The “Poznań” and the Death of the Goal Celebration?

Many say that the removal of terracing has caused the atmosphere in top and second-tier football stadia to fade, and in many ways I agree. But is there a new threat ready to kill off the soul of English football?

After the recent televised Championship Play-Off Semi-Final between Swansea and Nottingham Forest, there was a lot of commotion heading the way of a group of Swansea fans who celebrated their three goals by doing the so-called “Poznań”. The fuss was directed by a few Manchester City supporters who claimed that the Welsh fans had stolen their celebration.

Now if you don’t know what a “Poznań” is, it is a dance of sorts – usually after a goal is scored – where the crowd turn away from the pitch, huddle together and jump up and down. It is also known as a “Grecque” in parts of Europe, and supporters in France, Holland, and many other countries have done it for years. The Manchester City fans “adopted” it when the fans of Polish side Lech Poznań performed it during a Europa League game at Eastlands earlier this season, and when it’s done properly, it can look absolutely fantastic.

However, my gripe with the “Poznań” is not that fans are trying to improve the atmosphere inside the stadium by copying a group of Polish Ultras, or even that there are some supporters who seemingly refuse to acknowledge that there were other clubs who did the celebration before them; I have heard some fans say that others shouldn’t steal “their celebration”, even though they clearly “stole” it themselves. My problem with the English supporters doing it – and this may sound petty – is that they use it as a goal celebration.

When many clubs in Europe do the “Grecque”, they proceed to pound up and down for minutes on end, not to celebrate a goal, but to celebrate their mutual support for their club. It can usually be seen as a part of the visual displays that many continental clubs’ ultras put on during every game. They are spectacles that most English clubs have failed to recreate in our stadia.

Watching the Polish supporters – as well as many other European ultras – chant, wave flags and jump around for 90 minutes makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up; yet watching the English fans celebrate goals by doing a special dance seems rather cringe-worthy, especially when most supporters are seemingly unprepared to show their support for a whole game, and are more than happy to boo something as little as a misplaced pass.

If the fans are looking to take a leaf from their foreign counterparts, they should be getting behind their teams for 90 minutes rather than for 30 seconds after their opponent’s net bulges. With this “part-time support”, The Man City (as well as many other English sides’) “Poznań” seems to have almost devalued the act in some way. There almost seems a lack of passion throughout the stands for the majority of a game, and yet because they do a special goal celebration, the fans feel that they deserve some sort of special accreditation for a dance during the short time that they are in the spotlight.

As soon as the ball hits the net, fans should be sporadically jumping around, whilst falling over the seats in front in some sort of spontaneous outburst; not looking for their neighbour to turn away, link arms and bounce up and down in co-ordination, in time with the goal music.

Ah, yes… Goal Music. Another reason to hate modern football. At the Walkers Stadium, I have actually seen grown men watch the ball fly into the net and wait for the goal music to start, almost waiting for confirmation, before performing some kind of strange monkey-dance celebration.
We know from watching numerous YouTube videos (Stuart Fuller has a great piece over at The Ball Is Round) that many German, Dutch and Scandinavian fans can create a fantastic atmosphere, without the threat of violence. And even in countries such as Poland – which is regarded to have some of the best ultras in Europe – it is only a small handful of hooligans (who are usually unrelated to the Ultra groups) that tarnish their clubs’ names’, and these clubs are working hard to eradicate the hooliganism without harming the fantastic matchday atmosphere. As well as the fans, the message needs to be spread to the clubs that “Fanaticism doesn’t have to mean Violence”.

So please remember the next time that you head off to the stadium, if you can create an atmosphere during the rest of the game, you won’t need a special dance to show everyone that you have the best fans.

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24 Comments to “The “Poznań” and the Death of the Goal Celebration?”

  1. Good work Ryan, fully agree

  2. Great article, very enjoyable read. My problem with the Poznan is that, if fans have their backs to the game for minutes on end, they are, as you say, celebrating their support, rather than actually supporting (if that makes sense). When I go to games, I can’t possibly look elsewhere than at the pitch while the game’s going on, unless, say, Zilina are 0-7 down to Marseille with 30 long minutes still ahead of them!

