Sunday, March 11, 2007

Otto’s Odyssey - 50-K

Ex FC Narvik striker and inventor of the goal celebration Otto Bredesen has a lot to answer for: "Scoring a goal can only be comparable to sex and like any good orgasm the secret is in trying to prolong the moment," he explained in the now derelict stadium on the rugged border shared by Norway and Sweden . Translated loosely as "Otto's vinegar-strokes moment," he timed the game's virgin celebration to excellent effect in league season 1967/68 a mere two weeks after the introduction of colour television across Europe . The Norwegian second division hadn't seen publicity like it since the expansion from twelve to fourteen clubs in the previous decade and Otto went on to perform a variety of dual-armed salutes, amorous yet imaginary kisses to the crowds and his autograph - the two yard knee slide - all in amazing Technicolor. Since those exciting yet innocent times, goal commemorations have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous and Otto is bemused at the craze that he so innocently started.

Throughout the decades, fans have been treated to magic and momentous moments of post goal derangement; the defining moment for many epitomised in the undiluted ecstasy emanating from that goal by Marco Tardelli - – every time it’s repeated - TV’s need to be unplugged to cool down from the dangerous levels of testosterone. Recent comparisons could do worse than Stuart Pearce’s strained cry of the bulldog after finally netting a penalty, although he looks far more the ex-electrician than the passionate, emotionally charged Latin. Fist pumping, taunting, laughing, acting the goat (literally) - you name it – it’s been done, rehearsed and then done again.

Inevitably, controversy has often followed these moments like an unwanted bedfellow with referees and coaches having to control over-exuberant acts that have threatened the image of the game. On other occasions celebrations have caused debate on the front pages, condemnation and sometimes just plain confusion: Ex England assistant-manager and pioneer of new technology Steve Mclaren was unusually baffled by his own statistics after one pre-World Cup game, having to send back his prozone results to the Texan laboratory. Prozone famously charts the average position of players on the pitch throughout the game but Mclaren hadn’t factored in time when the ball wasn’t in play. As a result of this his post match insistence that “Crouchy was everywhere in that game” was correct if only he had added the caveat, “in his goal celebrations.” Bewilderment reigned again only last week as Craig Bellamy wheeled away in the Nou Camp penalty area announcing his “golf swing” to the watching millions. After the game and following considerable pressure from team-mates he confessed, "I lost control for a few seconds,” and rightly so. Golfing coach David Leadbetter explains, “This sends out the completely wrong sort of message to youngsters; how are we supposed to attract more people to the game of golf after that? His technique was terrible;.” Leadbetter has a valid point and pressure has increased on the goal scorer to round things off with choreography that is not only artistic but also technically proficient.

Despite or maybe even because of the negative publicity, there’s no denying that the beautiful game now needs a goal celebration; so whether it’s a seven foot robot, Fowler’s snort, Gazza’s visit to the dentist, Klingsman’s dive, Bebeto’s baby or that bloke who played for Fulham’s mask; it’s time to finally salute you Sir Otto Bredesen.


andrewm said...

Good article 50K, but I hate goal celebrations. You should run to the crowd if it's a really important goal, but otherwise you should run to the teammate who supplied the assist. I'm not all that happy with celebrating with the subs bench either. Get on with the bloody game!

MotM said...

Was this submitted to BB?

Another piece easily better than most of the winners.

The Tardelli is a classic - we have an inevitably paler version in England with the late Emlyn running towards the camera, but the Tardelli is the benchmark.

I liked Maradona's mad one after that spectacular goal and before the spectacular sending home in 94 and Tevez was great at Upton Park last week.

For a Blue, Duncan Disorderly shirt twirling run up the touchline (just about his career best in pace and distance ball in play or not) vs Man Utd is the classic.

Liked wee Gordon sitting on the advertising board in 86 (I think) too.

Can't stand the prepared ones, nor the Thierry Henry shoulder shrug.

MotM said...

Andrewm - Unlike so many sports, a goal in football is a rare and beautiful thing. It deserves its celebration, a catching of breath by fans and players alike, then a return to the centre circle.

Although I always enjoy the scorer running to fish the ball out of the net in his haste to restart the game having pulled a gola back to make it 2-1 with five minutes to play. Le Tissier's point for a team-mate to do it for him was even better.

kokomo said...

love that ketsbaia one at the end. surely you enjoy seeing that passion , that release andrew? Hate the terry 'enry ones, hate the really prepared ones, hate the bebeto copycats, but i agree with mouth, and most importantly otto.

