We all knew that Harry Winks’ remaining time at Tottenham Hotspur was not long. I had privately hoped that he would outlast Harry Kane. Alas, the other player will be here a little while longer.
I understand I am known here for my unadulterated love for Harry Winks. And it goes back years. The Jennifer Anniston gifs, the post-match comments and day-after hoddles.
I think it all comes down to what football is about. At its best, football lifts us out of our singular sorrows and into collective joy.
Harry Winks gave that to me in November 2016.
I had just moved to England from the USA my postgraduate studies. I felt lost and, at times, had questioned why I moved to a foreign land instead of remaining in New York City. I had no friends to speak of and I lived in a small flat on Finchley Road that I had shared with at least a dozen people.
I couldn’t get a ticket to the game against West Ham, although I had applied. But I had streamed it from my bedroom, and I watched the ninety minutes from my bed.
Now, in the years before this moment, I had watched my share of Tottenham matches - at home in the US, at pubs in the UK and at White Hart Lane. But I have to admit, I never felt a connection to the team.
I loved the way they played. I felt pride in having Maucio Pochettino as our head coach.
But I never felt connected. Something felt wrong.
And then, in November 2016, as I questioned whether I had ruined my life by moving to some faraway land, Harry Winks scored against West Ham United at White Hart Lane. I jumped on my couch. I could not believe it.
As tears return to my eyes, I type that I will never forget how Winks ran into the arms of Pochettino.
A boyhood dream come true.
The funny thing is, his goal was not the determinant factor in that game. West Ham scored soon afterwards, and then a pair of goals from Harry Kane delivered the win for Tottenham.
If I think hard enough, I can remember the penalty that Kane had won to set up the game-winning goal.
But I will never, ever forget the image of Harry Winks running into the arms of Mauricio Pochettino.
And I will always be grateful for the joy he gave me on what was a lonely day in London.
Love you always, Winksy.
Fitzie’s track of the day: One Less Set of Footsteps, by Jim Croce
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