What’s your all-time favourite goal? I want you to close your eyes and remember it. Replay it from multiple angles, recalling the elation, the ephemeral ecstasy, the brief encounter with the sublime that only a goal can bring. Now I want you to forget it. Erase it from your memory. It’s worthless. After you watch Columbine Boys’ Dylan Prichett-Ettner’s effort below, your own cherished favourite – as well as all other goals, ever – will pale into insignificance and irrelevance. You might as well have never have seen them, and you certainly don’t need to watch another again. Unless they’re exactly like this. It doesn’t matter that it was ruled out for offside, this is the only goal that should be scored now. And then be consequently ruled out.
But how can you score this superior strike? How can you perform feats of incomparable magic without some divine intervention? Easy: with ShortList’s step-by-step guide.
As a younger and more naïve man, I would read books entitled Footy Tricks & Tips (And How To Do Them!) that would illustrate how to perform vital skills like the rainbow flick with a series of bewildering arrows. As a result, I spent a lot of time kicking my ball into my own face or else having to sheepishly ask my neighbour for the ball back from their lounge after I’d inadvertently booted it through their window trying to execute the Rabona. This severely hampered my ascent to ‘international striker’ and meant I only became the sort of player who is drafted into five-a-side teams when they’re really desperate for numbers because they’ve already paid the deposit on the pitch and their other mates are on holiday. I won’t let the same fate befall you, dear reader. We will analyse Prichett-Ettner’s goal as intently as writers pore over Shakespeare and artists the Sistine Chapel. In needless detail.
HOW TO SCORE THE BEST DISALLOWED GOAL OF ALL TIME
1. Reading the game
From the waterlogged swamps of Sunday league pitches to the hallowed turf of Wembley where ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce now rules the roost, any defender worth their salt will always hoof the ball towards the heavens and in the general direction of ‘away.’ It doesn’t matter if they receive the ball on their own penalty area or in the opponent’s six-yard-box, an intelligent defender will employ the Away Hoof every time. Much in the same way as a chess Grandmaster prepares their checkmate many moves in advance, you, the ever-aware attacker, must position yourself to be on the receiving end of this hoof. Tilt your head up, shoot one arm into the air and begin trundling towards the vague direction of the in-orbit ball, yelling “mine!” with some intent. Of course, 99 times out of 100, you will have to throw your hands in the air and demand “what was that?!” while the least-popular player is forced to retrieve the ball from the road before it’s run over by a car. The truly world-class strikers never give up on a loose ball, never lose faith in their defenders’ ability to hit-and-hope an opportunity out of nothing, even in spite of overwhelming evidence they probably should.
2. Sprinting like hell
Here Prichett-Ettner’s stonewall faith in his teammates’ lumping abilities has paid dividends. Provided he beats the defender on the right of the screen, he is through on goal with a great opportunity to score the Greatest Disallowed Goal of All Time. Here, Prichett-Ettner has employed the clever tactic of ‘actually running’ while the defender on the right has foolishly decided to ‘stand still.’ Prichett-Ettner is frantically pumping his legs like he’s a nerdy kid trying to catch the school bus while the defender is idly watching the ball, noting what an interesting novelty it is to see one hoofed through the air into a useful position. Pin your ears back, hit the throttle and start mumbling “I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna make it!” over and over in an increasingly excited voice as Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero plays in your head.
3. Not succumbing to mind games
Goalkeepers are a strange and unknowable species. Instead of wanting to score goals, pull off slide tackles and kick the ball – the three most natural impulses in the world – they want to hurl themselves face down in the mud trying to stop everyone else kicking it. Instead of loving goals and wanting them to be scored, goalkeepers yearn to spoil everything for everyone else by preventing them. Instead of using their feet, the funnest appendage to hit objects with, they prefer their hands. You will never be able to relate to a goalkeeper. You like eating pizza, and they like spitting on it and throwing it to the floor. You like being alive, and they like walking out into heavy traffic blindfolded and with their shoelaces undone. For this reason, the goalkeeper can often deploy their desire for the depraved and the dangerous to their advantage. In this situation, Prichett-Ettner shows some hesitancy to running head-first into the goalkeeper and possibly having a nasty collision, while the goalkeeper is accelerating and making himself wider. The goalkeeper doesn’t just want to prevent the Greatest Disallowed Goal of All Time, he wants both players’ bones to shatter. When confronted with this insatiable bloodlust, many attackers will wilt and fade. Not Prichett-Ettner.
