The Celebration Station

Every week we’ll be breaking down and rating well-known and memorable goal-scoring celebrations. When judging celebrations we’ll be looking at such key ingredients as originality, how iconic the celebration became, identity (do you instinctively link the celebration to the scorer) and, of course, playground appeal (which celebrations are kids ripping off after shinning a beauty between their schoolbag goalposts at lunchtime).

Kevin Nolan’s ‘Serious Chicken’

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Dice

‘The chicken is firmly not dead.’

Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan’s celebratory chicken dance differs from previous occupants of The Celebration Station. It is no less energetic, no less self-involved, less frequent perhaps but only due to the midfielder’s lack of recent goals. No, the difference lies within the evolution of Nolan’s chicken, the path the bird has made over the course of the journeyman’s career and the lessons it has learnt.

In its earlier days a fresh-faced Nolan would carry the celebration with broad smiles and whimsical delight. The chicken was alive and well as it scampered along St James’ Park’s turf, clucking itself silly after every goal; but between then and now something has changed. In recent times an older, wiser Nolan goal has layered his chicken routine with angst and torment. The clucking rooster is all clucked out as he struts past the baying Upton Park crowds, wings furiously flapping to no avail.

One can only wonder when and why the celebration changed. Has the West Ham captain lost his love for the game; a secret he is only willing to reveal through the sacred medium of chicken dance? Perhaps the Boleyn Ground bard is making a veiled attempt to criticize battery farming? Or maybe, as many have speculated, Nolan’s celebration is performance art; a one-man ongoing interpretation of the circle of life chronicling the working man’s plight in a world devoid of meaning revealed gradually one heartbreaking chicken dance at a time? Only the thinking-man’s enigma that is Kevin Nolan holds the answers to these questions. For my part, I give the celebration a solid six out of ten.

6/10

 G

Joshua G. Grüber felt unable to fully comprehend Nolan’s ‘Serious Chicken’ and has therefore declined to contribute to this week’s Celebration Station.

-/10

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6/10

The Celebration Station

Every week we’ll be breaking down and rating well-known and memorable goal-scoring celebrations. When judging celebrations we’ll be looking at such key ingredients as originality, how iconic the celebration became, identity (do you instinctively link the celebration to the scorer) and, of course, playground appeal (which celebrations are kids ripping off after shinning a beauty between their schoolbag goalposts at lunchtime).

Alan Shearer’s ‘Raising of the Arm’

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Dice

‘I think someone said to me once: ‘Will you ever change your celebration?’ and after that there was no way I was going to change it.’

Alan Shearer

It doesn’t take an evening spent watching Match of the Day to realise Alan Shearer is a stunningly boring man. All you have to do is read the above quote and you pretty much get the gist of the man’s capacity to make even the most ardent Shearer-fans zone out.

At least in this sense his ‘Raising of the Arm’ celebration is apt; the celebratory equivalent of watching Grey’s Anatomy or having your (rump) steak cooked medium well. It’s unspectacular and uninspired, harmless and comfortable, and, above all else, consistent. Be it meaningless penalty or game-clinching thunderpuncher, Shearer would always follow his goals with the raised arm and the facial expression of a cheeky schoolboy who runs in the corridor when the teacher isn’t looking then sniggers at his own wanton bad-assery.

People would have you believe it’s the understated nature of the action that makes it iconic; that there’s a supposed humility and dignity in refraining from doing anything other than raising your right arm. I call bullshit. All celebrations are designed to milk applause, to bask in oneself’s own brilliance and importance. If you choose to waste that moment by blithely raising your arm then more fool you.

Let’s get one thing straight; the man was a phenomenal goalscorer. Unequaled. And agreed, the celebration is well-known and playground approved due to its constant position in the footballing public eye (Shearer scored a fuckload). For that reason, damned by my own parameters for what constitutes a good celebration, I have to give the man an extremely begrudging 4. But let it be known that in terms of originality, creativity, vitality, in terms of how iconic it is compared to how iconic it deserves to be, it gets the fattest and roundest of zeroes.

