Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

The inside track of the Harry Kane exit story

Posted on 23 November 2021 by Ben Thorne

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Harry Kane has undoubtedly endured the most turbulent 6-month period of his career so far. It has included 3 different club managers, the Euro’s, and the most coveted transfer saga of the year.

The decision by Tottenham and Daniel Levy to resist the approaches of Manchester City over the summer, has raised numerous questions over whether it was the correct decision, for Kane himself and Tottenham.

So far this season, Kane has only scored one Premier League goal and come under severe criticism. Many believe his failed move over the summer is still looming over him and affecting his performances drastically.

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Sky Sports broadcaster and journalist, Paul Gilmour, was the man to break and cover the whole story across the entire summer. He described to me his experience of covering the story and dealing with all the noise surrounding it. He said:

“It’s actually stressful because there is a lot of pressure on wanting to be right.”

“With a story like this, somebody is going to be annoyed.”

“You have to stay focused on the facts of the story and rely on the contacts that you trust.”

When covering a story on this scale it can be challenging to ensure the information you receive is correct. This is something Paul Gilmour had to be aware of and use his experience to filter through to find the truth.

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Gilmour said: “I was quite relaxed, but from Tottenham’s point of view they are not going to be happy. I spoke to people, I asked questions. I prefer to check and check again and be thorough. Every journalist comes across this, that you want to be first, but you want to be right.”

“It takes over your life, that’s the thing with this industry. It wasn’t easy at all because I have grown a relationship with Tottenham. It was a story that the club would have not liked to come out, especially the timing as well.”

Many claim to know how Kane’s attempted move away from Tottenham played out and who the protagonists were surrounding the situation. However, as Paul Gilmour explains, it all begun back in the summer of 2020.

He said: “In this case, we had Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all showing an interest. Last summer they were able to convince him to give Tottenham one more season under José Mourinho. And that’s where this whole verbal agreement has come from last summer.”

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“So Kane believed that he had a verbal agreement, he didn’t get his move last summer that’s why everything was kept under wraps.”

“Kane will be 29 next year. He just knows that he doesn’t have time on his side to win the things he wants to win with Tottenham, so he wants to move elsewhere.”

Harry Kane also reported late back to pre-season training in August, upon returning from holiday after the Euros. This led to more reports and rumours of his future, but was it premeditated to attempt to force a move away from Tottenham?

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Gilmour said: “That particular day was quite dramatic. Once the players had gone in for training, I received messages from a couple of people telling me Harry Kane was not there.”

“It was important to find out some details and once I was confident with the information it was time to go on Sky Sports News to update the viewers.”

“Tottenham were not a bit happy with Kane and the story was making headlines around the world. It felt like everyone had an opinion on Harry Kane.”

Social media is used in the modern sporting world as a method to portray a certain message to your audience as a professional athlete.

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“A lot of people expressed sympathy and said the club had not matched his ambitions. Others said the signing of a long-term contract means he could not complain.”

“The public silence from players and clubs is usually a sign that things are moving behind the scenes and that’s what was happening here.”

When covering the biggest transfer story of the summer, especially involving the England Captain, you know there will be endless social media reaction from all sets of fans.

That is something that Paul Gilmour had to face over the summer, and it was one of the biggest challenges for him to deal with.

He said: “What I found really difficult was how the Tottenham fans would interpret it. For example, one of the things I get a lot is, once Kane had stayed, a lot of the Tottenham fans on Twitter were saying ‘you said he was going to leave.”

“But not once did I say he was definitely going to leave, what I said was that he has told Daniel Levy he wants to leave.”

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Paul Gilmour has a wealth of experience within the media as a Sky Sports broadcaster and journalist. The knowledge to depict when players and agents use the media is key, in cases like the Harry Kane transfer saga.

“Transfer stories are complicated, and my job is to cut through the fiction. Politics are almost certainly always at play and its vital to collect as much information as possible, to form a well balanced and accurate account of the story.”

“On the day I was told Kane had asked to leave, it took 5 hours to get it to air because of the fact checking. It didn’t help that Tottenham were planning for a game against Aston Villa and the timing was not great for them.”

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“Football can be an emotional sport and transfer stories will always upset someone. It’s about staying calm and respectful but ultimately telling the story for our viewers.”

If you want to read more about Tottenham on the Sports Gazette, you can learn about Antonio Conte’s appointment here: Tottenham Hotspur Appoint Antonio Conte: To the Victor, the Spoils – Sports Gazette

You can also find Paul Gilmour’s original story on Sky Sports here: Harry Kane again tells Tottenham he wants to leave as Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea lie in wait | Football News | Sky Sports