From The Oval with the two giant cranes as its backdrop to the glamour of FIFA’s annual awards ceremony at Zurich in January. For any player in the comparative obscurity of the Irish League to assume that would happen to them is a pipe-dream.
Yet it could come true for Glentoran’s 24-year-old striker Matty Burrows, who has been short listed for the prestigious Ballon d’Or — Puskas’ award for the greatest goal of the year. He cannot believe it has happened to him.
Now he awaits the verdict of global viewers who will vote on his goal from the others in the FIFA shortlist.
The night of October 5, 2010 at The Oval was scheduled to be classified as one to forget — an insipid Glentoran-Portadown Premiership goalless draw.
Until the 92nd minute when Burrows snatched that winner which was to be screened to millions around the world on television stations and the internet. It was the crown jewel amidst the dross. A moment and a goal which you could watch until old age finally overcomes you. A goal that was an affront to the conventional and the conformist. A goal of amazing execution.
A bout of interpassing between four players developed on the left flank near the corner flag at the Sydenham end. Finally, the ball was swept by left-back Johnny Black to Burrows lurking on the edge of the box.
With his back to the goal he rose like a salmon from the river, twisted his body and almost nonchalantly back-heeled it over keeper David Miskelly into the net.
It all appeared so natural too, so commonplace as if he was flicking an ash from a cigarette. Gasps of awe and appreciation came from incredulous fans as the diving Miskelly rolled over and sat on his knees as if to say “what was that?” He was stunned.
Great goals are the kernel of what Danny Blanchflower called the beautiful game. I could list dozens, even hundreds, but let me simply quote five I consider in the top drawer category.
The full shortlist for the Ballon D’or — Puskas award will be unveiled soon and you can vote for Burrows at www.fifa.com at the end of this month.