The Football Dad – ‘One of Their Own’

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

In the final part of our exclusive FQ series, we catch up with Tottenham Hotspur and England star Harry Kane.  

In the pursuit of discovering exactly what a One Hotspur Junior Membership can offer families – available from just £8 per season – we’ve followed Indy Hair and his 10-year-old son Jay as supporting their favourite football club, Tottenham Hotspur, has taken a very special turn.

After joining the pair on a behind-the-scenes tour at the world famous White Hart Lane and Jay’s once-in-a-lifetime experience as mascot for the team’s first home game of the season, our final stop is a visit to the Junior Fan Forum to meet the One Hotspur Junior President, Premier League top-scorer Harry Kane…

While Leicester City and Jamie Vardy’s meteoric rise have stolen most of the headlines this year, title rivals Tottenham have been quietly putting together their own historic season, led – both figuratively and at the top end of the pitch – by the home-grown jewel in their crown.

Back in 2013, Harry Kane was mired in the wilderness of a loan spell in the Championship (ironically, at Leicester), but fast-forward three years and the North London-native is very much a part of the furniture at Spurs. Not only has the 22-year old led their exciting young team in goals over the past two seasons, but has also forced his way into Roy Hodgson’s international setup for Euro 2016, capping off his recent sparkling form with a friendly goal against world champions Germany.

Tottenham fans sing “one of our own” to the striker, and after his remarkable rise through the ranks, who better to encourage the next generation of supporters.

 Fans (both young and old) enjoy a day to remember as they watch their heroes train.

The Junior Fan Forum gives lucky families (selected One Hotspur members) a unique chance to visit the club’s training ground over the half term break and watch a live first-team training session. The day is then rounded off with youngsters giving a couple of their heroes a grilling during an entertaining Q&A.

After navigating some tricky questions from the kids alongside star midfielder Dele Alli, Harry spoke to Sam Skelding about the Premier League spotlight, his One Hotspur junior presidency and becoming a role model.

Any standout memories of visiting White Hart Lane as a fan?

I remember going with my dad when I was in the academy; sometimes we got tickets to the games if they were available. One that sticks out for me was the 9-1 win against Wigan (Athletic), for obvious reasons that is one that will always resonate! It was great that I could share those moments with my dad. Seeing the stadium and the fans had me hoping that one day I’d be out on the pitch myself.

You’ve just taken part in the Junior Fan Forum – feeling inspired?

Yes definitely! Even to hear some of the kids say they look up to me as a role model is great because I was that kid that one day wanted to become a footballer and was excited to get the chance to speak to players I respected. To be able to give something back to the fans, providing them with a little insight into what it’s like to be a professional player is really special.

From eager fan to hero overnight, how have you adjusted to becoming a role model for kids?

Surprisingly, it’s quite natural. You just have to deal with it, and the older you become, the more you realise what responsibilities come with being a Premier League footballer. I think for me, it’s all happened so quickly that I’ve just taken it in my stride and you just need to learn things along the way.

Football is often criticised for being out of touch with local communities, how important is making it accessible?

I think it’s vital, especially creating stuff like soccer schools that are easily accessible and offer the opportunity to train with professional coaches – these can only be beneficial. Tottenham are great, we do lots around the community, and the more clubs that get involved, the better it will be for English football as a whole.

Talking of getting involved – are you a proud Junior President?

Yes, but just because I get to see the day to day affect the programme has. I think it also reflects how far I’ve come as well, developing from one of those kids into a professional footballer. The Hotspur Christmas parties where I get to present trophies are proud moments and more importantly, fun for the kids.

Can the junior membership be a stepping-stone for an aspiring young footballer?

I think it can have a really big impact on a child’s thought process. Hearing little things like about how we train or how hard we have to work or even the setbacks we have to go through might give them that little bit extra motivation to push on. Anything we can do to help them become better people, as well as better footballers, is perfect.

What difference do supportive parents make?

For me, family is the most important thing in my life; they’ve helped me through thick and thin. So whatever families can do to help, whether it be taking you to training week after week when you’re young, taking you to games or even just lifting your spirits, it’s all important. My dad, my mum and my brother were always there for me and that support system is essential.

Finally, is being ‘one of their own’ something you take into matches with you?

Yeah, I’m very proud to be ‘one of their own’. I’ve worked hard to be where I am but it’s all for the fans. Hearing them cheer you on and chant your name is special, so I want to give back as much as I can. Without the fans, there’s no atmosphere and no club.

To sign your child up as a One Hotspur Junior Member from just £8 for the season, visit the Tottenham Hotspur website