Best free-kick routine ever? When FIFA banned Coventry's 'Goal of the Season' technique

Coventry City's Ernie Hunt and Willie Carr will forever be linked with free-kick brilliance.

Everybody in football loves an inspired free-kick routine and there's good reason to think that nobody has ever beaten the pair's 'donkey' trick that proved so problematic that it was banned.

When you think of genius set-piece routines, you often imagine three or four players standing around the ball in a way that ultimately proves to be misleading for the defending team.

Clever free-kick routines

Sometimes that comes in the form of three consecutive dummies and other times it's merely to disguise an unexpected passing move with both spheres of tactics having worked over the years.

However, there is also the far more simple school of free-kick routines that just makes it easier for the intended taker to give it a good wallop towards goal.

There are famous examples where the ball is simply set in motion for the shooter with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard once producing a belter of this nature in the Premier League at Newcastle United.

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Hunt and Carr for Coventry

An advanced version of this teeing up approach has also been demonstrated by Matt Le Tissier with the receiving player proceeding to flick the ball up and launch a volley towards goal.

But none of those techniques could possibly touch the 'donkey' trick that Hunt and Carr pulled off back in 1970 because you know you've done something right when FIFA are required to intervene.

According to the Independent, Carr and Hunt had spent a considerable amount of time practising the routine ahead of Everton's trip to Highfield Road on this day 51 years ago.

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The 'donkey' trick free-kick

And when Coventry were awarded a second-half free-kick just outside of the penalty area, Carr flicked the ball up in the air donkey-style having wedged it between his two ankles.

Hunt then proceeded to smash the ball past Andy Rankin with a sizzling volley for a strike so spectacular that it became the inaugural winner of the 'BBC Goal of the Season' award in 1970/71.

However, trust us when we say that any description of the goal couldn't possibly lay a glove on the footage itself, so be sure to check out the 'donkey' trick dishing out an ass-whooping down below:

That really did rip up the mulebook, didn't it? Ok, I'll see myself out...

FIFA banned the trick

Now, it's easy to see why FIFA brought the axe down on the 'donkey' trick because it required Carr to have sustained contact with the ball as opposed to a rudimentary touch in order to flick it up.

'Back of the Net: 100 Golden Goals' by Billy Edgar explains that FIFA's decision revolved around the fact that the ball was not considered to have moved its full circumference before the second touch.

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That being said, we all secretly wish that Carr and Hunt's masterplan was still within the rules because you can bet that Neymar would try to tee up a teammate with a cheeky rainbow flick.

But half the joy of these weird and wonderful free-kick routines is working out what you can get away with inside the rules, so rest assured that another wild invention will hit our screens soon.

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