Hope can feel impotent when all seems lost. When you feel the empty pocket where your phone should be, hope probably won’t will it back. When the love of your life gets engaged to someone else, hope probably won’t make them change their mind at the altar. When a goalkeeper lays both hands on a loose ball, hope probably won’t make him throw the ball toward your crotch. But hope is powerful. Hope is you putting your hands in your other pocket and realising your phone was there all along. Hope is turning up at the wedding, watching the love of your life jilt that loser and taking you on their honeymoon instead. Hope is not diving out the way, it’s planting your feet, steeling yourself and…
…Having the goalkeeper inexplicably throw the ball at your dick.
6. Ignore Gravity
If you showed Isaac Newton this still of Dylan Prichett-Ettner suspended 180 degrees above a football pitch, Newton would tell you that the Greatest Disallowed Goal of All Time was certainly not about to be scored. The eminent physicist would instead tell you that Prichett-Ettner would surely fall straight down into the turf, where his body would make a funny ‘doy-oy-oiiing’ noise as his head was comedically impaled into the grass. Isaac Newton doesn’t know anything. Don’t listen to the part of you that says “Aw jeez, I might break my neck here…” You are Neo and the red pill is your helpless, airborne body. Trust it.
7. Bend your entire spine somehow
It’s quite hard to explain the physical transition that’s taken place between the last two stills using conventional, received knowledge of the human body, so we will ignore that for now. From the horizontal, downwards Tom Daley-esque plank of the previous still, Prichett-Ettner has contorted his body into the shape of a leaping salmon, exerting pressure on his spine, collapsing his bones and allowing his body full fluidity as he flails towards the ball.
8. Land it with a fun little dance
Most ankles will snap like wet Chipsticks if you let them plant into the ground as seen above. You will be no use to your team and will have to be immediately substituted, the whole endeavour up in smoke in a moment of carelessness. But observe what Prichett-Ettner does here…
He has effortlessly created the hottest new move of the summer. The best artists draw influence from wider than their own field, and Prichett Ettner is a football artist seamlessly fusing the twerk, the skank and the goal together to create something even better than all three. Press play on your favourite song and look left and then right in time to the beat and marvel. Damn that boy can move.
Having had a ball thrown at your dick, landed a 360 forward summersault and then invented the hottest dance move of the summer, you might be slightly disorientated to realise you are, actually, still playing a game of football. You might look behind you and see some commotion on the pitch. It's the goalkeeper. He's dead. You killed him. The medical team are putting a body bag over his face and informing his next of kin. As such, you are permitted a millisecond of clumsy confusion while you get your bearings, the briefest of windows to clock the ball, go “oh yeah…” and get back to the task at hand.
10. Kick the ball
This might be the most disorientating part of all. You’ve spent so long executing this breathtaking display of football mastery without using your feet, you might have a temporary loss of muscle memory. Confronted with the ball, your legs might seize up at the now alien-concept of kicking it. You might be inclined to use your dick again, after it served you so well in the initial part of the move, but don’t. There is a defender behind you and you frankly don’t have the time to arrange yourself and your appendage into a position where you’d be able to exert significant enough force to whap the ball over the line. No. Back to your trusty feet. Lift a leg back up, inhale, take aim and swing…
This still captures the precise moment before history is made, before everything that went before is rendered irrelevant, before football is changed forever. Think of all the moments in your life you’ve only realised the significance of in retrospect.
You did it. The ball’s in the back of the net. The assembled crowd are in stunned silence. You’re in heaven. You’re beyond heaven. You’re in an inaccessible place you can only ascend to after scoring the Greatest Disallowed Goal of All Time. You had a ball thrown into your dick, fell over a goalkeeper, narrowly avoided being paralysed forever and still scored a goal. You have contributed so much to aesthetics, to beauty, to art, to sport, to human achievement, and to life. Pump your fists together and go “woo!”
Notice you’ve been ruled ‘offside.’ Throw your arms up and go “aw, c’mon!” This might feel cruel, but it is necessary. You created a moment so sublime that there would be absolutely no point in humanity continuing to exist had that goal stood. For a moment of such exquisite wonder, majesty and infinite perfection to culminate in something with any meaning would render everything after it completely pointless. The earth beneath the pitch would dissolve, the sky would fall into the sea and the sun would go out. Only darkness and sonorous silence would remain. The linesman has actually prevented the immediate end of all life as we know it. Still, you’re allowed a moment to think “would’ve been good if that counted, like.”
14. Remember your dick hurts
15. Like, really bad
16. Damn. Your poor dick
17. Wince and consider whether it was worth it to have your dick hurt this bad
It was. If The Smiths ever reform, this moment should be the album cover.