Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick against Manchester City has been named the Premier League’s best ever goal – the wrong decision for a flawed competition.
Before going any further, this is not a suggestion that it was not a stunning strike. It was, and Rooney deserves most of the plaudits he has received for it, just not this one.
The competition was voted on by fans from around the world in a commemoration of the Premier League’s 20th anniversary, which was the one glaring mistake made by those organising the competition.
Again, this is not to say that the views of regular fans aren’t valid, but is it any surprise that the star player from the club with by far the biggest worldwide fan base of any Premier League side won the prize?
The nature of the Premier League machine is one of short-termism, so round the clock coverage means the most recent spectacles burn brightest.
There becomes no need to worry about what has just happened because the next dramatic narrative is having its scene set overnight.
Rooney’s goal was brilliant and it won a game, but have we not seen goals like this before? There was nothing unique about the goal, no matter how well executed it was.
An award like this should be decided by veterans from the game – expert analysis from ex-players surrounding the league is often not the best, but you can trust them to see the quality where others may not.
Although it scored closely behind the Rooney goal in the voting, Dennis Bergkamp’s flick and turn against Newcastle United was a piece of sublime skill that had never been seen before.
It was a rare combination of original thought, movement and guile – the cool low finish wasn’t bad either.
The same can be said about the third placed goal, Thierry Henry’s flick up and turning volley against Manchester United at Highbury, which was another unique piece of brilliance.
These are just two from the list of nominees, and similar things can be said about a few others in the running.
Of course, these arguments are always objective, so there is probably not a lot you can say to convince a person otherwise, arguments like the above are examples why lists and awards such as these are so pointless.
How can you tell one person that their favourite is not the best? There is always so much more than the aesthetics that make a goal so important.
There is the time, the place, the opposition and, for this GMF writer at least, the originality of the goal.
This is highlighted by the absentees from the list put forward, so many goals that could be argued to be equal or superior.
There is this strike by Aston Villa’s Dalian Atkinson in 1992 against Wimbledon, a strike of such skill and quality that it is baffling as to why it has not made the list.
There is even another volley from Rooney, against Newcastle United, that could quite easily have been nominated as one of the best. It is made even better by the fact that he was screaming at the referee moments before slamming the ball home from 25 yards.
When you see just a couple of examples of goals that were not included, you begin to question the legitimacy of the list as a whole, never mind whether it was a worthy winner or not.
It is typical of the Premier League to go about reminiscing something that could be the source of so much enjoyment by ham-fistedly declaring that there must be a ‘winner’.
There are countless spectacular volleys, thumps, solos goals and slick team goals to remember why the Premier League has been such an enjoyment.
A solution would be to put together an archive that people can access easily and enjoy at their pleasure.
Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick wasn’t the winner, football was, and it always has been.
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