Nothing beats a great goal, although sometimes the celebration can get close. This week I’ve trawled the depths of my football-filled mind and dug out ten of my favourites. There are topless women, people impersonating all sorts of animals and even futuristic devices. Not to mention some fantastic choreographed team efforts by some very bored footballers. But first I must give a quick mention to those who have seen the ecstasy of a goal turn to instant agony. Celestine Babayaro broke his leg on his Chelsea debut in a pre-season friendly trying to cart-wheel, but poor old Paolo Diogo lost a finger celebrating a goal for Servette when his wedding ring got caught in the perimeter fence. The worst part was he hadn’t even scored, he’d set up his teammate. As always I want to hear your suggestions and comments below.
10. Peter Crouch
What made Peter Crouch’s short-lived celebration so good was that he was just so uncool doing it. A 6 ft 7 in man will never look good doing the robot dance. FACT. It didn’t stop Crouchy unleashing his robot onto the fotoball pitch in World Cup warm up matches against Hungary and Jamaica. Far from being thought up on a rainy day on the team bus or training pitch the origins of this particular celebration are much more exotic. Peter was enjoying himself at David Beckham’s World Cup party when in a moment of drunken inspiration thought it would be cool to do this. Cool it wasn’t – funny it was.
9. Brandi Chastain
As a female footballer taking off your top is probably a good way to grab the media spotlight. It certainly worked for US midfielder Brandi Chastain. After scoring the winning penalty against China in the 1999 Women’s World Cup, Chastain whipped off her top to celebrate. The next day her image in a sports bra did the rounds on most television networks and later found itself onto the front of Time, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek. Not bad for a celebration she later blamed on “momentary insanity”.
8. Jimmy Bullard & Hull City FC
Phil “You’ve been tangoed” Brown famously kept his players on the pitch at halftime against Manchester City and gave them a public dressing down. Unsurprisingly it drained the players of all confidence and they went into decline narrowly avoiding relegation that season before succumbing the next. Jimmy Bullard however always has time for a smile and he managed to raise one in an otherwise gloomy 2009/10 season at the KC Stadium. Once again Hull were facing Man City and, after Bullard converted a late penalty to equalise, he assumed the role of Phil Brown as the rest of the team sat in a circle and were mock-reprimanded. A good example of solid organised teamwork – just a shame for Hull they couldn’t mimic that when playing.
7. Roger Milla
It was the 1990 World Cup and not many had heard of a 38-year old striker knocking around somewhere east of Madagascar at JS Saint-Pierroise in Réunion. Four goals later they certainly had, but it wasn’t Roger Milla’s goals that made him famous it was the memorable celebration. Each time he scored Milla made a beeline for the corner flag. Rather than use it as a punch bag a la Tim Cahill he seduced the flag with a unique dance which forever became known as the Roger Milla wiggle. At the most recent World Cup the wiggle was immortalised in a soft drinks advert.
6. Facundo Sava
It was at Gimnasia de La Plata when Argentine striker Facundo Sava, then 23, scored a last-minute winner in the local derby versus Estudiantes. At first nothing seemed out of the ordinary, he ran to the crowd to celebrate whilst seemingly scratching his leg. In actual fact he was reaching inside his sock to pull out a mask and put it on his head. The mask-donning even made it’s way to the Premier League when Sava played for Fulham who quickly became known as Zorro. The only problem was he only managed 9 goals in England, so little that it probably wasn’t worth the effort of packing the mask every match day.
5. Paul Gascoigne and England
Our second team celebration on the list was, like the first, led by the joker of the pack. This time it was England’s 1996 European Championship team playing Scotland at Wembley. Gascoigne scored a memorable goal lifting the ball over Colin Hendry with his left boot before rifling home with the right. As he lay on his back on the Wembley turf nobody quite knew what he was doing – until his teammates turned up. Alan Shearer picked up a bottle of water and squirted it into Gazza’s mouth as the rest of the lads surrounded him. It was a recreation of the dentist’s chair drinking game that the England squad had been playing on a pre-tournament trip to Hong Kong. For many those 60 seconds summed up Gascoigne – a football genius who eventually let his off-field habits creep onto the pitch.
4. Carlos Tevez
If you are a River fan it is bad enough when Boca equalise late on in the semi-final second leg of the Copa Libertadores to knock you out. It is worse when it is in your own backyard. It is even worse when the goal scorer, in this case prodigious talent Carlos Tevez, proceeds to take his shirt off and flap his arms like a chicken – the derogatory nickname Boca fans have labelled River Plate since they threw away a two-goal lead in the 1966 final. For Tevez (who finds himself in one of my top tens for the second time) he saw his glory turn sour when the referee sent him off for his excessive celebration. In all this heartache (for Tevez missed the first leg of the final), us neutrals can chuckle – especially when you watch the referee imitate the chicken dance as he explains his reasoning for the sending off. You can see it all here.
3. Aylesbury United FC
Aylesbury is a small town in Buckinghamshire that was best-known for the Aylesbury duck a large breed of duck native to the area. That was until 1994/95 of course when the duck was outshone by the “duck walk”. Isthmian League side Aylesbury United FC reached the first round proper of the FA Cup where they faced Newport (IOW). The ‘ducks’ won 3-2 and the duck walk was born. The whole team got on their knees and waddled in a line. It didn’t stop there though as in the next round they won 4-1 at Kingstonian. In the third round at Loftus Road they crashed to QPR a 4-0 defeat but still gave the fans the famous duck walk after the game.
2. Finidi George
Another celebration out of Africa, this time Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup. Ajax star Finidi George rounded off a rapid counter-attack against Greece with a delightful chip over the keeper. What happened next? He got on all fours and imitated a dog urinating! To this day Finidi has never explained what gave him the urge and it remains one of the most bizarre goal celebrations ever seen.
1. Starjnan FC
The Icelandic League may not have brought us many classic footballing moments over the years but Starjnan FC are doing their best to change that. They could have had the top 3 of this list for their imaginative team celebrations that frankly smack of footballers with too much time on their hands. Instead i’ve grouped their efforts together just to give our other contenders a chance! Move over Diversity this is choreography at its finest. My favourite three (there are many) are the human bicycle followed by the nightclub classic reeling in the fish and topped off by the quite bizarre yet hilarious “giving birth” performance.
Goal celebrations – now that was fun; serious stuff on Friday though when we look at the Top Ten players currently plying their trade in Mexico.