Who is Matty Burrows? It’s a good question to start off the second edition of “Iconic Moments in Soccer and the Boots They Wore“. For those who are unfamiliar with football in Northern Ireland, Matty Burrows is a striker who formerly played for Glentoran of the Northern Ireland Premiership and may or may not currently be signed to Harland and Wolff Welders (a club founded by welders employed by the company who made the Titanic) in the Northern Ireland Second Tier. Curious about how a part-time player from Northern Ireland ended up here on a list highlighting some of soccer’s greatest moments? Well feast your eyes on this:[ot-video type=”youtube” url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0y6JNz6OXs”]
Yes that’s right, he dared to Zlatan before daring to Zlatan was a thing. In added time of a nil-nil match between the Glens and Portadown under the watchful gaze of Samson and Goliath, a part time footballer playing in East Belfast produced a moment of sheer magic; chipping the goalkeeper with a back heel volley. That’s the stuff you dream about doing when you’re a kid growing up playing the game on the park (although maybe in your dreams the venue isn’t The Oval). It was a goal which made FIFA’s list for the Puskas Award for Goal of the Year, and if there was any justice it should have won the goal of the year. Sadly, Burrows would have to be happy with a first class trip to the Ballon d’Or awards gala, and a third place finished behind eventual winner Hamit Altintrop, who’s goal was a peach of a goal, but it was not outrageous peach of a goal.
Now what boots was Matty Burrows wearing when he scored the most audacious goal seen in Northern Ireland since George Best’s effort against England’s Gordon Banks was sadly disallowed? Well he had on a pair of Umbro Speciali Italia’s, a boot which was released for the 2007/08 season, and from the picture above look like they’d seen a fair bit of use, which you’d expect as I’d imagine part-time footballers are probably responsible for purchasing their own gear. Even if they’re playing for a club that is routinely involved in the early rounds of the Europa League and Champions League.
The Speciali Italia (original retail somewhere in the $150 range) was a classy K-Leather heritage boot which weighed in at 9.5oz and featured an unusual Velcro fold down tongue system which completely covered the laces and allowed the boot to have a completely clean striking area in the forefoot. In November of 2007 the unexpected happened and Nike agreed in principle to purchase Umbro in a cash deal worth £285,000,000; a deal which was a five year exercise in asset mining. This gives the Speciali Italia quite a bit of prestige as it was the last Speciali boot to be designed outside of Nike’s sphere of influence. It’s a bespoke looking offering definitely worthy of being the boot involved in one of the most unexpected “Iconic Moments in Soccer“.