The 10 Best Newcastle United Goal Celebrations Ever
Jonas Gutierrez: The Spiderman Mask - 7th January 2012 vs Blackburn Rovers 2-1
When Kevin Keegan signed Argentine international Jonas Gutierrez from Real Mallorca, the first thing any Newcastle fan was keen to tell you was that he had a daft goal celebration. Joining a side that was heading for relegation with its pants firmly around his ankles, it was over a year before we got the chance to see him actually use it though, when a flurry of impressive strikes in the Championship saw him drawing the comic prop from his kegs and dancing around with it on his face. Brave.
This game in particular though symbolised what the leggy winger was all about though. In a game that will forever be remembered for Hatem Ben Arfa beating the entire Blackburn team, their coaches, travelling fans, youth set up, and training ground dinner ladies before smashing home the equaliser, Jonas had put in a shift that would have had you or I vomiting up a lung. But, with just seconds left, he jinked inside a defender, laid the ball off, continued his run, received the pass, and lifted the ball effortlessly over the goalie. By the time the pandemonium had subsided, all that was left was the sight of a man in a spiderman mask dancing on the touchline.
Kevin Nolan: The Chicken Dance - 31st October 2010 vs Sunderland 5-1
(skip to 07:57 for the goal)
Kevin Nolan will be remembered for a lot of things at Newcastle United. Widely credited with grabbing the rest of the squad by the short and curlies and telling them to either commit to a push for promotion of find a job elsewhere, he's arguably one of the most important midfielders/forwards/captains/landloards the club has had in recent times. His dance moves however, were bloody appealing – even if he did insist he was just copying his mates.
Arguably his biggest day (if not his best performance) came in the first Tyne & Wear derby for two years, when Mrs Doubtfire and her expensively assembled box of generic Premier League journeymen came to St James park on Halloween. Scoring the first hat-trick in the fixture since Peter Beardsley's three on New Year's day 1985, Nolan rounded it off by gently trotting towards the camera, arms winged to his sides, and planting a kiss on the camera. It had serious competition from Titus Bramble's “please ref, no” face for defining image of the day, but it won.
Papiss Cisse: Into The Crowd - 7th April 2013 vs Fulham 1-0
Ask anyone to think about some of the goals Cisse has scored in his relatively short Newcastle career and some utter pearlers come to mind. The match-winning “shinner” on his debut, the deft lob away to Swansea, making the entire Liverpool defence look daft, or defying gravity against Petr Cech. Whilst he's only blatantly trying to impress Shola, he still scores some fantastic goals.
But with mere seconds remaining in a must-win home game against Fulham, he popped up with one of his less memorable efforts. Controlling a harmless shot from Cabaye, the ball flicked up into the air and away from his markers, he knocked it past the goalie, and in one stroke won the game. The relief in the ground was thermonuclear, and forgoing his usual kiss of the pitch, dived headfirst into the stands to share it with the fans, producing one of the most iconic footballing images of the last few years.
Faustino Asprilla: The Corner Flag - 4th December 1996 vs Metz 2-0
His the sort of bloke your mam would call “a character” but Tino's cult image on Tyneside is one of the most well deserved in the club's history. Some say he unsettled a side that had a title in its grasp, some say he was hung like navy rope, but everyone agrees on what a wonderful player he was.
More famed for his handspring/fist-pump trademark celebration, a finely poised UEFA Cup game against French side Metz saw the Columbian ride to the rescue with a mere 10 minutes to go. Charging toward the corner of the Gallowgate end, he removed his shirt, stuck it on the corner flag, and paraded it around before being ritually booked. Tino would later go on to say this was his was of telling the Geordie faithful “thank you for having me”. Our pleasure, mate.
Albert Luque: The Apology - 27th April 2006 vs Sunderland 4-1
In any list of the Premier League's biggest wastes of money, you're likely to find Albert Luque. A player who I've personally seen remove the plague from the teeth of both Barcelona and Real Madrid whilst in Spain seemingly couldn't even pass the salt following his £10m move to Newcastle. We get a lot of that up here.
But if there was one moment that made it all worthwhile, it was the day he finally got his first goal for the club, coming off the bench for Alan Shearer in what proved to the the captain's final game. They might have been, at the time, the worst side in Premier League history, but with the score at 3-1 and two defenders comically clattering into each other, he raced through to make it 4. His reaction? He didn't slide on his knees, jump into the air or dive into the crowd, he clasped his hands together and profusely apologised to the travelling fans. Certainty not the first player to owe us one, but definitely the first to do it.
Temuri Ketsbaia: God only knows - 17th January 1998 vs Bolton 2-1
I once met Temuri Ketsbaia in a Greek restaurant on the Bigg Market when he was over for some charity do. We got chatting in the bogs about Newcastle and when we'd both zipped up to leave he thanked me. When I asked him what for he just replied “for not asking about that celebration”.
