Wednesday, March 12, 2014
101 Great Goals - Gerry Francis
Though 101 Great Goals is primarily concerned with the aesthetic added to a great goal by the ball striking the net, it may also from time to time consider a great goal, the aesthetics of which have been soured by the on-field architecture.
Gerry Francis' superb goal on the opening day of the 1975/76 season against Liverpool heralded the arrival of an exciting QPR side and was as much a statement of intent as Roberto Bettega's similar goal at the 1978 World Cup.
But the similarities of the goals ends when the ball hits the net.
The L-supports at el Monumental afforded Bettega's goal maximum ball retention and, with the ball dead in the net, the Argentine crowd and the watching audience at home are given time to reflect on a great goal, a great Italian performance and the host nation Argentina facing defeat.
When the stanchions at the old Loftus Road, notoriously planted mere inches behind the goal line, deflect Gerry Francis' shot immediately back into the field of play, they deny Gerry Francis and QPR (and Liverpool) that same moment of reflection. Yes, it was still a great goal, but could QPR maintain their challenge? Or would they, like the ball flashing in and out of the goal, be a flash in the pan?
Despite losing this opening game of the season Liverpool won the 1975/76 league title.
QPR finished second.