NOW Harry Kane has broken Jimmy Greaves’ Spurs scoring record, the insoluble debate can begin in earnest.

Fans in the rival camps are going to have heated arguments as to which one of the superstar strikers will go down in history as the more lethal in front of goal.

Harry Kane broke Jimmy Greaves' goalscoring record for Tottenham against Manchester City


Harry Kane broke Jimmy Greaves’ goalscoring record for Tottenham against Manchester CityCredit: Getty
Greaves is considered one of England's best ever strikers


Greaves is considered one of England’s best ever strikersCredit: Getty

Unfortunately there can be no definitive answer — it is the kind of conundrum that is extremely difficult to unravel.
There’s a valid case to be made out for both men.

For those who will base their evidence purely on facts and figures, Harry is the choice.

Wearing Tottenham and England shirts, the record books show he has now hit the back of the net more times than Jimmy did.

But the Kane advocates should bear in mind the 18th-century American statesman Henry Clay’s thought-provoking observation: “Statistics are no substitute for judgment.”

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One thing is for certain — no single coach could have taught Kane or Greaves how to become prolific scorers.

The pair of them were blessed with a God-given gift to be in the right place at the right time.

It’s an uncanny instinct to be able to sniff out scoring opportunities where none seem possible.

You have to be well over 60 to have had the good fortune and pleasure to experience watching Greaves in his prime — that gives us grandads a huge advantage over most of today’s fans.


Kane often hits the back of the net in spectacular fashion from long range and he can be just as effective with his head.

He appears to have a built-in radar. A classic example of his sixth sense came recently when he scored against Crystal Palace without even bothering to look at the target before letting fly.

Harry’s nonchalant explanation was: “I’ve been in the game long enough to know where the goalposts are.”

But Jimmy was the ultimate predator inside the six-yard box, as quick and as deadly as a vexed viper.

He would pounce on a half-chance, wriggle past bewildered defenders as slippery as an eel escaping a fisherman’s net and stroke the ball past keepers before they could blink.

Kane is often seen helping out his defence. Greaves believed his own penalty area was foreign territory and he needed a visa to enter it.

So, how can we possibly separate these two masters of goalscoring?

For me, there is an undeniable justification why I find it easy to differentiate — I happen to believe it comes down to an accident of birth.

Jimmy was terrifying the opposition in the middle of the 20th century, while Harry is a product of the far less terrifying 21st.
In the winter months of the 50s and 60s, Greaves played on pitches that were ankle-deep mudheaps resembling ploughed fields.

The leather footballs of his era — particularly when wet — must have seemed like a cannonball fired from Lord Nelson’s warships.

Unprotected by refs, compared to players now, he had to put up with brutality from assassins masquerading as defenders.
Kane plays on pitches as green and level as a snooker table with feather-light balls. VAR oversees everything like a mother hen.

I’m not wishing to rain on Harry’s parade but I’m convinced if Jimmy was sprinkling his magic in the Premier League, he’d be so far ahead in the scoring stakes he’d be over the horizon.

As a lifelong West Ham sufferer, I hope fans throughout the country can park their tribalism and admit Greaves and Kane have made an immense contribution to the game.

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A German philosopher didn’t have football in mind when he said: “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” 

A revealing sentiment applies equally to Jimmy and Harry.

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