Home-grown heroes, 30 years apart - a Q&A special with Falco and Kane
Thu 02 March 2017, 17:45|Tottenham Hotspur
As the ball nestled into the corner for a trademark Harry Kane goal to open the scoring against Stoke on Sunday, two milestones went with it. First, it was Harry's 100th career goal and secondly, he reached 20 in all competitions for the third season in a row.
The last Spur to achieve that feat followed the same career path as Harry.
Born locally in Hackney (no more than five miles from Harry's Walthamstow), Mark Falco came through the youth system in the late 1970s to make a goalscoring debut in May, 1979.
He went on to score 89 goals for us between 1979-86 including 20s in 1983--84 (21), 1984-85 (29) and 1985-86 (21).
When Harry struck goal number 20 of his breakthrough season in 2014-15, he became the first home-grown striker since Mark to net 20 in a season. Now he's matched another of Mark's marks after notching 31 goals in 2014-15, 28 last season and 22 and counting this time around.
Below: Goal! Harry strikes goal number 20 of the season on his way to a hat-trick against Stoke
In this special feature, we asked both Harry and Mark the same six questions. Here's what they had to say...
Falco and Kane, the Q&A...
What do you remember about your first Spurs goal?
Mark: “It was on my debut against Bolton, with Sam Allardyce playing for Bolton! It was a wet Tuesday night (May 8, 1979) and I scored the first goal in a 3-1 win. I picked up a cross from Ossie Ardiles on the edge of the 18-yard box and hit it on the diagonal into the far post. It was a nice way to start!”
Harry: “It was against Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League (December 15, 2011) and an amazing moment. I remember Danny Rose down the left, he tried to find me at the far post but it went over my head and I thought it had gone out of play but Andros Townsend was behind me, crossed it back in and I was there to swipe it home. A typical striker’s goal!”
Below: Mark pictured at the Lane in August, 2015
You were both 18 when you scored your first senior Spurs goal. How did life change for you, having just scored a goal for Spurs at such a young age? How big a moment was it?
Mark: “I didn’t play the next game! I was left out of the next game against West Brom. I just think Keith Burkinshaw was seeing how I could cope with the first team at that age. Bolton was the penultimate game of that season. Keith was good at keeping your feet on the ground! It felt great to score on my debut though, especially being a Spurs fan. A goal on your debut? It doesn’t get much better than that!”
Harry: “It was amazing and I was very proud of that moment. It was a great time for myself and my family but I knew that was just the start of something I wanted to do for a long, long time. I knew I had to work hard and that was the start of many more goals. It was a massive moment for me. As a striker, you want to score goals and that was only my fourth appearance for Spurs at the time, so to score that early and at that age was a great confidence boost.”
Below: 10 of the best goals from Harry Kane
You both came through the youth ranks at Spurs. Who were the big influences on your career as you progressed?
Mark: “When I first came to Spurs I was lucky to have two great coaches - Ron Henry, who was our left-back in the double team of 1960-61 and Peter Shreeves, who went on to be first team manager. They were great mentors and coaches. Ron had been there and done it, Spurs all his life, played under Bill Nicholson, won the double, played for England, won in Europe, all under Bill. He knew his stuff and so did Peter, a great coach and I was lucky enough to go through the ranks with Peter, youth team, reserves and then first team. I was guided all the way.”
Harry: “I started with Bradley Allen in the Academy and that was great for me as he was a former striker and we did a lot of finishing sessions. He certainly started me off on the right track. I also had Chris Ramsey and then Alex Inglethorpe and John McDermott in the youth team. Everyone one of those coaches progressed me as a player, taught me new things and helped me get to where I am now.”
Below: Mark (back row, fourth from left) and the team pictured after our UEFA Cup win in 1984
Did you feel there was more pressure to perform having come through the system?
Mark: “I think so, especially in my day as we were linked with buying big-name strikers every week! That means you are under pressure to perform all the time. It’s not easy to break through to the first team at Spurs, it’s tough, but fortunately both myself and Harry have done it and Harry’s now doing so well.”
Harry: “Yes, perhaps, it’s not as common now as it was in the past with so much money in the Premier League these days and teams will sometimes choose to go for a player who has been there and done it instead of someone who has come through the ranks. Whenever you get an opportunity there is a lot of pressure to take that opportunity but luckily the manager here has been great and it’s not about one or two games for him, he gives players a chance in the first team and a lot of the time the players coming through the system shine.”
Below: Another matchball! Harry with the spoils after his third hat-trick in nine games against Stoke
At the same time, you you feel you are appreciated more by the fans because you have progressed through the system?
Mark: “The Spurs fans know when they see a decent footballer because that’s what they’ve been brought up on over the years. They are very generous but they can be critical as well, as all fans are. That’s part and parcel of football. The fans love Harry and rightly so, he’s performing week in, week out and has done since he came into the team. It always helps when you are banging in 20 goals a season!”
Harry: “Once you get into the team and become a regular you have that connection with the fans. It’s great. I’ve had an amazing connection with the fans and I’m sure I will for the rest of my career.”
Below: Then and now - Mark and Harry
Finally, you scored 89 goals for us Mark and Harry, you are currently on 86 - tell all Spurs fans what it's like to score a goal in that famous white shirt?
Mark: “It’s a great feeling and it’s what I came into football for, I always loved scoring goals and to score for Spurs, as a Spurs fan, there is no bigger thrill in the world. It’s hard to put it into words but that’s what it meant to me, especially scoring against Arsenal! It sends a chill down the back of my spine thinking about it.”
Harry: “It’s incredible. Every goal is an amazing feeling. Of course, as a striker, that’s your job as well and it’s what you want to do. Every goal is an amazing feeling and an adrenaline rush you can’t really describe. Hopefully there will be many more to come.”