Football goal celebrations didn’t used to be up to much. There was a polite shake of hands between team mates and back they would go to await the kick off to restart to play.
As celebrations started to get a more involved, the FA chose to intervene in 1975, stating that “kissing and cuddling should be stopped and players continuing to act in this way should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute”. FIFA agreed in 1982 stating that the “exuberant outbursts of several players at once jumping on top of each other, kissing and embracing, should be banned from the football pitch”.
Players didn’t take much notice and fans have been treated to ever more extravagant goal celebrations over the years. From Marco Tardelli’s wild run in 1982, to Roger Milla’s swinging hips in 1990, Bebeto’s rocking cradle in 1994, the England team’s Dentist Chair in 1996, Thierry Henry’s immortalised knee slide in ’02 and Mario Balotelli’s “Why Always Me?” t-shirt, the goal celebration is here.
Some players have even trademarked their celebrations. I’m not talking about Alan Shearer’s iconic hand in the air or Fabrizio Ravanelli putting his shirt over his head, but in 2013 Gareth Bale actually tried to register his “Eleven of Hearts” celebration has his trademark against which he could create his own brand.
Despite his famous t-shirt, Balotelli didn’t always seem too fussed to acknowledge his goal scoring. When asked why he didn’t always celebrate, he said:
“When I score, I don’t celebrate because I’m only doing my job. When a postman delivers letters, does he celebrate?”
A couple of weeks ago, I scored a goal. I didn’t celebrate, but not out of some sort of modesty – I simply didn’t realise that the ball had gone in the goal. My team had a corned so I went to take up my regular position on the pitch where I’d be placed to pick up an overhit cross or one that is only partially cleared.
Someone got a touch on the ball and it went high in to the air. I took a bit of a run and looped a header back towards the far post. It wasn’t necessarily a bad effort but I was sure that the ball had gone over the crossbar and ran down the back of the net. It was only when I retreated back to my normal position waiting for the game to restart with a goal kick that I got a few sarcastic comments and was told I’d scored.
And you know what? I was mildly disappointed that I hadn’t had the chance to get those sarcastic comments in first in acknowledgement of the goal. I felt that I’d been robbed of my chance to celebrate and take full advantage of the situation.
Away from the pitch, I’m not good at subtlety. Some would call it naivety, but I’m not great at reading between the lines to judge a situation. My natural cynicism might sometimes assist me at work but, for example, I’m terrible at “courting”. I once went on a date with someone with negative results but we stayed friends and I ended up asking the question again, to be told “no” again. I understand “no”, but I didn’t understand subtle signals a while later that were supposed to be signal “yes”. My mates were disappointed for me a bit later on when I reported back to them that the woman I’d been speaking to definitely wasn’t interested despite their take on events being very different.
Forcing the metaphor of “not realising that you’ve scored” can be a little too literal given some euphemisms, so shall we do “rolling down the back of the net” as a forced metaphor for not realising when to take full advantage of a situation?