First, it’s important to note that what the Daily Mail mean is that they have discovered ‘a football hero Daily Mail readers can be proud of’, as we are pretty sure the rest of England does not withhold hero status from anybody just because they have tattoos or because they met their partner beyond the age of 18.
The firefighter who pulls a child out of a burning building? Nope. Not a hero; he has ‘Mum’ tattooed on his arse.
The police officer who foils an armed robbery and selflessly protects members of the public? Nope. Not a hero; she did not meet her husband until the age of 27 and she has probably had sex with somebody else. The harlot.
Read the criteria, people.
The ‘Shock horror!’ is of course wonderful. And definitely (Raheem Sterling) not a reference (Raheem Sterling) to anybody else (Raheem Sterling) who does not fit (Raheem Sterling) the Daily Mail’s (Raheem Sterling) idea of a hero.
Mediawatch will begin – as is appropriate – with the authors, for it did indeed take two of the Daily Mail’s finest to produce this homage to the perfect Harry Kane. They are David Jones (last published piece: ‘Can the man dubbed too highbrow, polite and middle class for football save us from the usual World Cup humiliation? England manager Gareth Southgate’s father gives the Mail a unique insight’) and Sarah Rainey (last published piece: ‘How many crocodiles had to die to make Posh’s collection of 100 Hermes bags? We estimate 130. Not to mention the 43 ostriches, 780 lambs and three herds of cows that died for the rest of her wardrobe…’).
David and Sarah, we like your work so much that we are going to dissect it almost line by line. Yes, it should make you feel special.
‘His red shirt was darkened with sweat, he was being eaten alive by a swarm of midges that had descended on the humid Volgograd stadium, and, by his own admission, he was ‘absolutely buzzing’ with adrenaline after scoring the last-gasp goal that salvaged the nation’s pride.’
Actually, our pride does not hinge on whether England’s football team gets a draw or a win against Tunisia, but do carry on…
‘Yet on Monday night as the BBC’s pitch-side reporter Gabby Logan thrust a microphone into his angular face and excitedly asked how it felt to have led England to victory in their opening World Cup match, and to have scored twice in the 2-1 win, the captain chose not to glorify his own heroics.’
‘Angular’ has made us laugh too, too much.
‘Instead, switching roles seamlessly, from star striker to footballing ambassador and role model, Harry Edward Kane handed all the credit to his team-mates, praising their ‘togetherness’ and the ‘great bond’ that had developed between them.
‘Such magnanimity is fast becoming a hallmark of the admirable citizen Kane, who won’t turn 25 until July 28th, making him England’s youngest ever World Cup skipper.’
It turns out that neither David Jones nor Sarah Rainey has ever seen a post-match interview before.
And neither David Jones nor Sarah Rainey has ever seen the post-match interview where Harry Kane swore on his daughter’s life that he had touched a ball just so that he could take a goal away from his Tottenham teammate. Such magnanimity.
‘Kane’s gentlemanly values and unabashed patriotism – witness his full-throated rendition of the national anthem before Monday’s match – certainly bring to mind Bobby Moore, his most illustrious predecessor as England captain.’
Sorry, what? Now Mediawatch does not know the exact ages of David Jones and Sarah Rainey (author of Three Ingredient Baking, no less) – and we are prepared to be corrected – but we strongly suspect that they do not have a clear memory of Bobby Moore at 1966 or at any time until his death in 1993.
And as for ‘gentlemanly values’, it is worth noting that Moore was a heavy drinker who left his childhood sweetheart wife for another woman. Though, to be fair, he was not tattooed. So whoop whoop for Bobby M.
‘Here is a man so thoroughly decent that he once spent two hours signing autographs in the car park after training with his club, Tottenham Hotspur. Why? Because, as he says, he was once a Spurs fan himself, and remembers how it felt to be snubbed by one’s idols.’
And no other footballer has ever done that. Not even once. How do we go about getting him canonised?
‘This is a global superstar who still returns to watch his school football team; who represents a charity that preserves London’s green open spaces; speaks out with concern against childhood obesity; spurns nightclubs for the simple pleasure of a family meal at his local curry house in Essex, where a member of staff yesterday told the Mail how he had ‘thrilled’ her son with the gift of a signed football.’
He does sound lovely. But so do hundreds of footballers whose story is not being told in such sickly detail by the Daily Mail. It’s almost like footballers can be actual human beings.