    I also love colour, noise, flag-waving etc and was blown away by a recent visit to Germany for football. I also agree totally with your comparisons with the atmosphere in English grounds. Goal-music is crap, no question, so are attempts to get the crowd going as the teams take the field. Fans used to do all these things by themselves and at least these ultra groups are still trying to do so. It’s just that, when I see them with their backs to the pitch (not just doing things like the Poznan but also shouting into microphones to get songs going etc), I’m not quite sure whether to admire them for sacrificing their view of the game or wonder if they are, in fact, all that interested in the football itself.

    • If i’m correct (and I may well be wrong), the European sides who do the “Grecque” do it before the game rather than during it. The Lech Poznan fans did it during the Man City game as a protest towards their poor form in the Ekstraklasa.

  3. Great article, although the best bit of the Poznan dance is the utter looks of stupidity, giddyness and joy seen on their faces as they all congratulate each other after it. Divs.

    • I’d like it to be said that it isn’t necessarily a dig against Manchester City fans (or any other fans) who do the Poznan. I’m all for improving the atmosphere in stadia, and it can look fantastic. This is more aimed at fans who offer absolutely no atmosphere during the rest of the game, and then claim to be great fans. This probably applies to the majority of English clubs.

  4. Like it a lot. Fantastic stuff. Thankfully haven’t witnessed goal music in Poland yet.

  5. Pretty sure I can speak for the main contributor of the blog in saying that this is a quality piece and perfectly highlights the ridiculously embarrassing effect “modern football” and the “matchday experience” has had on supporters in England.

  6. Great piece Ryan… the photo of the Puskas stadium in Budapest at top of page too

  7. You’ve just put my ‘I don’t like the Poznan’ into an excellent article. Cracking work.

  8. Nice piece! I can only speak from my experience at Celtic Park of the poznan or “the huddle” as we call it.

    When used correctly (as I’ve experienced) it’s fantastic, and by that I mean *not* particularly as a goal celebration or *not* dring a crucial stage of the match.

    Tends to be used as an act of jubilation, when the results been decided, the pressures off and the fans can work towards creating a party atmosphere. Good work though, just found this blog thanks to twisted_blood!

  9. Great post Ryan. Poznan is spreading like wildfire in English Football. Witnessed it first hand at Ryman League North Playoff game between Wingate and Harlow, where a group of Wingate teenagers started doing it.

    With the ever increasing popularity of Premier League around the world, I’m afraid Poznan would become a ‘Man City’ celebration in the same way people associate YNWA mainly with Liverpool.

  10. Sorry, misinformed nonsense.

    First of all the atmosphere at Eastlands was 100% worse pre-Poznan. Lech fans, and Aris fans after them were among the best I’ve seen anywhere in my time watching football, and there is absolutely nothing wrong in taking a leaf from their book, especially as they don’t play in our league.

    City’s “Poznan” is not restricted to goal celebrations. There was a pre-arranged one at Leicester in the 24th minute in honour of Neil Young, and on both Wembley appearances as the opposing team was being announced. There are impromptu Poznans at random points throughout the game. South Standers attempts at Poznans are mocked by the East Standers who sing “shall we show you how it’s done?” and proceed to do so. It’s banter, a laugh, and creates a great atmosphere. If the opposition fans attempt it (Leicester and Stoke spring to mind) then we have a laugh and banter with them.

    Maybe you don’t get to see these from your armchair and Sky only pans to our Poznan when we’ve just scored (quite a lot recently). But even then there are the usual few seconds of jumping around uncontrollably before the ecstasy subsides a little and the Poznan begins. I know. I’ve just had two amazing goal celebrations in a month at Wembley which I remember very clearly.

    Yes there is a danger of overkill, especially if plenty of other teams adopt it, Yes, it could become the modern-day Mexican wave. But for now, bah humbug to you. We are Man City. We’ll dance when we want.

    • Fair point, and if you feel that it has improved the atmosphere, then it’s surely a good thing.

      I’m a Leicester fan, and was in the away crowd for the game at your stadium – where I must say, our sarcastic “Poznan” was a lot better than yours ;-). But my post isn’t directed at just Manchester City fans, more English fans in general. Since the Cup Replay, our fans have adopted the celebration as well, and whilst it does look good occasionally, it isn’t original, and given the atmosphere during the rest of the game it’s quite cringe-worthy.