The moment of scoring a goal is rare, and has a beautiful truth and finality about it. Prolonging the moment, celbrating it, i love it.

andrewm said...

Mouth, KK, it's the celebrating a goal against a third division side in the third round of the Cup like it's Messi's equaliser against Real that gets to me. Psychology - show them that you don't think it's the most incredible thing that's ever happened, it's just what you do, and you intend to do it again pretty soon.

That's probably crap psychology actually :)

tony ellis said...

I agree with mouth here - can't believe it wouldn't have got a mention at least.

I'm not sure about goal celebrations. The planned ones are painfully embarrassing as a rule, especially when they become part of the post-match interview. On the other hand, I was strangely moved by Kiko's elegant archer...

MotM said...

andrewm - Good point re the scale of the celebration. I think that all started with the Nick Hancock show and now Soccer AM. Shame really as it spoils the proper jobs like Tevez last week or Nigel Tufnell's equaliser last night.

Zeph said...

Some really good pieces on this site today, and witty too. Thanks 50k!

I expecially like: "it's been done, rehearsed, and then done again".

bluedaddy said...

This would have been a worthy podium piece. It's nicely paced, not obvious, witty (I like the vinegar strokes link), and pays off with a great, and bang up to date (includes Bellamy's vs Barca golf celebration), link to the Top 20 on Youtube.

And it could have provoked a great blog, with everyone able to quote a favourite. Shame.

I love Klinsmann's dive (esp the No 22 sliding in from about the halfway line), the Handshake/Thankyou one was good, and as for Ketsbaia - craziest footballer ever?

50KaWeekSub said...

This was submitted to BB - my aim was to create a kind of You-Tube fest with other bloggers pasting on clips but I guess it's been done on Soccer AM etc etc anyway plus already on the You Tube blogs in one form or another.

Maradona's passionate eye-bulge was a classic and really evoked his fu88ed up state of mind at the time.

andrewm - I agree with you to an extent but sometimes we remember the celebration more than the goal which isn't always a bad thing - it's a memory after all?

pipita said...

Nice piece 50 k, really enjoyed that. I find goal celebrations can be either attractive, Tardelli's no doubt a good example, or particularly irritating, Bebeto's baby in arms later followed by so many others. But the goal-lcelebrator that always struck me the most, not necesarily the best but clearly the most amusing, was legendary gerogie Best. After scoring he would just casually raise his right arm accompanied by an arrogant expression that seemed to imply how bored he was with being such a genius

50KaWeekSub said...

Pipita - Cantona had a similar arrogance and nowadays you'd have to say Henry fits the "I know I'm King" bill - must be a French thing originating in N.Ireland obviously?

MOTM - it was tricky fitting some sort of "history" of celebrations into a serious piece; hence I went for a bit of "comedy" with the proviso that it would provoke serious(ish) debating. That Strachs one was typical of the man, i.e idiosyncratic and cheeky; thanks for the reminder.

The comments on here prove that it could have worked. Any further You Tube links (i.e. the Emelyn?) would be appreciated as this was also my original intention.

MotM said...

Back in the days when I played cricket, filling time on the boundary, I played a "What's just happened", instead of "What happened next". One would do the the celebration, the team would guess? One raised arm + index finger? Allan Clark has scored a goal. Fist punch? Stuart Pearson. Lie flat on back with raised head? Charlie George, etc etc.

It showed me how much these celebrations had seeped into collective consciousness.

How did this not get published!!!

pipita said...

Strachan's was brilliant. In fact I think he sticks his leg on the advertisment board kind of indicating he's too short to jump over it like maradona had done the previous day when he scored against the italians

50KaWeekSub said...

The Maradona link to Strachs makes it even funnier...especially as the wee man is probably half an inch taller than the maestro.

Gazza's dental swig was also a real snapshot of his career, i.e. brilliant (the goal) yet ultimately self de-structive (drinking).

Another obvious one was Paul Merson's famous "drinking pints" after the Arse won at Wembley. A psychologist could have a field day...

pipita said...

Then there was Sava who played for Gimnasia here in Argentina a team nicknamed "the wolves" so he'd get out a wolf mask from underneath his sock and put it on every time he scored. Did the same when at Fulham, however didnt get too many chances to perform that act over there

50KaWeekSub said...

Facundo Sava - that was him. I went to a cup game at Fulham with Charlton and we all planned to taunt the home fans by putting on our £1 masks when we "scored."

Needless to say we didn't and were dumped out of the cup - our planned celebrations left to float in the wind like our plastic masks.

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