Every Boxing Day, fans with even a mild investment in football on social media are presented with the same old meme. The caption “Let’s hope for another Boxing Day like this” accompanies a screenshotted image of the results from the same day in 1963. The reason for this? There were 66 goals in 10 Division One games. They included a 10-1, an 8-2, two 6-1’s, a 4-4 and two 3-3’s.
Yes, this is very impressive. But it’s also fucking stupid. Instagram meme artists (as I have now coined them), a race of peculiar screen-dwelling folk who make a livelihood out of putting captions on pictures, need to take a good long look at themselves. Next they’ll be telling us how amazing life would be if we all had mansions, fast cars and supermodel girlfriends. Look at what our dystopian online universe has turned us into. Bloody morons.
After all, a lot has changed since Division One, Boxing Day, 1963. For one, everything was still in black and white as the mystic overlords were yet to invent colour. England weren’t even World Cup contenders in 1963, having lost to Brazil in the quarter finals in the previous year’s tournament in Chile. Okay, maybe some things haven’t changed that much (though the calibre of our main opponents might have).
Having said that, 2017 seems to have been the year in which the nostalgic prayers of those weird meme artists were answered. A 5-2, a 5-0 and a 3-3 meant that Boxing Day 2017 was a great day of football, not least for arguably the best striker in the world, Harry Kane.
Kane has now scored more Premier League goals in a calendar year than anyone, ever. He beat the previous record of 36 set by Alan Shearer (whose initial drafts of his congratulatory tweet contained the words “well done Harry, you shitbag”). Kane fired back-to-back hat-tricks in Tottenham’s last two games of the year, against Burnley and Southampton respectively, to take his league tally to 39. He is also the leading goalscorer of 2017 across Europe’s top leagues with 55 goals in total, an immense feat that set him ahead of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo. Not bad for a one season wonder.
On Tuesday, Kane did what Kane does. His throwback, 1960s Geoff Hurst-esque knack of being in the right place at the right time, along with his lethal finishing ability, sealed his first two goals against Southampton at Wembley. The first, and record-breaking, goal was, of course, a simple header from a whipped Christian Eriksen free-kick cross. The second rounded off a move started off by pantomime villain-cum-bloody good footballer Dele Alli, who skipped past two Southampton defenders to lay the ball to Heung-Min Son, who then passed it on to man of the moment Kane who slotted it home.
Tottenham’s English talent was again on form against Southampton’s crumbling defence for the third goal. Alli charged down the pitch before laying the ball through to Kane in the box. He outmuscled Maya Yoshida before putting goalkeeper Fraser Forster on his arse with a chip of such deluxe class it could’ve been Michelin starred.
I personally can’t wait for May and the clamouring optimism of England fans looking to the talismanic Kane to write his name in the international history books – before a 0-0 draw to Tunisia in the opening game, of course. Ah, England.