The Thundercliffe Files: euphoria or functionality?

Cod Almighty | Article

by Paul Thundercliffe

9 August 2019

Thie visit of Bradford for Town's first home game of the season makes it a big occasion. For James Hanson especially

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Football returns to the newly-modernised Blundell Park tomorrow and there could be no better opponents to herald the new toilets and stairlift. Bradford was always going to be a big game at home and the fact it's the first one adds spice, as do the results from the opening fixtures.

Bradford games have always been special, from the Yorkies, what’s the score? drubbing we gave them in 1991 to League Cup debuts for Jack Lester and seven-goal thrillers in the season we just pipped them for relegation in 1997. Truth is, we haven't beaten the Bantams in 11 league games, spanning almost 21 years, during which they've been in the first division and a League Cup final and we've been thrashed by Braintree and Halifax.

All eyes will be on James Hanson, Bradford born and bred, who has already stated that he does not intend to celebrate if he scores. It's an interesting conundrum. Scoring a goal is probably the most instantly euphoric thing a footballer can do, but to immediately temper that because youve scored against your hometown club gives the act of scoring a sheen of functionality.

I'm not going to call out Hanson's professionalism but the scenes after the goals against Morecambe illustrated team morale. I want to see the commitment to score and celebrate wildly

I’m not going to call out Hanson’s professionalism in terms of his efforts to score. But I suppose it would be better if his goal wasn’t significant, either a consolation or a cake-topping cherry of a strike in the 90th minute.

I would like Hanson to celebrate. The scenes after the goals against Morecambe illustrated the team morale highlighted by James McKeown in pre-season. It cements the comments Jolley made about getting the right people in as well as the right players. I want to see the commitment to score and celebrate wildly, no matter who you’re playing against.

Previous players have celebrated goals against Town. Kevin Drinkell famously cycle-kicked a debut goal against his boyhood club and then raised his arms in triumph. I certainly remember Paul Wilkinson’s trademark header for Middlesbrough in 1993 heralded with scorer’s arms aloft. Even Super Clive celebrated one of Charlton’s five in 1999.

More recently, however, the trend is for not celebrating with Podge Amond being a classic example. You get the impression Podge didn’t really want to leave and I've never heard or seen a player be given such a warm reception after scoring two goals as he did for Hartlepool a couple of season back. Whether the respect from the Town fans was because he didn’t celebrate or whether we just wished he still played for us is interesting. I certainly don’t think we’d have jeered him if he ran the length of the pitch doing cartwheels, but it certainly helped I suppose.

When goals aren't celebrated it makes you realise that these are just people doing their job. For some of us that might be serving drinks or selling windows. For Hanson, Podge, Clive and the rest their money is earned by scoring goals, whether they are happy about it or not.

Whatever happens, lets hope for a magic game, a raucous, full-blooded occasion. And James Hanson scoring – and celebrating wildly - the winner in front of his new fans.

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