Within the space of three days, Northern Irish football produced three of the best “What Happened Next” moments in the history of football.
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, Matty Burrows scored one of the greatest goals ever seen in football.
His audacious back-heeled volley from the edge of the box has catapulted the hitherto unknown Glentoran striker into being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Diego Maradona, Pele, Lionel Messi and Archie Gemmill for when it comes to talking about the greatest goals ever scored.
Then on Friday, Oct. 8, Steven Davis saw himself inserted in football blooper reels for years to come before Burrows contributed with yet another wonder goal on the Saturday.
Such is the popularity of his first goal that, in the following seven days, the goal has been hit over three million times on Glentoran TV and has become one of the defining moments of the footballing year.
The goal was made all the sweeter by coming in what was literally the last kick of the game in the 92nd minute, after Burrows had been sprung from the bench in an effort at breaking Portadown’s resolve.
Despite scoring what will definitely go down as one of the greatest goals of all time, the 24-year-old Burrows seems to have taken all the attention in his stride.
“I have been really surprised by the amount of people who have been talking about it and contacting me,” he said.
“I got a lot of texts that night from people I know who were at the match and the boys were giving me a bit of stick too, but the next day it all went a wee bit crazy.
“I got loads of messages and people were phoning me up saying that thousands and thousands of people had seen it on the Internet and that all these newspapers and TV stations all over the world were putting it on their sites.
“It’s incredible, really, and I couldn’t believe it when someone told me that it had gone up to over a million hits.”
“It’s not often that Irish League football gets a mention on such a scale, so I am happy that I have been able to give Glentoran, and our league, a bit of a lift,” he said.
“Hopefully people can pay a bit more attention to it because we the players know the standard is a lot better than some people think it is.”
For the most of this season, Burrows has been playing second fiddle to Daryl Fordyce. The striker is the top scorer in the league, with 12 goals from 13 starts, but Burrows has proved to be a very capable substitute as he has also contributed a healthy eight goals from three starts and eight substitute appearances.
When asked if his goal would force his way into Scott Young’s, the Glens' manager, plans he kept his tongue firmly in his cheek and gave the best answer possible.
“Daryl Fordyce is in my position at the minute and he is the league’s top goal scorer so it will be hard to shift him,” he added. “Hopefully I will have at least given the manager a headache!”
Burrows' reward was a start against Glenavon…and another wonder goal!
This time the ball was chipped into the box on the left-hand side, and after running into the area without support, he tried an incredible overhead lob! The ball sailed into the top corner at the far post.
It would also be remiss on my behalf not to mention Glentoran v. Glenavon in the past.
The symmetry is almost too perfect, but in 2009, this fixture contributed one of the most fantastical bloopers of all time, when Elliott Morris, Glentoran’s ‘keeper, scored a brilliant own goal. Even now it is still hilarious.
In between Burrows' two wonder goals for the part-timers at Glentoran, Northern Irish football also contributed one of the biggest blunders ever seen in football. The incident was made all the worse as it came from Rangers midfielder Steven Davis’ corner against Italy.
The midfielder tried to take a quick corner but ended up kicking the corner flag instead and prodding the ball over the touch-line for a kick out!
If there was ever a case of from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again, this was it.
Northern Irish football never proved so popular.
This article was previously featured on Tiger Beer Football, where Willie Gannon is the featured Blogger. Over 18s only.