Miles Kington: When a celebration turns to frenzy

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The Independent Online

Yesterday I brought you part of a sensational case in which famous footballer Rod Clamp is suing a fellow team member over injuries received during a post-goal celebration. Here is some more ...

Yesterday I brought you part of a sensational case in which famous footballer Rod Clamp is suing a fellow team member over injuries received during a post-goal celebration. Here is some more ...

Counsel: When your colleague jumped on your back, in his delight at you scoring a goal, what happened next?

Clamp: Two more players jumped on my back.

Counsel: What happened then?

Clamp: I fell over. Then more players arrived. They all fell on top of me.

Counsel: It sounds more like rugby than football.

Clamp: Yes. But at least in rugby at least you know it's going to happen. You brace yourself for it. That's why a whole scrum can get up in rugby and walk away, and even the man at the bottom is unharmed.

Counsel: But you were not unharmed?

Clamp: No. I hurt my back. It has never been the same since.

Counsel: Tell me, Mr Clamp, some of your other colleagues have scored many more goals than you, and yet they have not suffered chronic injury. They seem congratulation-proof.

Clamp: I have been thinking about this.

Counsel: And what is your conclusion?

Clamp: Well, I have noticed recently that when regular strikers get a goal, they tend to run like mad towards the centre circle, or the section of the crowd where our supporters are, and they take off their shirt and brandish it, or they do a cartwheel or two, if they are athletic enough ...

Counsel: And what do you deduce from this?

Clamp: I deduce that they are not running towards the supporters. They are running away from their team mates. They are getting the hell out of the congratulation zone. From bitter experience they know that the worst thing that can happen to them is a friendly mob jumping on top of them. So they run like crazy. They also tend to pull their shirts over their heads. For a long time this puzzled me, till I realised they were trying to avoid recognition.

Counsel: Some goal-scorers seem to adopt a different method. They run to the corner flag as fast as they can and then slide on their knees like a demented milk float.

Clamp: That is what I did. It was a gross error. It allowed my team mates to catch up with me. As a mid-fielder, I did not have the goal-scoring experience to get me out of trouble.

Counsel: I do not understand why scoring a single goal should bring a team of grown men to such a dangerous frenzy.

Clamp: It is the electrical discharge of the pent-up thunder cloud. It is the Dionysian release after the Apollonian self-control ...

Counsel: Are you still quoting from the Observer football report?

Clamp: No. This is from Carl Jung.

Counsel: Your manager, Sir Ron Aston, is one of the most experienced men in football. Would he not have foreseen the need to train you for a post-goal tribal frenzy?

Clamp: I do not think that even he would have foreseen this.

Counsel: I think it would be in your interest to give a diametrically opposite answer.

Clamp: You are right. Yes, I think Sir Ron should have seen this coming, and his failure to train me for the risks of a post-goal celebration has endangered my future career.

Counsel: That's better.

Clamp: One could extend the whole notion. One could say that we should all practise the art of diving to get penalties awarded.

Counsel: That's enough, Mr Clamp.

Clamp: Or that because goalkeepers are sometimes hit from behind by a missile, therefore Sir Ron should have training sessions in which we all throw coins at our goalie.

Counsel: This is doing nothing to put your case in a good light, Mr Clamp.

Clamp: Not even if I can claim that my brain has been affected by the accident as well?

Counsel: Ah! Good thinking! I am with you!

The case continues.