‘In interviews, Kane — not even born when Bobby Moore died in 1993 — says he was inspired by two past England captains when making his way in the game: Wayne Rooney (who, somewhat ironically, gave him advice on the company he should keep) and David Beckham, who hails from the same East London manor, and attended the same school.
‘However, Google the names Rooney and Beckham along with ‘scandal’ and you will find all manner of lurid allegations, playing away from home being the common denominator.
‘Do the same with Kane and one finds only one slur: that he once teased Liverpool supporters over a dubious penalty decision.’
It is worth noting at this juncture that Beckham was only accused of ‘playing away’ for the first time in 2004, when he was almost 29. Harry Kane is still only 24. We are not saying he will be exposed as a womaniser, but we are old enough to remember when the Beckhams were a golden couple and not just a marketing device.
‘When it comes to romance, Harry is strictly a one-woman man. In his teens, he began dating Kate Goodland, an apple-cheeked fitness instructor whom he has known since primary school, and says he could never countenance going out with a lingerie model or C-list celeb.’
‘Apple-cheeked’ has made us laugh too, too much. Of all the bloody adjectives…
‘In a rare moment of self-publicity, last summer he tweeted a photograph of himself going down on one knee to propose to a tearful Kate on a Bahamas beach. She, in turn, posts supportive messages, as well as images celebrating their contented domestic life, on Instagram.
‘Kane is evidently very much the ‘new man’, and Kate is complimentary of his dedication as a fiance and father.’
‘When their first child, Ivy Jane, was born in January 2017, his fiancee chose to have the baby by ‘hypnobirthing’, a New Age method that avoids the need for conventional pain relief by relaxation and breathing techniques, hypnotherapy and submersion in water. ‘Harry was an amazing birthing partner,’ she later reported.’
Mediawatch enjoys the idea that attending the birth of your child and generally not being a neanderthal makes you ‘very much the ‘new man”.
This is 2018, it actually just makes you very much not an absolute d**k.
‘The family live in a relatively unpretentious Essex house, the value of which has almost doubled to £2.5 million following recent renovations, with their two Labradors, named – after Kane’s favourite players of American football – Wilson and Brady.’
And Mediawatch’s own ‘relatively unpretentious’ home also has an outdoor pool and a home cinema room that doubles as a golf simulator.
‘Unlike other pampered footballers, who bemoan the ‘pressures’ of their profession, Kane says he rarely feels stressed. He wakes up and thanks his lucky stars that he is earning a wonderful living by playing the game he loves.’
‘‘If I need to relax, I take my two dogs for a walk or I play a round of golf,’ he says simply.’
Because the ‘pressures’ of football need to be scoffed at. Not for Kane the mental health issues of the ‘pampered’ Danny Rose or Aaron Lennon, who have clearly never discovered the joys of golf. Let’s hear it for Sir Harry and his gloriously uncluttered mind.
‘In a promising omen for England, he and Moore had similar childhoods. Both hail from working-class families, and they were born and raised within a few miles of one another on the borders of East London and Essex; Moore in Barking, Kane in Chingford.’
You know who was born even closer to Kane than Bobby Moore? Tattooed philanderer David Beckham, that’s who. Is that an omen too?
‘However, when remembering his less-than-smooth rise to the top of the game, he thanks his parents, Pat, 54, and Kim, 51, who encouraged him unstintingly and were invariably on the touchline when he played for his school and local team, Ridgeway Rovers. There is praise, too, for his elder brother, Charlie, 29.
‘It was his father who kept Kane from aping many of his England teammates and covering himself in tattoos. He once said, ‘My dad would never let me. I used to want some, but Dad always told me I would regret it when I was older.’’
Ah, so he did actually want tattoos. Can you still be a hero when the only thing stopping you getting a tattoo is your dad? Mediawatch is suddenly unsure on the criteria.
‘Neighbours have recalled them as a close-knit family and one remembered: ‘We used to see him carrying the goal posts with his brother to the park. One of the brothers was taller and the posts used to travel up the road at an angle.’’
There is literally no duller anecdote.
‘Kane was clever enough to pass his GCSEs, and according to his former PE teacher at Chingford Foundation School, Mark Leadon, he ‘put his head down and worked hard at everything he did’.’
A footballer ‘clever enough to pass his GCSEs’?! It is a bona fide bloody miracle. Are those the same GCSEs that the Daily Mail have long derided as too easy, by the way?
