It was all a bit easy in the end. Logged on to the Middlesbrough website around about tea time yesterday (Sunday) and within a few minutes I had bought four tickets for the cup game against Cardiff City. I have become increasingly pessimistic as each round passes, about my chances of getting tickets, so I was rather chuffed that I got some for next Sunday. Which is why my wife caught me running around the front room with my shirt over my head and my arms outstretched early yesterday evening, à la Ravanelli. Not easy to explain that one away.
Fabrizio Ravanelli, once of Middlesbrough, made that particular goal celebration his own. Other MIddlesbrough players have had distinctive ways of celebrating. It was Jan Åge Fjørtoft that made the aeroplane celebration famous and James Morrison did a chest-slapping and shoulder-shaking routine in honour of the American professional wrestler Eddie Guerrero who died in 2005.
Everton's Tim Cahill was in the news after his goal celebration against Portsmouth yesterday. After scoring his first goal since the end of December, Cahill stood with his arms crossed at the wrist to mimic being handcuffed. His brother was jailed in January for six years for grievous bodily harm with intent. The media have picked up on this as being "controversial" although the match officials took no action and have not reported him to the FA.
All players have their own personal ways of celebrating a goal, and as long as it is not abusive or incites trouble, then I think they are great for the game. Some of my fondest footballing memories are of emotional, comical or bizarre goal celebrations.
Here's my top ten:
1. Marco Tardelli . This has to be my number one. After scoring Italy's second goal in the 1982 Wold Cup final against West Germany, this celebration was pure emotion. The "Tardelli Cry" involved him sprinting away from goal (and towards camera), tears in his eyes, screaming, arms out with clenched fists and head shaking wildly. This single celebration summed up, in a few glorious seconds, the unmitigated ecstasy of scoring a goal. Fantastic. And you can see it here
2. Roger Milla. Another World Cup one, this time from the Cameroon veteran. Milla famously danced around the corner flag after scoring each of his four goals in the 1990 tournament in Italy. A joy to watch it was also refreshing to see an African nation do so well in World Cup finals. Up until England knocked them out of course.
3. Aylesbury United. I had to include goal celebrations from a non-league team in the FA Cup. And this was a bizarre team effort. As part of their great FA Cup run of the 1994-95 season Aylesbury United celebrated with a "duck walk". After scoring, the team nicknamed "The Ducks" lined up behind each other on their knees and waddled with their arms flapping. Quackers if you ask me.
4. Paul Gascoigne. Euro 96. England v Scotland. Teddy Sheringham and Gary Neville and Gascoigne in the Dentist Chair. Iconic. Need I say more?
5. Peter Crouch. 2005 and Peter Crouch breaks into the England national team. As if that wasn't embarrassment enough, he decides to celebrate a goal in May 2006 (against Hungary) with a "robot dance" thing. The media loved it. It makes me cringe to even think about it. It makes it into my top ten just because it was so, so, bad.
6. Robbie Keane. As a player, I've always rated Robbie Keane. As for his goal celebration, I can't make my mind up. He scores some great goals, but what exactly is it he does afterwards.? I get the cartwheel bit, but finishing on his knee with one arm pointed out in front of him? What is that? Firing a rifle? A bow and arrow? I'm yet to be convinced.
7. Alan Shearer. The trademark Shearer celebration. Nice a simple; spin away from goal with right hand (palm open) raised to the heavens. Just to prove it doesn't have to be complicated to be a classic.
8. Robbie Fowler. This was a memorable one, totally unique. After scoring for Liverpool against local rivals Everton in 1999, Fowler dropped on all fours and "sniffed" the touchline, mimicking the snorting of cocaine. This was his response to tabloid accusations of drug abuse. He was fined £60,000. The the part that really made me laugh? The lame excuse by the Liverpool manager at the time, Gerard Houllier. According to Houllier, Fowler was simply pretending to be "a cow eating grass". Of course Gerard, that's what he was doing...
9. Eric Cantona. This is included for the sheer arrogance. After chipping the Sunderland goalkeeper Cantona simply stood still, with his chest puffed out, collar up and arms by his side, chin and nose tilted slightly upwards and staring into the crowd. A pose that said "I own this place". Damn arrogant; but he got away with it because he was a damn good player.
10. Fabrizio Ravanelli. I couldn't not include this in my top ten. The fantastic shirt over the head routine. Yes, I have used that one myself. Normally whilst in the park having a kick around with my son.
But most recently in my front room.