The Roker Ramble: The Most Annoying Celebrations....
With everything going pretty swimmingly here at Sunderland there's very little to complain about, in fact there's nothing. Regular readers of the site will no doubt be worried, perhaps even scared that we're going soft. I can tell you know, there's a little bubble of pent up anger growing inside me.
In an effort to release some of that tension, I've compiled a top ten of goal celebrations that annoy the crap out of me. There's nothing particularly offensive in there, I'm just sick of seeing them. Get a new trick. Some of those on the list eventually did, some celebrations have transcended themselves to others doing it.
So in what's a sort of Roker-Ramble-come-Top-Ten, here's who I think are the worst of the worst...
10. The Shearer One Arm Raise
I think I'm allowed this one. In fairness though it's one of the more acceptable ones among the pre-planned celebrations as it gives the illusion of being a proper celebration, but it was just his face wasn't it? The smug, self satisfied face, the arm in the air almost begging "make a f***ing statue of me, I am your God"... Or at least that's what I'm choosing to believe.
9. The Anelka Butterfly
I don't get it. What is it all about? One explanation floating around the internet is that it's his daughter's favourite animal/insect. If that's the sole reason, it's a pretty lame one. Obviously mini-Anelka doesn't have a favourite colour judging by his amount of clubs he's trundled round.
However, we must be grateful that his daughter's favourite animal isn't the elephant...
8. The Crouch Robot
Thankfully he's stopped doing it, so I've got to give him a mini-round of applause for that, however for an extended period of time it went on far too long.
For far too long it became his ‘thing', busting some robotic moves (badly might I add) to the point that I was in a Sports Bar during World Cup '06 and the held a "Peter Crouch Dance Off" at half-time, it was as deplorable as the folks who lapped it up around me.
If this wasn't the hint needed that the "Jumping The Shark" moment was upon us, "comedian"James Corden got involved with it and suggested Crouch add rope-pulling movements to it... He did, I hate them both.
7. Baby Rocking
When the celebration was brought to the world's attention at World Cup '94 through Bebeto, it was quite cute. He'd recently became a father and wanted to celebrate. Whilst I've appeared to be somewhat of a grump so far, there are some pre-planned routines that are ok. This is one.
However, it's what it spawned which made the celebration so annoying. Every single footballer, from the Premier League hotshot to the ironically-mulleted League Two centre-half has partaken in it.
It was eighteen years ago. Can we, as a collective consciousness not have a single new idea in that time? Sometimes I just fear for humanity.
6. Sharpe Pelvic Thrust
I used to like Lee Sharpe. Good solid player, somewhat under-appreciated among the greats of the time who played alongside him. That said he had some dodgy celebrations. Perhaps none more so that the double-chest-slap-and-pelvic-thrust routine.
Watching back over some Sharpe goals, and there was some belters in there, he seemed to give this one more air-time over the equally rubbish corner-flag Elvis. Perhaps the worst aspect of all these celebrations tended to be in what I'd consider ‘proper' stadiums, where the fans were close to the pitch. Sharpe had a penchant for doing the routine very close to the children in the front rows. I wouldn't have wanted to be one of them.
I'll get this out now, I'm not against a routine or anything else pre-planned, but just do it that once and let it be that. This is football, not Three Amigo's starring Chevy Chase. Jog on.
5. Any Sort Of Mask
Jonas Gutierrez from up the road is the current proponent of this abomination of a celebration whereby he pulls a Spiderman mask from his shorts, wears it, and runs around a little bit.
Again, I don't get it. It's the action of someone desperate for attention, and normally from fairly rubbish players. I'm obliged to dislike this on the grounds of it being Gutierrez, and his current employers of course, but there was also Facundo Sava who did something similar, and Ivan Kaviedes too.
They were rubbish too, so this celebration is double-whammy of crapness and unoriginality. Everyone should be ashamed of themselves.
4. Goalkeepers Doing Flips
Like anyone else in the world, I've had some ups and downs. Even at the absolute height of my happiness, I can honestly say I've never had the urge to do a backflip out of sheer joy, and I don't just say that as a short, fat bastard who probably can't do them anyway.
Peter Schmeichel was someone who did this with some regularity, and it all smacks a little of "look at me instead. Ignore the person who actually scored, I'm doing a backflip!"... you zany bastard. As said, earlier I've never felt the urge to do one, and I can't imagine anyone else ever has, it's showing off for the sake of it, in something you were barely involved in.
He was a great keeper though, so I'll let him off a little. When he sits back and looks at his life, it won't be half as stupid or embarrassing as playing the keyboards for Robbie Williams on tour.
3. Keane Machine Gun
I've already made my point about backflips, and you can lump right in their cartwheels too. I wish Robbie Keane didn't score so many goals so we wern't subjected to this terrible celebration repeatedly.
"I've just scored! What shall I do?"... Of course, do a cartwheel, which in no way is massively showing off. Then just as near the corner where your adoring public are beckoning you over for a hug... a forward roll! I'm not just a footballer you see, I'm a floor gymnast too!
Now that we're finally nearing the public, having shown just how much more flexible and fitter I am than the beer-bellied folks who paid their hard earned money to come watch, the icing on the cake... I'll pretend to machine-gun the crap out of them.
Fantastic, what a way to appreciate them. Jog off back to the MLS Robbie, where nobody gave a toss.
2. Bale Heart
Now I'm sure there's a lovely story behind this that I don't know. It's probably for his mother, his missus/fella, his child or someone else and showing his love for them. Maybe it's even in appreciation to the fans, saying he loves them.
Either way, when it comes down to it, it's incredibly soft and pathetic, in a moment of complete and unbridled joy, usually releasing a wild and passionate response, he turns himself into a human version of those £5.99 teddies at Clintons you buy the missus when you've completely forgot whatever Hallmark Holiday it is.
Grow some balls Gareth and kick down some advertising hoardings or scream your lungs out. Don't bother with the "I WUV U" nonsense. I noticed James McClean attempt something like this at Stoke. If it's his only flaw, I may accept it. Just.
1. Badge Kissing
There was a time when kissing the badge was OK, or so I believe. A more naive time in the football fans consciousness where we believed that some players genuinely loved the club they were playing for. It's simply not the case anymore, yet some still persist with this assault on our intelligence.
There's usually only several thousand reasons per week a player loves a club, where as we're there through thick and thin. It's more and more apparent that football to a player is just a job. We'd all leave our jobs for double money elsewhere and so would they, so whilst you can't blame the badge-kissers for getting themselves a better deal, you can have a pop at them for not being particularly up front about all this in the first place.
We might often pay good money to watch bad teams (not particularly at the moment), but we're not idiots. No player should be kissing the badge of a team, even if they are his boyhood club, because when the big bucks come, fandom means nothing.
Honourable mentions in the annoyance stakes also go to Ryan Giggs' and Paul Ince's little dance in the mid-nineties, and anyone reminding us they belong to Jesus.
As for what's acceptable, look at the unbridled emotion from the likes of Tardelli or Ketsbaia. Even something choreographed like Gazza's dentists chair or Robbie Fowler's snort is ok, because it was done once. Leave it that, don't turn yourself into a side show.