‘At 11, however, he was rejected by Arsenal’s academy and had a spell with Watford before being signed by Spurs. Then, in his teens, there came more setbacks. While other starlets were breaking into the first team, he was loaned to teams such as Leyton Orient and Millwall, where he fought tooth and nail to prove himself and gain his chance in the Premiership.
‘Among Tottenham’s fans, it has made local boy Kane a folk hero. ‘Harry Kane, he’s one of our own,’ they sing proudly. As for female supporters, ignoring his longstanding relationship – not to mention his slight lisp and strong Essex diction – many declare their undying love for him.’
They love him despite his ‘slight lisp’, common accent and, well, ‘angular face’? This is what happens when you are a hero.
‘‘What a heart-breaker!’ cooed one devoted fan on Twitter.’
Did they? Now Mediawatch is not one to let what sounds like a thoroughly made-up quote go, so we have found what appears to be the only use of the words ‘what a heartbreaker’ in reference to Harry Kane on the whole of Twitter…
Harry Kane , what a heartbreaker
— Tip Top.. (@derickaholic) February 25, 2018
And Tip Top.. appears to be a Zimbabwean man bemoaning Kane’s late equaliser against Crystal Palace that very same day; he doesn’t even mention his angular face.
‘‘I’d marry him tomorrow,’ was another typical comment.’
And yet we cannot find a single example of anybody saying any such thing. Maybe the ‘slight lisp’ really is a problem.
‘With her bottle-blonde hair and perma-tan, a taste for fashionable clothes and brightly-coloured bikinis, plus a growing army of Instagram followers, she may seem, at first blush, the archetypal WAG.
‘But Kate is no Coleen Rooney or Victoria Beckham, say insiders; rather she’s a modest, low-key young woman who prefers to spend evenings at home with Harry, watching movies, rather than go out on the town.’
If Harry becomes King, does Kate become Queen? After all, women should be ‘modest’, ‘low-key’ and largely stay at home in their ‘relatively unpretentious’ houses.
‘The couple make no secret of their love for the finer things in life, posting snaps of their exotic holidays online, and they have a fleet of three luxury cars: a limited edition Bentley Continental GT Supersports costing an eye-watering £233,800, a Jaguar F-Pace, and a Range Rover Autobiography.’
Because spending vast sums of money on ‘luxury cars’ or ‘exotic holidays’ is sometimes A Good Thing. If you are still unsure about the rules, we think it must be something about tattoos. We can’t think of anything else…
‘Like many top footballers, Kane supplements his £10 million-a-year salary with lucrative endorsements. He has appeared in commercials for Mars bars, and Beats By Dre headphones.
‘In a sign that he is ready to raise his profile beyond the confines of football, we also saw him at this year’s Brit Awards, where he gave out the Best Solo Artist award. Then again, even unassuming Bobby Moore wasn’t averse to doing the occasional TV ad.’
‘Unassuming’ Bobby Moore? Here’s what his first wife Tina once told the Daily Mail: “Bobby bought us a Jaguar – a car he had always longed for – and we had the house of our dreams built on a plot of land on the best street in Chigwell, Essex. It was a Georgian-style house with an extended porch you could drive your car under if it was raining, so our new and beautiful designer clothes wouldn’t get ruined.
“We also had a sweeping staircase like something out of Gone With The Wind and a private bar.
“I suppose we may have started the trend for a flashy ‘footballers’ wives’ lifestyle in a way – we called our house Morlands, the land of the Moores.”
It was probably a relatively unpretentious sweeping staircase, mind.
The Daily Mail are clearly building towards a crescendo…
‘But if and when England are knocked out of the tournament, one thing seems guaranteed: there will be no histrionics from the captain. No Gazza-style weeping in full public view.
‘‘The last time I cried was a long time ago. I don’t really cry at films or anything like that,’ says Kane, surmising that it was probably in 2004, when, as a ten-year-old boy, he watched Portugal eliminate the national team from the European Championships.
‘In fact, he admits, Kate was upset with him because he failed to shed a tear at the birth of their daughter.
‘But then, that’s England’s new Captain Marvel. He may be a New Age Man, he may be a true gent – but he certainly isn’t a cissy.’
Because of course only a ‘cissy’ cries at the birth of their first child. Or indeed cries at all.
And with that Mediawatch closes the Daily Mail and returns to 2018.