Falco hoping Kane earns his spurs as a title winner
In 1984-85, Mark Falco scored 22 times for Tottenham Hotspur in the old Division One.
Falco was, in the words of the song fans sing at White Hart Lane, the last ‘One of Our Own’ to notch at least 20 league goals in one campaign.
Until, of course, last season – where if you fast forward 30 years – Harry Kane achieved the same feat.
It was a long time coming for a club steeped in homegrown heroes – the kind that bleed the blue and white of Spurs and live by their motto: ‘To Dare Is To Do’.
Spurs legend Falco says the fact that it took three decades for his mark to be equalled speaks volumes.
“I’m very proud of my record playing for Spurs. It took 30 years for Harry Kane to be the next homegrown player to score 20 league goals, so you see it’s not that easy.”
“Not that easy” is still putting it pretty modestly, but then Falco is one of the gentleman of the game.
Aside from the obvious comparisons between him and Kane, there are also many similarities to the team Falco featured in during the 1984-85 season and the one Kane is currently thriving in.
“I think some of us played nearly 70 matches, so we just ran out of steam”
“The current team is doing extremely well and looks like it could be a very successful season,” said the Bethnal Green-born striker.
“They seem to have the same spirit that we had as a team and are playing some very exciting football which we tried to play.”
That Spurs side, like the current one, were pushing for the league title. Unfortunately, arguably due to the sheer amount of games including European commitments, they fell away in the closing weeks of an arduous season.
Were Falco’s personal achievements in front of goal rendered meaningless as his team fell short?
“Obviously it was a very big blow not to have won the league as we were so close, but then we didn’t have the big squads they have now.
“We were also in every competition and into the final phases of the cups. I think some of us played nearly 70 matches, so we just ran out of steam.
“It’s always nice to have personal accolades, but the team is more important. Besides, if the team is doing well then accolades normally follow.”
Now 55, Falco can certainly be proud of his career at his boyhood club.
Making his debut for Tottenham in 1979, he went on to score 98 goals in 236 games for the North Londoners, helping them win the 1984 Uefa Cup with one of their successful penalties in the shoot-out against Anderlecht in the final.
“It was a very great honour to be chosen, considering how many great players have played for the club and didn’t make the top 50”
“Goals mean different things,” he reflected. “I suppose my best goal was when we beat Arsenal 5-0, but my most important was certainly scoring that penalty to help win the Uefa Cup.”
It was, Falco admits, a real disappointment when Spurs told him he was surplus to requirements in 1986, but he went on to join Watford, followed by a successful spell at Rangers and then QPR before finishing his career at Millwall.
“It was very difficult as I had joined Spurs as a 13-year-old and made my way into the first team and was leading goal scorer at the time.
“It was a bit of a surprise to be told that the club didn’t need me anymore,” he recalled.
“But that happens when a new manager comes in and has his ideas on how he wants his team to play. If you’re not in his plans, it’s best to move on.”
However, what is certain is that this decision hasn’t damaged his fondness for the club he loves.
In 2009, Falco was voted by supporters as one of the top 50 greatest Spurs players of all time.
“It was a very great honour to be chosen, considering how many great players have played for the club and didn’t make the top 50.”
Falco remains a familiar figure at White Hart Lane, working as a club ambassador on matchdays.
Will his successor Kane be the next name to oust a great from that list – and perhaps go one better and do it with a league winners medal in his back pocket?
Image courtesy of Tottenham Hotspur