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’
‘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.’
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.
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.