4/10

 G

In terms of the criteria we are supposed to follow when rating a celebration, this one ticks nearly all of the boxes. We can all agree that this celebration is iconic and you know exactly who scorer is when you see it. Plus, playground appeal, if you have just smashed an indirect freekick into the top bag and you haven’t really thought about a celebration, this is a quick and simple way to portray your elation. No one can question your choice; this is the celebration of a proven goalscorer. All that being said, this has to be the most boring and uninspiring celebration of all time. Maybe it’s the fact we have seen it over 300 times, week in, week out, maybe its Shearer’s lack of personality, maybe I’m just biased against footballers who don’t do anything to excite me. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, this celebration will hopefully remain retired.

4/10

4/10

The Celebration Station

Every week we’ll be breaking down and rating well-known and memorable goal-scoring celebrations. When judging celebrations we’ll be looking at such key ingredients as originality, how iconic the celebration became, identity (do you instinctively link the celebration to the scorer) and, of course, playground appeal (which celebrations are kids ripping off after shinning a beauty between their schoolbag goalposts at lunchtime).

Daniel Sturridge’s ‘Are You Not Entertained?

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Dice

‘For me, I think I probably will look back [at my dance celebration] and think…at the time, it felt right.’

Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge’s celebration dance is ridiculous. Let’s just make that clear. Not just the dance itself but his sullen facial expression, the way he removes himself from his emotions, his team mates, the moment; and just gives himself to dance. It’s all ridiculous…but god damn has it caught on.

Any potential sniff of goal has the cameraman prone and ready to capture every second of Sturridge’s own private afterparty. Fans wait excitedly in empty car parks to flaunt their own version of the dance to the striker. South African Pirates use their biggest game of the season to offer tribute to Sturridge’s celebration (see below). He has the masses eating out of the palm of his hand every time he moves his arms and all the while his eyes are screaming ‘Are you not entertained?!’.

Fucking A we are.

8.5/10

 G

I must say, I’ve never seen a celebration quite like this. I’m a keen dancer and this move is even a bit too much for me. I really want to know the thought process behind it… Was it a drunken body movement that caught on…? Did he steal it from abroad…? Was he in his bedroom just working on a celebration and it happened…? I guess we’ll never know. The fact of the matter is this, I like this celebration, it’s original, it has character and it’s his own.

This is something I can box with.

8/10

8.25/10

The Celebration Station

Every week we’ll be breaking down and rating well-known and memorable goal-scoring celebrations. When judging celebrations we’ll be looking at such key ingredients as originality, how iconic the celebration became, identity (do you instinctively link the celebration to the scorer) and, of course, playground appeal (which celebrations are kids ripping off after shinning a beauty between their schoolbag goalposts at lunchtime).

Fabio Borini’s ‘Knife Between the Teeth

The Celebration Station

Dice

‘In Italy, we say when one person wants something so much it is like he has a knife between his teeth – like a warrior who never gives up.’

Fabio Borini

Borini hasn’t proven to be the most prolific of goal scorers in the Premier League so every time he pulls off his ‘knife between the teeth’ celebration you tend to remember it. It can’t have hurt either that one recent example (above) is now  forever paired with his last minute derby winner against Newcastle (’twas a cracking goal too). 

The celebration itself is a bit awkward; it lacks a sheen you’re always in danger of losing when you willingly stick your own hand into your mouth, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in passion and enthusiasm. The guy just sells it a thousand times over. It doesn’t matter if it’s a last minute winner against arch-rivals or a meaningless toe-poke against lower league opponents, Borini sticks his hand in his mouth faster than a bulimia patient after a hog roast. If you commit to something so consistently and with so much unadulterated joy, it’s bound to catch on.

7/10 

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Personally, I am not a big fan of this celebration. As The Diceman stated, it clearly has meaning and obviously this is something that Borini wants to be related with. Unfortunately, with all due respect to Fabio Borini, the notion of him being a ‘warrior’ on the football pitch is something that I cannot really box with. Now, I fully appreciate the originality of the celebration but sometimes I feel you need a player of a certain stature to fully catch the imagination of the audience, Borini in this instance, misses the mark. Even though he is only 22 years old and has many more years to prove himself, as of right now, he is yet to score more than 10 goals in a season, so I cannot even say I have seen the celebration enough to give it a high rating.

4/10

5.5/10