What should Adebayor do? Does it matter if a player celebrates scoring against an old club?

In a recent spate of muted celebrations, Gareth Bale, Kevin Nolan and Robin van Persie have all kept their heads down after scoring against former clubs, is it that big a deal?

First things first, it's important to say that no-one is hoping to see more of Emmanuel Adebayor's 40 yards sprint and slide to celebrate in front of Arsenal's fans after scoring for Manchester City.

That has to go down as a step too far, but is it such a big deal if a player celebrates with his teammates and (his own) fans after scoring a goal for his side?

Players should show respect for the sides they have played for, but it seems a little self-centred to assume that fans will go into meltdown if a former hero celebrates after scoring against their side. It is also important to note that the respect is very rarely a two-way street.

When Robin van Persie decided against celebrating against Arsenal, he was showing respect for fans that have been furiously abusing him since he left for Manchester United. If he was really keen to show respect for those fans, he could have stayed at Arsenal, or at least not issued a statement saying he wanted to leave the club at the start of the summer.

Also to what players does this apply? Bale, Nolan and van Persie are all regular goal scorers, but what if a defender scores against an old team?

It might be their only goal for a couple of years, they should be going crazy about it. In fact the very best celebrations have often involved a player who rarely scores whipping out something like the "pistolero" like he scores every week. Also does the rule only apply to players who have left after long spells at a club, or is the respect required weighted against whether they left on good or bad terms?

Respect in football can sometimes be in short supply, but goal celebrations are (usually) one of the purest examples of unbridled joy in the game. Holding back your delight after scoring against a former club is a nice gesture, but is largely immaterial in the grand scheme of things.

Whilst not having to see Bale and Nolan's quite annoying celebrations (the heart thing is wearing pretty thin) is no great loss, not seeing a player celebrate a goal in general rather sucks the joy out of the moment, and real joy should outweigh a sense of forced/false respect every time in my book.

Should Adebayor celebrate against Arsenal? Perhaps not like he did at City...

images: © Bronski Beat, © Jan Solo

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