Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Goal Celebrations

I can't remember quite when it became the done thing to engage in manic celebrations after scoring a goal in a football match. Today we see players performing dances (of sorts), slides that damage the groundsman's carefully preserved turf, group scrums, flinging themselves into the crowd or removing and waving their shirts amongst other symptoms of delirium. It all goes on for some time. I suppose they realise that their behaviour will be copied at lower levels of the game.
I don't think players behaved like that when I used to stand on the terraces, but there was nothing like such a culture of celebrity then and players were far less well paid.
I can understand being pleased about scoring. I never scored that many myself, but I was always very pleased when I did. Of course I was not playing for my living, or even for pin money. I was playing because I enjoyed playing and my team-mates and our opponents were the same. The love of the game, we called it in our naivety.
We all probably thought back then that scoring was enough. The opposition had already suffered a collective failure and did not need their noses rubbed in it, any more than we should have appreciated triumphalism on their part. There was still a fairly clear definition of 'unsportsmanlike conduct'. And then of course we rarely had more than one man and a dog in front of whom to show off.
Referees at our level would not have waited for us to perform lengthy celebrations. They would not have booked us; they would simply have restarted the game and left it to our team mates to express their own thoughts on the issue of our absence from the pitch.
I can't help thinking that would still be a good idea.