"When you score a goal anything can happen - you could end up doing anything! It’s just a natural reaction. You hear some players say ‘if I score a goal I’m gonna do it this’, but when you actually put one in the net you never know exactly what you’re going to do.
If anything, when you’re coming towards the end of your career, scoring goals means even more. At 35 or 36 the goals perhaps don't come as quickly as you'd like and you know you won’t be getting that high for much longer.
I can’t remember too much about my first goal, to be honest [it came in a 2-2 draw at Stoke during a loan spell with Fulham from Arsenal]. I only got three goals in a three-month loan so really I should remember it, but that was a hell of a long time ago!
However I do remember a couple of goals I got later that season once I'd gone to Bristol City in a game at Watford, but unfortunately we still ended up losing 5-2. Watford had a very good team at the time. The goals were both tap-ins. Every goal for me was a tap in!
That was when I looked at myself and thought ‘wow’, because that’s when I started to get recognised and people started believing I could score goals.
The most important goal I scored was at Old Trafford against Tottenham on the final day of the 1998/99 season to basically finish off the game and win the championship. Arsenal were playing Aston Villa and we knew we had to win our match if they won theirs. It was 1-1 at that point, and I brought down the ball and knocked it over the goalkeeper to give us the lead. In the end Arsenal did win, so that was a massive goal.
People always ask about the winning goal at Juventus [in the Champions League semi-final second leg] in 1999, but we were going through anyway because we’d scored two away goals. People say to me, ‘Coley, do you know how important that goals was?’ but I never thought about it - if I had thought about it I probably wouldn’t have scored it! I just tapped it in because I initially thought the referee was going to give a penalty [for a foul on Dwight Yorke].
The best goal I scored was an overhead kick at Old Trafford against Marseilles in the Champions League - I definitely enjoyed that one the most. There was also the goal away to Barcelona when me and Yorkey played the one-two - that was a superb team goal - and one for Blackburn at Anfield. It’s come out to the edge of the box, I’ve controlled it on my chest, let it bounce and then hit it. Fortunately it’s gone in top bins. I hit it with my eyes closed - that made it easier...
Obviously, down the years I've seen many great goals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's fourth against England recently was absolutely fantastic, as was Zinedine Zidane’s left-footed volley in the 2002 Champions League final - that was some volley.
But the best I've ever seen was actually a goal scored against Manchester United when we played in the Intercontinental Cup in Brazil in 1999. We lost the final to Palmeiras and Edmundo scored an unbelievable goal. I still don’t know to this day how he did it, but it was unbelievable. Of all the goals I've seen, that was the one I wish I'd scored myself - it was absolutely phenomenal."
Interview: James Maw (November 2012)
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