It's become the stuff of legend on Tyneside, and to this day there's various conflicting reports (most from the man himself) about what caused it, but after slotting in a late winner against Bolton, the Georgian's reaction was to remove his shirt, dismiss the attentions of his teammates, and knock life out of the nearest advertising hoardings. We've all been there mate.
Alan Shearer: The Shearer - 4th February 2006 vs Portsmouth 2-0
(skip to 25:19 for the goal)
Alan Shearer was a man who scored goals for a living. You might work in a bank, or a shop, or an abattoir, but Alan Shearer scored goals. Even now that he's trying to do something else, like talking about other people scoring goals, it's painfully clear that there was only one calling that suited him. He scored so many in fact, that his celebration became something of a trademark. Hand in the air, run toward the crowd, the proudly stand two arms aloft.
All in all, Newcastle fans saw this over 200 times, but never did it quite have the gusto and the roar behind it when he slipped the attentions of Screech from Saved by the Bell and prodded home to make the club's record tally his own. It might have been coming, but everyone in attendance knew they were witnessing something that would likely never again be repeated. A lad who was born on the bus route to the stadium etching his name into its history. Quite literally living the dream.
Steve Harper: The People's Elbow - 5th February 2011 vs Arsenal 4-4
Now, the great thing about modern football celebrations, is that you don't actually have to have scored the goal to get involved. Following Newcastle historic comeback (or Arsenal's historic collapse, depending on what side of the Watford Gap you're from) an entire stadium bounced around in total disbelief. 0-4 down mere hours after selling our best centre-forward, and we've just volleyed in an equaliser from 20 yards. Is this real life?
Missed by almost everyone in attendance at the time, and rightly so, Cheick Tiote's disbelieving spring back to the centre circle had ended with him on his knees looking up to the sky. He collapsed forward and was immediately joined by his teammates. A week later, having finally come off the ceiling and watching again to make sure it actually happened, fans caught a glimpse of Steve Harper joining in with the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. Are we SURE this is real life?
Phillipe Albert: The Reversed Backslide Knee Hug - 20th October 1996 vs Manchester United 5-0
You know the one – Young and hungry title chasers fresh from a Charity Shield drubbing line up against last years champions against whom they couldn't even buy a goal. Then somehow manage to record one of the most famous victories in English footballing history and still not win the league? Yeah. We know. We dearly wish we could look back on this game as just another three points that went towards 1st place, but with Keegan's Entertainers failing to record their place in the history books, games like these remain our only trinkets.
But what trinkets they are. “On a day when Newcastle would have taken 1-0, here they are looking for number 5... with Philipe Albert...” went Martin Tyler, before joining the rest of the stadium in awe at the sheer majesty and audacity of the Belgian's dink over the best goalkeeper in the world. Turning to the dugout he began on the most bizarre sprint with his arms by his sides (not dissimilar from Schmeichel's attempt to save it), decked it onto the wet turf shoulders first, skidded along, and self-righted to see his teammates sliding along with him. Cake. Iced.
Jose Enrique: The Pile On - 29th March 2010 vs Nottingham Forrest 2-0
Now, put those eyebrows down. I can understand why after all the iconic goals, from all the iconic players, in all the iconic games, Jose Enrique's only goal for the club in a rainy Championship fixture might seem a tad odd, but bear with me.
It had been a tough, tough few years to support Newcastle United. Expectation had made way to optimism, which had made way to disappointment, then resignation, and finally relegation. We'd gone from bossing Inter Milan in the Sane Siro to going down without a fight to Villa in 6 years. A board who didn't have a clue, managers who were even worse, players who couldn't have cared less, and it was the fans who ultimately suffered. It could have been worse, I'll grant you, but that's always seldom comfort. Our 12 months in the Championship still feels like the greatest thing that ever happened to the club, with the dead wood and “mercenaries” shipped out and only those who apparently cared left to fight for promotion. Which we did, in some style.
With the season drawing to a close, title rivals Nottingham Forrest came to St James' and Newcastle had to the chance to cement their instant return to the Premier League. They out-thought and out-fought them, and with mere seconds to go, a clever back heel put left-back Jose Enrique Sanchez Diaz through on goal, he cut inside the desperate defender, and lashed past Lee Camp to seal things.
I was sitting opposite, and I'm yet to see a player look so happy at having scored a goal. Jonas Gutierrez, one of his best mates, grabbed him around the neck and hauled him to the floor before being joined by the rest of the team. Looking like 11 lads who'd just scored a worldie in the playground, never have I ever seen a group of players look so happy for each other. It's not been perfect since, but in the few seconds after that goal there was a tangible sense of togetherness, both on and off the pitch, that had been missing for a long, long time. They book you for that though.
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