Cel­e­bra­tion time

It doesn’t take an an­thro­pol­o­gist to dis­cern that pre­med­i­ta­tion is the en­emy of a cel­e­bra­tion to shout about.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FOOTBALL - by ROb bAGcHi

Des­mond mor­ris’s book The Soc­cer Tribe, pub­lished in 1981 but sadly out of print for many years, cast the cel­e­brated zool­o­gist’s eye over the rit­u­als and unique cer­e­monies of foot­ball and in­ter­preted them, of­ten hi­lar­i­ously, by ap­ply­ing the dis­ci­plines of so­cial an­thro­pol­ogy to the study. This al­lows him to com­pare the con­duct of play­ers, man­agers and fans to the tribal cus­toms and an­i­mal be­hav­iour he had ob­served while en­gaged on rather more ortho­dox aca­demic re­search.

much of it seemed tongue-in-cheek and de­lib­er­ately pseud­ish but his list of the 18 dis­tinct ways of cel­e­brat­ing a goal sprang to mind last week­end when four Premier League play­ers per­formed vari­a­tions on the theme that have sup­ple­mented the art in the 29 years since pub­li­ca­tion.

Af­ter scor­ing the goal that ul­ti­mately de­feated Chelsea, manch­ester City’s Car­los Tevez pulled up his shirt to re­veal a scrawl wish­ing many happy re­turns to his mother, re­viv­ing a tra­di­tion that be­gan in the early 1990s with Ian Wright’s “I love the lads”, Rob­bie Fowler’s pledge of sup­port for strik­ing dock­ers and the crass ral­ly­ing cry of Birm­ing­ham City’s Paul Tait: “sh*t on the Villa.”

Vest slo­ga­neer­ing has en­com­passed the po­lit­i­cal, the parochial and the mun­dane and now seems solely the pre­serve of those who want to in­gra­ti­ate them­selves with, ap­pease or amuse their team-mates or fam­ily. As cel­e­bra­tions go they are now about as sel­f­ref­er­en­tial as you can get.

Robert Green’s phoney so­prano vaf­fan­culo ges­ture to the press box at Up­ton Park fol­low­ing his first clean sheet of the sea­son was a dif­fer­ent kind of cel­e­bra­tion en­tirely, an act of vin­di­ca­tion af­ter en­dur­ing so much crit­i­cism. Any po-faced at­tempt to charge him should face the sort of de­ri­sion that Green has been sub­jected to over the past few months. emile Heskey, mean­while, also had a pop back at his de­trac­tors by cup­ping his ears af­ter that fine nat Loft­hous­esque headed goal at mo­lineux to mock the abuse he had with­stood for most of As­ton Villa’s game against Wolves. Ridi­cul­ing play­ers al­ways of­fers a hostage to for­tune and who but the most charm­less berk would com­plain when they have the last laugh?

The last of the four tri­umphal sprees was un­der­taken by the new­cas­tle cap­tain, Kevin nolan, af­ter scor­ing the penalty that put his side 1-0 up against stoke. Af­ter wrong­foot­ing Thomas sorensen nolan set off, pur­sued by team­mates, en­gaged in what can only be de­scribed as a chicken im­per­son­ation per­formed with such vim that had he been a few years older we might have taken for a trib­ute to nor­man Col­lier. It was rather con­vo­luted and dif­fi­cult to de­ci­pher but had the right qual­ity of daft­ness to en­ter­tain all but stoke and sun­der­land fans.

We had such a string of well-re­hearsed cel­e­bra­tions from 1992 to about five years ago that they be­gan to pall. From Lee sharpe’s elvis with the corner flag to Paul Gas­coigne’s price­less den­tist’s chair and Chelsea’s 10-man pri­mary school class pho­to­graph pose, they be­came a sta­ple of sky’s Soc­cer AM each week and, as such, teams were egged on to top each other with ever more con­trived rou­tines from shin­ing each other’s boots to pre­tend­ing to be Vic Reeves and Bob mor­timer coo­ing down doves from above. The lack of spon­tane­ity rather ru­ined it, just like Ful­ham’s Fa­cundo sava and the mask he pulled out of his sock. Good­ness knows what mor­ris would have made of that.

The back­flip­pers, tak­ing their lead from Real madrid’s goalscor­ing den­tist Hugo sánchez, were a force for a while with Peter Bea­grie, Lo­mana LuaLua and Rob­bie Keane but seem to have fallen out of favour, leav­ing the field clear for the hardy peren­ni­als – knee-slid­ing, belly-flop­ping a la Jür­gen Klinsm­nann and good old-fash­ioned high-kneed sprint­ing with one arm aloft. The wav­ing the shirt over the head las­soo-style as prac­tised so mem­o­rably by dun­can Fer­gu­son and Ryan Giggs have been made ob­so­lete by of­fi­cious con­cerns about time­wast­ing. I don’t think you can beat de­nis Law’s salute, one arm raised with his shirt cuff gripped in his fist, for el­e­gant sim­plic­ity nor should we for­get, in def­er­ence to ed miliband’s out­ing of him­self as a Leeds fan, Peter Lorimer’s re­sem­blance to a de­mented cir­cus sea lion, clap­ping him­self fran­ti­cally af­ter a goal. mick Chan­non’s was the one we all took off at school, whirring the right arm through 360 de­grees, while a slalom solo run to score would de­mand a re-en­act­ment of em­lyn Hughes’s Crazy Horse gal­lop while scream­ing “Get in there” in the high-pitched squeal made fa­mous on the BBC’s 101 Great Goals video.

I do not know whether any of the ex­am­ples from the week­end other than Tevez’s was cooked up in ad­vance but it doesn’t take an an­thro­pol­o­gist to dis­cern that pre­med­i­ta­tion is the en­emy of gen­uine cel­e­bra­tion nor that the great­est of them all, marco Tardelli’s in the 1982 World Cup fi­nal, would not have been the same had he lifted his shirt to re­veal “Ciao mama”. – Guardian news & me­dia 2010

Man City’s Car­los Tevez pulled up his shirt to re­veal a scrawl wish­ing many happy re­turns to his mother af­ter he had scored the win­ner against Chelsea.

Mummy’s boy:

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.