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’



‘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.



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