Tottenham Hotspur fans woke up to a new rumor this morning, just two days before the final match of the season at Norwich City — former Tottenham striker and current football pundit Gary Linker tweeted about a possible outbreak of food poisoning in the Spurs camp.
Hearing there’s a food poisoning outbreak at @SpursOfficial. No, i am not joking.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 20, 2022
Now, mention “food poisoning” ahead of one of the most important Spurs matches in two years and you’re extremely likely to rustle some Hotspur jimmies. Tottenham fans are still scarred from the infamous 2006 “Lasagnagate” incident where the club came down with food poisoning ahead of the final match of the season against West Ham, were unable to get the match rescheduled, lost, and finished out of the Champions League places and behind Arsenal in the table.
So you can imagine the social media freakout that took place. Thankfully, it appears to be completely bogus. In his pre-match press conference this morning, Conte put the rumor emphatically to bed, but DID confirm a second, separate rumor that suggested that Harry Kane had come down with the same virus that impacted a few players ahead of last weekend.
“There’s no suggestions of a food poisoning outbreak at Tottenham Hotspur despite rumours. However, Harry Kane has been feeling unwell - not food poisoning - and will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s game. He trained yesterday and was meant to be at a media event this evening but pulled out as a precaution. It’s not Covid, well certainly not at this point. Conte will be with us soon to explain.”
Now, far be it from me to shit on Gary Lineker (he’s proven that he can literally shit on himself quite perfectly without my help, right Gary?) and I’m also not implying that he made the whole thing up for some 16-year old post-Lasagnagate #banter, but he clearly got some bad information and ran with it, and that’s just not a good look. I’m glad the rumor is false. I’m sorry that Gary got caught up in it as I generally think he’s a good and reasonable voice in football punditry.
But what about Harry? The implication is that Kane got the same bug that waylaid Dejan Kulusevski, Hugo Lloris, and Pierluigi Gollini ahead of last weekend’s match vs. Burnley. That virus kept Deki out of the starting lineup, but Hugo played the full 90 minutes and that’s probably what we should expect from Harry as well. And that’s disregarding that Kane would probably start the match even if he had to stop to vomit at the sideline every 30 minutes. Wild horses wouldn’t keep Kane away from a match that can qualify Spurs for Champions League football.
Conte seemed to think so too.
“If you remember the last game, we had three or four cases of stomach problems. In this week I have to be honest we had a couple of cases but we overcame the situation. Also members of the staff, one day they were not feeling so good. I don’t know why, the last week but also this week we faced this situation. In this moment though this virus is the last of our problem. We are close to a big achievement and we are totally focused. The situation of the players is the same as the last game.
Yes for sure [Harry will be fit], and because in the last game we had Deki Kulusevski and he didn’t train on Saturday but was good to play. Harry doesn’t want to miss this type of game.”
The connection between the illness ploughing its way through Spurs’ first team and the 2006 Lasagnagate incident is still pretty... well, hilarious definitely isn’t the right word. Eerie? Let’s go with eerie. Conte admitted that he wasn’t aware of the Lasagnagate incident, and when he was made aware of it, said he doesn’t want to know.
“I don’t want to know this story. I’m not interested to go deeper into this story.” [Laughs]
Same, buddy. Same.
Spurs kick off at Norwich Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. BST, 11:00 a.m. ET. The match is not televised in the UK (wtf?) but will be shown on SyFy in the USA.