This article originally appeared in the September 04, 2015 edition of our newsletter, The Raven. Read it HERE.
Late last night we received a Raven that caught our eye. GFOP Jeff Ives is a massive fan of AS Saint-Étienne, the French club at which Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis broke through. According to Jeff, Gomis’ patented panther celebration stems from his days with Les Verts.
One of the greatest players in the club’s history is Malian striker Salif Keita, who banged in 125 goals in 149 appearances for the team. His nickname: “The Black Panther.” (Little known fact: Keita also spent time in the NASL with the New England Tea Men.)
Since Keita’s days, Saint-Étienne has embraced the panther as a club symbol. Jeff passed along this Tifo from a Saint-Étienne Lyon game as proof.
And since the Keita-era, a number Les Verts players have paid tribute to the Panther, including Brazilian striker Alex Diaz, who dropped to his knees and did the celebration after scored four goals against Marseille in 2000. Four years later, Gomis broke into the Saint-Étienne first team and continued the tradition. And thus, one of the Premier League’s most unique and most frequent goal celebrations is explained.