By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES
WHEN IS as an own-goal not an own-goal? When it is the 2,000th goal scored by England since they started playing internationals in 1872 apparently.
Even Gareth Barry had conceded his headed winner – no apostrophes needed now – against Sweden was what is commonly known as an oggie.
But the Manchester City midfielder – and just about every football writer covering the friendly – was wrong.
Czech referee Pavel Kralovec has awarded the goal to Barry and the record books will show ‘Gareth Barry’ and not ‘Daniel Majstorovic og.’
Mike Collett, who reported the game for Reuters, was unsure who had the final say on the scorer in a friendly.
He said: “In competitive ties, either internationals or European games, FIFA or UEFA have representatives who rule on such matters.
“I telephoned the Football Association to ask what the process. ‘Good question,’ I was told. ‘We’ll get back to you.’
“They said it was the referee’s decision. They asked him to study the footage and take a view. If the match would have been in a FIFA or UEFA competition, the competitions committee would decide, but in a friendly, it is the referee’s decision.’
And the referee decided it was Barry’s goal.
Collett said: “Fabio Capello didn’t really care about the goalscorer. For him it was just statistics and not important. He said it might be important in 10 years who scored the 2,000th goal, but not now.”
With tens of thousands of pounds sometimes depending on who scores the first goal such details are of immediate financial if not historical importance.
William Hill paid out to any punter who backed Barry as being the first, last or anytime scorer and also on anyone who backed a 1-0 scoreline with Barry scoring.
“The scoreboard at Wembley displayed throughout the game that Gareth Barry was the goalscorer but despite Daniel Majstorovic being credited as having got the final touch. We celebrated a landmark 2,000th England goal by paying out to any punter who backed the City midfielder to score,” said Hill’s spokesman Joe Crilly.
The anorak in Collett also pointed out that England’s first goal was scored by William Kenyon-Slaney in a 4-2 win over Scotland on March 28, 1873 and the 1000th goal came from Jimmy Greaves in a 5-1 win over Wales at Wembley on Nov. 23 1960.