Harry Kane’s sponsorship gesture should be admired

18 May 2020 | Commercial & Sponsorship
Harry Kane’s sponsorship gesture should be admired
Amid such uncertain and fragile times owed to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to get defeatist about the nature of the beautiful game. While football has been derailed by the coronavirus crisis, there has been little good news. Indeed, there has been constant chatter and speculation during the enforced hiatus about the prospective return of football in England and how best it should be managed to ensure it is safe for the players.

 

Yet behind the scenes, there have been some incredible acts of kindness displayed. The generosity that Harry Kane showed his former club Leyton Orient should not be forgotten. The Tottenham striker agreed a deal last week to sponsor Orient’s shirts from next season and he will be donating the space to three causes. The home strip will carry a message thanking the “frontline heroes” for their hard work, while the away and alternative kits will show the Haven House children’s hospice and mental health charity Mind’s logos respectively. 10% of all shirt sales will go to Kane’s nominated charities and it will be a big boon for Orient.

It was only a couple of months ago that Health Secretary Matt Hancock was suggesting that footballers should be doing more and should consider taking a substantial pay cut. At the time, it seemed like a cheap shot and an unnecessary attack on those who are among the highest earners in British society, but still contribute more than their fair share in taxes and other good causes.

Footballers can be made to feel like scapegoats and they can be an easy target. Beneath the Premier League, the gap is so pronounced between the haves and have nots of the game. You only have to look at the plight of Bury FC to be reminded of how things can unravel for teams further down the football pyramid.

But as far as Kane is concerned, reaching out and helping Orient isn’t a token gesture. It demonstrates an emotional connection with a club that holds a special place in his heart.

Upon agreeing the deal, Kane said: “I was born and brought up only a couple of miles from Orient’s stadium and I’m really happy to have the opportunity to give back to the club that gave me my first professional start.

“It also gives me a platform to say a big thank you to the many frontline heroes and charities out there who provide care and support during these challenging times.”

Kane is the perfect role model both on and off the pitch and the collaboration with Orient is the first of its kind. Although the deal needed to be ratified by the Premier League, FA and EFL, perhaps it could reshape the way sponsorship deals are approached in the future.

Also, by shining a light on the work carried out by the NHS, Kane has demonstrated that he is thinking more widely about the issues affecting us at this current time and he has his finger on the pulse. Also, he has rallied behind charities, a sector that has suffered financially during the pandemic.

Not all footballers are aloof or morally wayward and it shows they can be sensitive too. While Kane’s sponsorship was widely reported, it didn’t quite make the splash it would have done had the news agenda not been dominated by COVID-19.

A simple gesture can go a long way and Kane will have certainly endeared himself to the Orient fans who will not have let his actions go unnoticed.

If anything, this has been one of the more uplifting stories of the COVID-19 pandemic and Kane should be cherished rather than admonished.

Written by Charles Perrin

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