I got my first chance to have another look at Dale’s wonder-strike last night and it was every bit as brilliant as I remember it on the night. Funny how I still held my breath as it flew through the air. Although it may well be a bit too fresh in the memory to be compared alongside ‘classic’ strikes that have stood the test of time, it did make me drift off into one of those self-indulgent moments when I reminisced about those goals I could never get bored of watching. In this respect, it’s a bit like music, for me. There are songs I absolutely love at the moment, but will I still feel the same in 10 or 15 years time. No matter how many times I hear Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang, it always brings a smile to my face.
Anyway, I guess the real test for these sort of daydreaming moments is that the memories should instantly surface without a great deal of prompting (and certainly not research). In chronological order, as best I can remember, I thought I’d share some of my own personal favorite goals and the very different reasons they have resonated inside of me for so long.
First up is Tardelli’s goal for the Italians in the World Cup Final v’s West Germany in 1982. I’ve written about this goal before when I wrote my ‘World Cup Memories’ series back in 2010. It was the first time I can recall being blown away by the impact of a goal that bore no relevance to me personally in terms of a being a supporter. The importance of the strike and the wonderful and passionate celebration that followed came together in a ‘perfect storm’ to create one of those moments that still raises the hair on the back of my neck when I see it.
Next up is another goal that I’ve wrote about before and it’s likely to be controversial: Maradona’s second goal against England. I’m going to take the lazy route on this one and quote what I wrote back in 2010, mainly as it never will change..…“But for all the criticism that came with the first goal, even the hardiest of England fan could not have done anything other than admire the second. For me, it remains the best goal ever scored (I take in to account the occasion and stage). Maradona’s run was far beyond genius: beyond imagination. I had never seen such genius with the football. You could have put the entire English nation in front of Shilton that day and the world’s greatest footballer would have gone through us all. He was unplayable and unstoppable. Above all else, I wanted with all my twelve year old heart for England to win, but the truth was that day belonged to someone else…El Diego!
You’ll have to help me on this, dear reader, but I’m guessing it was around 1996-7 when a late Mark Kinsella strike from 35 yards out flew into the top corner of Norwich’s net to hand the Addicks their first away win of the season at Carrow Road. It was special for me as it was my first ever away game with Charlton and I’d made the decision to up my support and go to the match as we was struggling for form in the league, and in particular, away from home. Looking back I can still picture quite clearly the ball travelling towards the goal and me shouting ‘that’s going in…it’s going in’. It did, and I shall always remember that moment when the net bulged.
And now on to the greatest game of football I have ever been to, or ever will: the Play-Off Final at the old Wembley in 98. In particular, Mendonca’s 2nd goal will always remain special to me for there is one single and overriding memory I have of that day that for reasons known only to my grey matter, has resonated far deeper than any other. With Charlton 1-2 down, Keith Jones loops the ball forward and Super Clive takes a heavy first touch (around 5:06 on the link below). Despite this, the ball bounces favourably away from the Sunderland defenders and Super Clive breaks free. As if it happened yesterday, I remember rising on my seat from behind that goal and thinking, ‘if he gets the second touch right we’ve scored’. It seemed to take an absolute eternity for the ball to drop, almost enough time for the entire Sunderland defense to build a block wall in front of the goal. My heart had stopped and the world had stopped spinning. But he did get the touch right and he did score. Little did I know that the drama of that day had barely begun and one day I will make sense of it all and write a piece about my experiences of the day.
Matty Holland’s goal v’s Chelsea on Boxing Day 2003. We’d go on to win 4-2 that day, but my emotions were all over the place as my little girl had been born just months before. That goal released every ounce of emotion inside of me and I went off like a volcano! John, who sits next to me in the East Stand, grabbed hold of me, and if he hadn’t, I’d have reached the moon.
Finally, as everything since (like Kyle Reid in the last minute at Southend, for example, or LLera’s equaliser against Swindon) is too recent, I will stop this self-indulgence at Sir Chris’s last appearance for the Addicks back in 2008. The goal – the fourth in a 4-1 home win - was meaningless in every respect other than it was scored by Chris Powell, and how the Valley celebrated. Relegation took a back seat as one of the most popular players ever to have pulled on a Charlton shirt scored only his 3rd goal for the club, and the script could not have been written better by even the most imaginative mind from Hollywood. Magic moment indeed and one I cherish deeply.
How Dale’s strike will sit with the above only time will tell. But if come the end of the season we scrape over the line by a point, it will forever be my favorite!