      If the English fans feel that they have to copy the Europeans for an organised goal celebration, then surely something is wrong.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  11. OK, fair enough. We’ll agree to disagree.

    Incidentally I went with City to Poznan and this video I took is the first recorded evidence of our fans doing “The Poznan” You’ll see there ais a significant gap between the goal going in, the sporadic jumping around ending and the organised Poznan dance commencing! I had to put it on Dailymotion because UEFA got it taken off Youtube by claiming the copyright. They’re more miserable than you 😉

    • I – along with many – just feel that the Grecque (i’ll use it’s proper name) isn’t a goal celebration. There are too many who boo and jeer, but are willing to join in with the goal celebration because it’s the “in thing” to do.

      And if I was as miserable as UEFA, i’d have to top myself! 😀

  12. Ryan, no doubt you’re right about it mostly being done before games and Tictactic is right about it going on when the game is basically decided. I’ve actually seen Trnava fans here do something similar when their team is getting stuffed!

    Perhaps I could put in a word for WBA fans’ ‘Boing Boing’ goal celebration. I don’t go to Albion games much these days due to the small matter of living full-time in Slovakia but as far as I know it’s still going strong after 18 years or so. It’s never been much more than a goal celebration but it’s always fun.

    And what Central/Eastern European team doesn’t have its own ‘kto neskaci nieje….” (‘who’s not jumping isn’t Slovak/Polish etc’) chant? God knows who claims the patent on that one but it can also be magnificent. I spent 90 minutes doing it at Slovakia v Chile 18 months ago, just weeks after Slovakia had qualified for the WC. It was great, lots of jumping and yelling.. and I saw every single second of a fantastic Chile team giving ‘our’ boys a footballing lesson. All for 5 Euros as well, but that’s another matter…

  13. Good point looking into the origins James by the way…

    Like anything of mass cultural appeal (erm, if the ‘Poznan’ can be descibed in that way) it’s not often the genuine source that gets the “credit”. Like the Sex Pistols getting much of the credit for punk rock simply for bringing it to the masses. As the O/P has correctly pointed out the hypocrisy in accusing other fans of stealing this, that and the other is ludicrous.

  14. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

    This article needed writing. Whilst we are all deluding ourselves if we think for one minute that our opinions and words will have any impact on football on the wider scale, it needs to be continually voiced that we are not all “Keith, Ian and Andy”, that we don’t all go to “the match” for “the matchday experience”.

    For me, football is spontaneous. Organised displays of support, be they 24th minute tributes, orchestrated goal celebrations backed by The Black Eyed Peas, or (the admittedly impressive) unfurling of bloody great flags, miss the point of the momentary flash of brilliance, or luck, or injustice, that fires us all.

    Football support is a deeply personal experience. I would never want to tell storyda how to support his team. And I would hope he would have more in his life than to look on how I watch football. But the appropriation of someone else’s means display, in whatever sense, surely just leads to an increased homogenisation of “the brand”? How do any of us stand to win from that?

  15. Marvellous.

    City are only one quick goal from the restart away from stopping the Poznan, but do agree with you with goal music.

    It makes matches sterile, and look silly. Samba De Jinero on a wet January Saturday in Bradford Park Avenue looked absolutely ridiculous.

    Compare that with the atmosphere seen at – say – an FC United or other larger non-league clubs, and it feels alot more – I don’t know – real?

  16. Spot on! I just watched sport personality of the year and as Kompany came onstage the audience actually did the “Poznan!” Embarrassing? Absolutely-Unbelievable? Well not really as English football fans are now just like the audience of Xfactor (when maybe they should be more like the crowd at a rock gig). Sky love staged celebrations like the “poznan”, goal music and those big flags passed around before “live” games as it gives TV audiences the impression of atmosphere, atmosphere that they played a big part in destroying. This may fool some viewers but some of us remember when it was fans who created atmosphere through our passion for our team & not when some PR company tells us to, and foriegn fans were in awe of the crowds in England, our fans, once the best in Europe are now easily the worst & are reminded of this every time our teams play in Europe…F*** modern football

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