30 Day Challenges… Day 1
I’ve seen a few of these around Twitter and Facebook. They just hog timelines as so many people are doing them over time. I’m not saying they’re bad, I’m just saying does EVERYONE have to do them?! To be fair, they’re quite interesting, which is why I’m gonna join in… sort of.
I saw a football one and thought it would be interesting to do. But then I figured I’d just be annoying people if I joined in the fad. More importantly, it’s not enough to just post links to youtube, you need to explain your choices. So that’s why I’m doing mine here and now. No footage from me, just the words. So, day 1 of the 30 day Football Challenge… Your Favourite Match.
It’s such a hard choice to pick your best football match when you attend so many and watch so many more. I could have opted for many I’ve watched on the TV, but I’m going to go for one that I was at, and one involving my team – Celtic.
It was January 2004 – the start of a new year. Celtic were on a high. We’d gone out of the Champions League but were in the UEFA Cup and fancied our chances since it was a competition of which we’d reached the final of the previous season. We were top of the league by eight points and our first game of the new year would be against our biggest rivals, Rangers. It was one of the few times I’d gone into a game against them confident we would win. Well, we’d won the previous 17 league games in a row after all! My confidence wasn’t misplaced as I took my place in the front row of the Jock Stein stand, just to the left of the goal. This was in the time when my season ticket didn’t include Rangers games because they gave my seat to the away support, but I still got tickets elsewhere in the stadium.
Stilian Petrov gave Celtic the lead with a diving header that went in off both posts midway through the first half. The 1-0 scoreline at half time hardly did us justice as we had dominated it. Of course, that meant most of the game was played at the wrong end of the park for me! When we gave Rangers the ball to play with in the second half for a bit, I thought my luck was out. But we still had the best chances and on the hour mark we got a second through Stanislav Varga from a corner. To be fair, Henrik Larsson had nearly scored seconds earlier which is how we had got the corner in the first place! I thought two goals would be enough after that and so did the rest of the support as we started to party for the next 25 minutes. The best was yet to come though as we got a free kick outside the box – Rangers tactic after going 2-0 down was just to boot us off the park, so that wasn’t really a surprise. Alan Thompson, hands on hips, strolled up to the free kick, picked up enough pace to ensure the ball would travel with some speed, and he curled it over the wall and into the top corner of the net – right next to where I was standing. I could see Thompson doing it all – better than the Rangers goalkeeper could as he was behind the wall! Thommo went running off celebrating in his aeroplane style and we all jumped about going mad. It was the biggest win I’d seen us have against Rangers in person. In fact, it still is – though we’ve matched it a couple of times.
That win was one of five against Rangers that season. It’s the game I always remember when I think of that season – my favourite season. There were bigger achievements in that season, but this was my favourite game of all.