It is actually illegal to talk about Coventry in any footballing sense without mentioning the 1987 FA Cup final win over Spurs, so let’s get that one out of the way early, my thoughts on it being that it was one of those ‘memorable goals’ games where you can remember it as if it were yesterday. The cross from Dave Bennett and the fantastic diving header from Keith Houchen rocketing into the net beyond the despairing dive of Tottenham goalkeeper Dave Clemence.
Another big FA Cup final one for me at Wembley was an Ian Rush goal against Everton in the mid-1980s, not the most spectacular strike you’ll ever see, but the main thing I remember from it is the ball knocking the camera over at the back of the net. Oh, and on the subject of television cameras what about the Diego Maradona one where he ran straight at the camera with a wild-eyed expression after scoring in the World Cup, infact that one was 18 and a half years ago now, you wonder where the time goes.
Wide-eyed World Cup goal celebrations taking us even further back to 1982 and Italy’s 3-1 final win over West Germany in Madrid, the man concerned being Marco Tardelli who charged off into the distance with fists pumping after making it 2-0 to the Azzurri. Three years before that meanwhile and another goal that sticks with me more for the aftermath of it than the goal itself was the header Trevor Francis scored with as Nottingham Forest beat Malmo 1-0 in the 1979 European Cup final, my abiding memory of it being Francis, after scoring, falling onto the shot put circle at the Olympic Stadium in Munich.
Trying to think back I can’t actually think of that many memorable goals from that competition in my memory bank, the Liverpool and Manchester United comebacks were something out of the ordinary I suppose but the goals themselves were nothing to write home about for any particular reason. Same with the UEFA Cup as well I suppose, nothing really sticks out there although I don’t know why but I always think of a rare Tony Parks appearance in goal as Spurs beat Anderlecht on penalties in the 1984 final.
As far as penalties are concerned I’m sure we all remember the expression on Chris Waddle’s face as he blazed his 1990 spot-kick high and wide, while we also have David Beckham staring accusingly at a muddy penalty spot after firing over in the EURO 2004 quarter-finals against Portugal in yet another shoot-out defeat for the Three Lions. Beyond that? Another England one I suppose, Stuart Pearce’s ‘Psycho’ celebration after smacking home his penalty in a very rare shootout victory, this time against Spain at EURO 96.
EUROs wise the 1984 Championships saw an absolute cracker of a game and a goal celebration too as Michel Platini made it 3-2 to the hosts France in the final minute of extra-time of their semi-final against Portugal, as John Motson screamed in the background: “Platini! Goal! Platini for France, with a minute to go, it's 3-2. I've not seen a match like this in years!”
What about some famous Carlisle United goal celebrations then, well the older ones amongst you will be able to go back further than my 40 years but the rowing boat thing at Cambridge in 1996-97 I think it was immediately sticks out, with Steve Hayward’s winning penalty sprint in 1995 at Wembley also a strong contender. For the punters that do go back to before the 1980s though, unlike me memory-wise, who were the big CUFC ‘celebrators’ back in the day when goal celebrations weren’t anywhere near as extravagant as they are these days?
We do actually seem to have reached a peak now as far as they are concerned, with players seemingly having run out of ideas for new ones, which isn’t really a bad thing in my book. Not that I’m touch of a middle aged misery guts but it wouldn’t be the worst scenario in the world if we just went back to a good old fashioned handshake after a goal has been scored, think Ravi Bopara at Lord’s.