Andrew Thomas aka @Twisted_Blood gives a beautiful account of Frank Worthington’s most famous goal.
Within about six yards of space, Frank Worthington touches the ball five times. The first two, head then foot, calm the bouncing ball; the fourth, back over his own head, leaves the Ipswich defence a smoking ruin; the fifth, a dismissive slap into the net.
But it’s the third touch — the second keepy-uppy — that makes the goal. Analogous to the comma in “Reader, I married him”, or the tiny silence before the guitars drop in “Like Herod”, the simple act of holding on that extra beat both enables and enhances the goal. It gives the defenders another moment; they take one more step, and damn themselves. It allows Worthington to centre his balance and gather his momentum. From there, he’s able to initiate the smooth transfer of weight that, when placed against the onrushing back-line, gives the goal its sorcerous quality.
And it is sorcery. It’s dark and dangerous magic. A tap and a flick, and Frank Worthington — a man never short of a glamorous assistant; a man who twice failed a medical at Shankly’s Liverpool because of high blood pressure induced by, basically, too much shagging; a man who played a mere eight games for a country afraid of his skill and his hedonism — has just made an entire defence disappear. The crowd gasp, and rise as one.