Messi and Suarez: They Copied Argyle

BARCELONA were already winning 3-1 in their La Liga match against Celta Vigo at the weekend, before they were awarded a penalty.

Lionel Messi stepped up to the spot and, as everyone believed he would score his 300th goal for the club, he instead passed the ball forward to Luis Suarez to run on to it and complete his hat-trick. 

The whole footballing world went crazy over the penalty, with some citing the example they saw Thierry Henry and Robert Pires do for Arsenal in 2005, or Johann Cruyff and Jesper Olsen for Ajax in 1982.

However, Argyle mastered this technique way before any of those legends – and not once, but twice!  

The first time this type of penalty was executed by the Greens was back in a 1961 League Cup tie against Aston Villa at Home Park. Villa centre-half Vic Crowe, for a moment, decided to turn into a goalkeeper and punched the ball away into safety. 

Argyle were awarded a penalty. Wilf Carter took the spot kick, but was saved by Villa keeper Nigel Sims. 

However, the referee decided for it to be re-taken. Before it was, Carter had a quiet word with Johnny Newman about what he was going to do next. 

Carter stepped up once more for the penalty, but instead of shooting at goal, he tapped the ball forward to Newman who then ran onto it to bury it past the keeper. Even though Villa won the game 5-3, this was the main talking point. 

A few years later, in a 1964 Second Division game against Manchester City, again at Home Park, the tactic was used again. 

This time Newman was the taker. As he looked like he was about to shoot, he simply tapped the ball forward, and team-mate Mike Trebilcock put it past keeper Alan Ogley. 

There were complaints about the spot-kick from the Sky Blues players, protesting it was offside. But the referee David Wells said it was perfectly legal because (a) the ball was played forward and (b) Trebilcock, running-in, could not have been offside as he was behind the ball when it was played. 

You can see this penalty in the video, below. 

In the wake of Suarez and Messi’s version of the kick,  some have argued that such an action is disrespectful to the opposing team. When asked about the incident at his Tuesday press conference, Derek Adams shared his thoughts on the matter.

“I think we are all in the entertainment business,” he said, “but it’s something we all like to see. It’s people showing initiative. The two of them have obviously spoken and told each other what they’re going to do. I think there is definitely room for it in the game if it comes off. 

“If you’re the opposition team then you’re deeply unhappy it’s happened, but you have to look to how well prepared these players are. You have to have bravery to do it and the technique as well.”  
Would Derek be so happy if Graham Carey and Ryan Brunt replicated this famous penalty, though?

“Only if they scored - it’s all about scoring the penalty!” 

But before anyone gets excited about the lads trying it, should we get only our second penalty of the season in the coming weeks, the gaffer is not advising it. 

“With the position we’re in, trying to score as many goals as possible, we can’t take the risk that it involves.”