” headline somewhere? Mind you, he also revealed that his wife dreads the headlines after his media chats. When she turns on her phone and sees them? “‘What have you said now? F***ing shut up.’” Never change, Duffer, never change.

Word of Mouth II

“He takes too long to pass the ball forward. Frenkie de Jong plays football like a postman.”

Why is former Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart dragging postal workers in to his criticism of de Jong? No clue.

By the Numbers: 9,434

The minutes Republic of Ireland players have racked up in the Premier League this season after Saturday’s games, according to @irish_abroad, already 111 more than all of last season. Progress.

Fine of the week

Probably the £11,500 penalty handed out by the English Football Association to Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder for comments he made about the officials after last month’s defeat by Crystal Palace.

“It’s yet again another ridiculous performance from the referee,” he said. “Every 50/50 or tight decision goes against us. I’ve been to see the referee. One of his assistants was eating a sandwich at the time, which I thought was a complete lack of respect. Hopefully he enjoyed his sandwich while he was talking to a Premier League manager.” You could buy a lot of sambos for £11,500.

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Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times