Steve Archibald: Harry Kane must leave Tottenham to reach next level

‘If he’s looking to step up, it has to be European football’: Iconic Tottenham striker Steve Archibald insists Harry Kane needs to leave Spurs if he is to move to the next level

  • Kane is currently leading the Premier League scoring charts with 21 this season 
  • The 27-year-old is going for Alan Shearer’s all-time record of 260 top-flight goals
  • Spurs icon Archibald believes Kane needs to go to Europe to fulfil his potential
  • The Scot, now 64, left North London for Barcelona and had a successful spell
  • In an exclusive interview, he also revealed a funny story about Sir Alex Ferguson

Steve Archibald will settle down to watch Tottenham’s League Cup final clash with Manchester City today in the Mediterranean sunshine of Barcelona, the city in which he is still revered as a member of Barca’s 1985 La Liga winning team.

But it is as a Tottenham legend that Spurs fans will recall him, the key striker in the team from 1980-1984, which accumulated two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup, the last time Tottenham consistently challenged for trophies.

And much like all Spurs fans, he will be watching carefully to see if Harry Kane emerges from the tunnel ready to play. Except he will have more empathy than most for a man who, at 27, is yet to win a trophy, despite being one of the top strikers in world football.

Steve Archibald has stated Harry Kane (centre) must leave for Europe to move to the next level

The iconic former Spurs striker was speaking to Sportsmail as part of an exclusive interview

The 27-cap Scotland international played under Sir Alex Ferguson during his time at Aberdeen

Archibald has been there and understands Kane’s dilemma. Not the lack of trophies, as his own medal count started in 1980 under Sir Alex Ferguson at Aberdeen, winning the Scottish Premier League. But the desire to better oneself is innate in top footballers. And in Sir Alex, Archibald faced an even tougher opponent than Kane does in Daniel Levy.

‘When you’re scoring goals, it attracts attention of course and that’s what big cubs want: they want goalscorers,’ said Archibald. ‘There had been a lot of speculation in the newspapers and whenever I saw something in the paper I’d go and see the boss and say: ‘What’s happening?’

‘When you’re linked to big clubs in England and you have an ambition to play and improve, it’s your natural instinct to go and see the manager. But it wasn’t easy.

‘We used to play a [small-sided football] game, called tips, in a small gym with little goals and Sir Alex would play the game as well. We all loved it because we just had fun. And I would disturb him on many occasions playing tips. He was not happy. He put that face on. You can imagine. ‘Right! Come in here! What is it?’

‘Well, I’ve seen in the paper’.

‘The paper! The paper! F*** it!’

‘And that was our conversation. It lasted all of about 15 seconds…on a good day.’

He left that summer though, Aberdeen grateful for a record fee of £800,000 and his arrival at Tottenham precipitated something of a golden era.

‘Aberdeen were fantastic for me, it was a great place. I had a great relationship with the fans, I was scoring goals, but something gets into your head and you have a wiggly worm in your stomach that’s driving you somehow and that’s it. You want to know. And the flattery of it all. You think: ‘I must be a good player’. All these things get into a young guy’s head and that’s what happened.

‘Harry’s definitely one of the top strikers in the land. I like the way he scores goals, a lot of times out of nothing. He is a really valuable asset. But my first club was Clyde, a tiny club and everyone expects you to move. And Harry’s club is not a club like Aberdeen.

Archibald (pictured) won two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup trophy during his time in North London

‘His first club is Spurs, it’s a bigger situation for him. Players want to be satisfied, want to push on but Harry’s already at a big club with a wonderful stadium. You don’t know what the future is, as they’ve changed manager.

‘Do I have sympathy for him? Of course I do. He’s been there for a few years and sometimes you get stale as well and stuck in a rut. And it depends what type of football you’re playing and, under Jose Mourinho, there were a lot of complaints. I suppose it will be important who the next manager is, what the project is and whether he has faith in it.

‘I would imagine his next step will be a big European club, although there’s lot of interest in the UK. Spurs are as big as any club in England and, going to Manchester United right now, though financially the biggest club in world football, wouldn’t be a big step up, if any. They’re on a par. If he wants to step up, it has to be European football.’

It is extraordinary that you have to go back almost 40 years to the Archibald, Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and Steve Perryman era to recall a Spurs team which was challenging for and winning trophies.

He then moved from Spurs to Barcelona and was a success, scoring 24 goals in 55 matches

‘Before that they hadn’t won anything for a few years,’ said Archibald. Indeed, their last trophy had been the UEFA Cup in 1972. ‘And had they had just come up after being relegated, which was one of my thoughts about going there: ‘Is this a strong enough club?’

‘I came to Spurs as a winner. The players look at you after winning a league and I put something different in the mentality. You need to know how to be winner and the only way you can learn is by winning things. The other signing Spurs made was Garth Crooks and we formed a really strong partnership.

‘We had a magnificent midfield [in Ardiles and Hoddle] but the midfield previously had only used the front players as a wall to get the ball back. That’s not how you score goals. We made sure the midfield were looking to play a killer pass. We changed that mentality. We took that winning mentality on to the pitch and ended up in finals.’

Talismanic forward Kane is facing a race against time to be fit for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final

The current Premier League top scorer limped off against Everton and has not played since

He was there for perhaps the most iconic moment in Tottenham’s cup history, when Ricky Villa scored the memorable goal that won their first trophy of that era, the 1981 FA Cup in the replay with today’s opponents, Manchester City. 

‘I was screaming for the pass at the back post as Ricky’s dribbling through. His head’s down and I’ve my hands in the air screaming. And I’m about to shout something else [at him] and then the ball’s in the back of the net.’ Archibald would only reluctantly leave Spurs when Terry Venables took over at Barcelona in 1985 and insisted on the club signing him over Mexican Hugo Sanchez, the striker the president wanted.

‘I never really wanted to come here and didn’t really realise what it was until I got here,’ he said. ‘But everything I experienced here, I wouldn’t change for anything. It was wonderful.’

Interim boss Ryan Mason (second left) will hope to have Kane fit and available for the final

Archibald has had many careers since retiring but the most recent is co-founding a football-themed renewable energy company, FC Energia, which has led to a bitter legal dispute. Backed by energy firm Nexus Energia, he removed his initial business partner Paul Sanderson in order to rebrand and refocus the company.

‘For me, the defenders were the guys providing the materials who start off the business, who give the ball into the midfield, to the marketing team, who prepare and market the materials pass it on to the strikers, who are the sales team, who have to score the goal!’

Sales have increased tenfold and now Nexus Energia are launching what he describes as ‘a vile hostile takeover’. ‘It’s cost me a lot in legal fees and headaches,’ he said. ‘But I built the company with my team and my daughter, Kersty, not anybody else. It’s David v Goliath.’ He will prove a formidable opponent.

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