Football fans the world round added their voices to the din surrounding a particular moment in Tottenham’s 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday.
No, it wasn’t directly about either of Harry Kane’s goals, or Dele Alli’s fine touch to secure the win for Tottenham in stoppage time. Nor was it about either of Everton’s valiant attempts to get back into the game late on.
Rather, it was about how Spurs’ two goalscorers chose to commemorate the opening goal that seemingly attracted more attention than the ultimate win itself.
First, a bit of set up. Tottenham controlled the opening exchanges of the match as Everton seemed content to sit back. That itself was no guarantee of success though, as Everton seemed — at least in the opening 20 minutes — to be fully capable of stifling Spurs’ efforts in front of goal.
Then the improbable happened. Ben Davies laid off a simple pass to Kane who dribbled away from goal before swinging around 180 degrees, finding plenty of space and looked up to see Everton keeper Joel Robles well off his line. Realizing his chance, Kane struck at the ball from 30 yards out, just out of Joel’s reach.
It was a well taken goal that, admittedly, owed plenty to Everton’s mistakes. That didn’t stop Kane and Dele from taking the chance to celebrate however.
The flash of hands and fingers, punctuated at the end with a pious point to the heavens, was hardly spontaneous. It was mechanical, clearly the result of countless repetition and practice for who-knows-how-long before this goal was scored.
For seasoned Spurs fans, it came as no surprise that Kane and Dele would mark the occasion of a goal with a bit of choreography. Both Dele and Heung-min Son have celebrated in similar fashion before this season and last.
The Evening Standard even published a bit of an expose in the days prior to the match, detailing the Spurs squad growing handshake regimen.
What began as a simple show of respect — Mauricio Pochettino reportedly demanded that the players shake hands prior to each training session — evolved into something more complicated and meaningful. And Pochettino approves.
"“It’s very important to create a good dynamic,” Pochettino told Tottenham’s official website.“When you touch a person you can feel, you can translate emotion.“It’s very important to try and create a better feeling from the beginning of the day and start to work in a different mood,”"
Not everyone recognizes the value of such public displays of camaraderie however. ESPN goes into some detail about the complaints people tweeted about Kane and Dele’s bromantic gesture.
Beyond the fact that these read more like sour grapes than genuine grievances, complaining about celebrations in football is tired. Kane and Dele’s performance might have looked stale and certainly wasn’t done with commensurate gusto, but it was relatively mild. At least it didn’t demand props like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus’ Batman and Robin routine.
In any case, the surprisingly robust reaction is only ever going to inspire Tottenham’s squad to come up with new and more innovative celebrations in future games. With Pochettino’s team solidifying their place in second as rivals dropped points this weekend, it seems as if there will be plenty more opportunities for Kane, Dele and the rest to hone their craft.