Bloody Shirtlifters

Tim Cahill was sent off for Everton on Saturday for receiving a second yellow-card for doing a Ravenelli style celebration. Such rulings make my blood boil; I enjoy seeing players celebrating, forming as it does a rare connection between fans and players, where we do the same thing (before they go off to millionaireville and we go home). Indeed, the sight of a referee going to usher players back to the centre circle really, really aggravates me; killjoys trying to stop outrageous bursts of spontaneous enjoyment.

I wondered why the new rulings was put in place though, and was surprised when I saw the ‘powerpoint video’ (as English Referee Chief Keith Hackett endearingly described it) used to demonstrate the ruling. Bang went my thought that it was a way of avoiding seeing pictures of young relatives, messages in prasie of God, the manager or your personal sports therapist, or heaven forfend, in support of striking workers.

But no. Having seen the examples, the thinking behind the rules seems to be that…well, there isn’t. The chest can still be shown as part of celebrations, as long as you don’t actually lift any part of the shirt above your head. Why this is such an appalling state of affairs it needs banning is utterly beyond me.

I’d rather ban such celebrations on grounds of naffness than anything else. I don’t like choreographed celebrations at all. I blame Roger Milla. The best I ever saw was Herman Hreidarsson for Ipswich, who scored a header, ran over to the crowd, stood on an advertising hoarding then basically stage dived into the crowd. He was booked, naturally.