Ten most iconic celebrations ever include Liverpool pair and England heroes

John Nicholson
England forward Peter Crouch, Newcastle striker Alan Shearer and Liverpool player Daniel Sturridge
Celebrate good times, come on

Liverpool and England icons feature but who had the greatest celebration ever? Has to be the ‘here I am spinning vinyl in a club while holding headphones’.

 

Alan Shearer
For fans of unfussy celebrations, Al’s single raised, slightly cocked arm, coupled with a sh*t-eating grin, is the ultimate goalscorer’s celebration, so iconic that it has been reduced to an outline and is instantly recognisable. It seems entirely in character. None of that dancing nonsense; this is a stripped-down thing which doesn’t seem in the slightest bit daft or could be taken the pish out of by the bigger, rougher boys. Also easily copied by people who can’t think up their own thing.

 

Fabrizio Ravanelli
It seems barely believable now that before The White Feather came to Teesside, no-one had pulled their shirt over their head after scoring to form a makeshift head-based pasty, but in his brief time at Middlesbrough he popularised this simple celebration. Some add a message on an undershirt but the original was a big hit with everyone. Easily copied and very silly, it’s impossible to imagine someone like Shearer being so silly.

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Robbie Fowler
Back when football was fun and wasn’t dominated by Poindexters measuring sprints, Fowler pretended to snort a line of something or other versus Arsenal which seemed entirely reasonable to people who had and still have a Noel Gallagher haircut. A one-time celebration which anticipated the rise of cocaine as the drug of choice for the thick-necked members of the crowd who can’t get through Alloa v Hamilton Academicals without a bump of Charlie. The only celebration to predict the future.

 

Lee Sharpe
Many of the ‘dancing like you’re in a club’ modern day celebrations owe a debt to Lee’s hips-like-Elvis grooving with the corner flag with a look on your face that suggests you are coming up on ecstasy. I’d go as far as to say his celebration led directly to a brief ITV4-level post-playing career which impressed no-one. It was thought so wild and untamed that Lee must be a wild and crazy guy, too. He wasn’t.

 

Tim Cahill
Another corner flag celebrant, there was something decidedly Australian about how he pretended to box the corner flag in the way it combined violence with an inanimate object. It seemed as if he was annoyed with the architecture of the ground and was part of a vaguely disturbing trend to appear rather annoyed by scoring a goal. Tim’s dark-haired moodiness and reputation for frequently putting his head where most would not put their foot didn’t harm the celebration. And now anyone messing about with the bendy corner flag seems inspired by or is copying Tim.

 

Paul Gascoigne
The dentist chair celebration against Scotland is now 28 years old. Feel old yet? Its uniqueness now comes with a side order of guilt for celebrating destructive behaviour. But it was perfectly in context and only really powerfully relevant at the time. Now seems like part of the Britpop years when “laddism” was a (pathetic) thing celebrated in Loaded and women were congratulated for drinking like some men, by people who didn’t know any Northern or Scottish women who had been drinking pints for years. Zoe Ball, a cultural icon, yes you read that right.

 

Daniel Sturridge
He may be your latest insightful pundit
but he was responsible for one of the most awful yet distinctive celebrations which, for a time, kids across the whole land copied, so tip of the hat for that level of popularity. All it involved was putting your arms out wide and rippling them from one arm to another. Doesn’t seem much, does it? People absolutely loved it. Unfortunately for Daniel, it probably caused him to be out injured for most of his career. But it remains a celebration inextricably tied to that season at Liverpool when Brendan was gobsh*ting about mince and Luis Suarez was developing a cannibalist tendency.

 

Peter Crouch
Now an even bigger star than he was a footballer, who will shill for gambling companies and anything else that pays big and has that most 2024 of things: a successful podcast. And yet, despite over-exposure, looking awkward and everything else dubious connected to betting, everyone loves Crouchy and his wife. And that is in part because they seem canny and don’t take it all too seriously, but is also because of The Robot, which is still being exploited in adverts to this day despite it dating to the end of May 2006. That is a successful goal celebration that is unparalleled in its success in how Crouch has fully exploited its commerciality. To be fair, it did always look distinct, but the degree to which it has had longevity beyond its worth is remarkable. When will enough be enough?

 

Emile Heskey
He didn’t score as often as was assumed he should but he developed a rather detailed ‘here I am spinning vinyl in a club while holding headphones to my ear to set up the next disc’ celebration for when he did. Now seems a bit anachronistic given most DJs just now carry a dongle with their set on it, but when he did the celebration it was a rare example of a goal celebration echoing modern life. Though we imagine Emile didn’t play any Gil Scott Heron and would answer in the negative when the perennial question ‘Got Any Quo?’ was asked.

 

Bebeto
Famous Brazilian socialist who became a politician, did the inexplicably popular ‘rocking the baby’ celebration in the 1994 World Cup which some footballers who are fertile wanted to celebrate, even though it soon became a cliche because so many footballers had children. Bebeto’s kid is now a 30-year-old footballer. How old are you? Occasionally crops up much to the chagrin of fans who are sick of it and have been seeing a grinning footballer doing it for three decades. A classic example of a celebration that needs some work but still remains popular due to some footballers being fertile and, let’s be honest, too thick to do something else.

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