There Will Be Goals – What Makes A Goal Celebration Great?

A fan favorite, the previously planned.

A fan favorite, the previously planned.

If you’ve been a supporter of the Premier League for just a few months, or, since it’s inception in 1992, you’re sure to have one thing in common:  you’ve definitely seen some incredible goals. There’s been hundreds over the past 18 years and ultimately too many great ones to count. So, to cap off that 20-yard free kick, near post header, or tap in from three yards out is the closely watched, often scrutinized but sometimes indecipherable, goal celebration. Good goals and truly memorable goals will always be distinguished by one unique variable, the way a player “preforms” after the goal.

Before we figure out what makes one brilliant, we first must look at what makes one terrible. Football supporters will all have a different opinion on what’s entertaining and what’s not, so I’ll share with you a few (in my opinion) dreadful goal celebrations.

  • The Tevez Pacifier/Dummy – One of my favorite footballers and favorite athletes for that matter, the now Manchester City forward was seen celebrating goals for Manchester United by placing a baby’s pacifier in his mouth and calmly celebrating his goal. Ultimately quite sweet by the Argentine who was only showing love to his daughter, but an unsettling picture and not the passion and explosion that football fans like to see after a goal is scored. (also makes you wonder where he’s hidden that thing)

tevez pacifier

  • The Peter Crouch Robot – It’s been a few years since the lanky England striker pulled this one out and thank God for it. Crouch, all 6’7 of him, on numerous occasions would break out into the robot dance after scoring for the three lions. If you’ve seen it, well, you’ve probably had a good laugh, but don’t need to witness it again anytime soon. In non football related dancing incidents, only Ricky Gervais’ David Brent impromptu charity funk-out is as cringe-worthy.
  • The terribly stupid, jumping into the crowd celebration– As much as football fans love to see passion from their clubs players, jumping into the crowd and creating a bone-crushing surge will only be remembered for the automatic yellow card the player is sure to receive. Arjen Robben was sent off for Chelsea in 2006 for jumping into the crowd during a celebration, similarly booked were fellow Chelsea players, Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack for the same offense. The aforementioned Carlos Tevez also famously jumped into (and removed his shirt, by definition, both bookable offenses) a rabid Upton Park crowd after scoring for West Ham against Tottenham.

So now that we’ve seen some forgettable celebrations, what gets the football fans blood flowing?  In my opinion, it’s a subtle blend of creativity, poise and passion that always makes for a classic goal celebration.

  • The Acrobat – Attempted by many, perfected by only a few and discouraged by managers the world over, the back-flip, somersault or combination of whatever can be conjured usually produces quality entertainment (even if you’re an opposing fan hoping the player gets it all wrong).


  • Boxing the Corner Flag– You can’t take out all that aggression on your opponents, might as well blow off some steam on a plastic field marker with a frilly piece of cloth attached to it. Boxing the corner flag usually results in the players team mates joining in on the ritual. Recently perfected by Tim Cahill, this celebration, to my knowledge bears no chance of a card and is loved by supporters.
  • The Previously Planned– Creativity and thought just like the songs supporters sing at matches always deliver first class entertainment. Most recently, the Hull City players emulating their Gaffer Phil Brown away to Manchester City in a “sit down talk” that Premier League fans immediately recognized from the previous years trip to Eastlands. Craig Bellamy’s “golf swing” with Liverpool away to Barcelona in the Champions League remains a classic.

There’s so many more memorable goal celebrations worth mentioning: the odd but effective, “arms crossed in an X”, “the lifted t-shirt message celebration”, “the dancing line”, and even the most classic of them all, the “jump in the air fist pump”. So which ones have I missed? What makes a goal celebration great to you? What would you love to never see again that’s been done too many times? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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