No goals to celebrate this weekend, or the week before . . . or, in fact for the past seven weeks. Goals. . . remember them? Remember the joy, the explosions of energy in the celebrations? Owen Morgan does and so here are five of his favourites dating back to way back when.
Hearing that Swansea City legend Alan Curtis was celebrating his 66th birthday the other day took me back to the sunlit afternoon he produced one of the greatest goals and joyous celebrations I have ever seen.
When Curtis’ unstoppable drive hit the back of Leeds United’s net on the first day of the 1981/82 First Division season, his subsequent spontaneous reaction summed up how all Swans fans were feeling at that exact moment.
It was the perfect celebration in my view, no pre-planned routines, no clever messages like Gazza’s dentist’s chair, Craig Bellamy’s golf swing, or Bebeto’s baby rocking.
It was just how a goal should be celebrated. The pure, unbridled, spontaneous joy of having put the ball in the net – simple as that.
So with Curtis’s strike obviously my number one, here are my all time top five favourite celebrations.
These guys weren’t thinking clearly enough to remember carefully choreographed celebrations.
They were just lost in the sheer ecstasy of scoring some of the most satisfying and important goals of their respective careers. Exactly how it should be.
Still can’t believe it’s been 21 years since Ryan Giggs scored that famous goal vs Arsenal in the FA Cup. 🇾🇪pic.twitter.com/zYU8w0kYl8
— UTFR 🇾🇪 (@ManUtd_HQ) April 20, 2020
Ryan Giggs for Manchester United v Arsenal, 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay
Giggsy’s Captain Caveman impersonation as he ripped off his shirt to reveal his hairy chest almost didn’t make it into my top five.
Taking off his shirt and waving it above his head, made me suspicious it may have been pre-planned.
But imagine the stick he must have copped for revealing the rug residing under his jersey. No one in his right mind would have planned that.
Anyway, the way he tore up the touchline twirling his top in delight, you could see it was a spontaneous celebration of scoring one of the greatest goals in FA Cup history, and who can blame him?
“Charlie George who can hit ’em… oh what a fabulous goal by George!” 🔥
What a way to win the FA Cup and secure the Double, on this day in 1971 🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/flQKXZfyd1
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 8, 2018
Charlie George for Arsenal v Liverpool, 1971 FA Cup Final
This is the exact opposite of Giggs’s high-energy, all action effort. The normally flamboyant Charlie marked his spectacular extra-time winner, which sealed the Gunners’ double, by having a nice lie down!
With the match deep into extra-time and the scores locked at 1-1, George rifled a 20-yarder past Ray Clemence.
As he started to sprint away in celebration, he collapsed flat on his back and raised his arms into the air, as if ready to accept the congratulations of his team-mates.
There are several theories as to why George celebrated in this way. The player himself suggests he did it to waste time, claiming it would take his team-mates an age to get him back up on his feet!
But there is no doubt it is one football’s most iconic images.
— Wembley Stadium (@wembleystadium) June 3, 2015
Roger Osborne for Ipswich Town v Arsenal, 1978 FA Cup Final
The Tractor Boys’ midfielder took Charlie George’s horizontal celebration a step further by actually losing consciousness after scoring his cup final-winning goal.
Imagine playing for one of the country’s less fashionable clubs and reaching the FA Cup Final, where you are to face the glamorous Gunners.
Then, imagine you are the locally-raised unsung midfield workhorse of that unfashionable side, playing at Wembley in the most important game of your life.
Now, allow yourself to dream that you have just stroked the ball past Pat Jennings in the 78th minute to break the deadlock in front of 100,000 fans and millions more watching around the globe.
Well, that’s exactly what our Roger did. But, not surprisingly, the sheer elation of the moment and the warmth of the day proved a little too much for him.
Shortly after leaping into the air a few times and being swamped by his team-mates, poor Roger promptly fainted through excitement and exhaustion and had to be substituted. You couldn’t plan that one!
It’s got to be the greatest goal celebration in World Cup history.
Marco Tardelli – Italy’s 2nd Goal in the World Cup Final 1982
John Motson also with great commentary@FootballArchive https://t.co/qYCiEWSCi1
— TV Football 1968-92 (@1968Tv) June 10, 2018
Marco Tardelli for Italy v West Germany, 1982 World Cup Final
When I saw Tardelli’s goal live on TV as a teenager, I knew I had just seen something special.
Indeed, any list of famous goal celebrations is almost guaranteed to include this one. It isn’t the most spectacular or clever, celebration, but it is overflowing with emotion and seems to strike a chord with football fans the world over.
His face as he sprinted away from scoring his side’s second goal in the 3-1 victory, painted the perfect portrait of what it must feel like to score for your country in the most important match in football.
Most of us can only dream of what that moment must be like, but if I were to score in a World Cup Final, that’s exactly how I would want to celebrate it.
In fact, that’s just how I, and many other schoolboys of the time, did celebrate every playground and park goal for the rest of that year.
Sprinting away with arms outstretched, fists pumping, eyes-bulging, head shaking and screaming “Maaaarrrrco Taaarrrrdellllli” as we ran!
✍️ What are your favourite #AC7 memories 👇
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) April 16, 2019
Alan Curtis for Swansea City v Leeds United, Football League Division 1, 1981
You have to know some of the history behind this goal to fully appreciate the joy of the celebration.
This was the Swans’ first game in the top flight and many experts believed we would be no match for Leeds.
To add extra-spice, Curtis had returned to the Swans after his record £400,000 transfer to Leeds had lasted only 18-months.
During the match, he was taunted as a “Leeds reject” by the visiting fans.
But they were forced to choke on their words as The Legend finished off a 5-1 demolition with a brilliant individual goal.
After smashing in an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net at the old Double Decker end, where the Leeds fans stood, Curtis wheeled away towards his adoring North Bank, fists raised and punching the air in delight.
He was later quoted as saying: “If the gates had been opened they would not have caught me. I would have been halfway down Mumbles Road.”
Instead, he leapt straight into the cradling arms of the late Robbie James, where he sat for a couple of seconds, kicking the air in glee before wriggling free and receiving the congratulations of his team mates. The perfect end to a perfect day.