Michail Antonio stands alone at the top of West Ham’s top scorers in the Premier League – so it was appropriate that he danced with himself under the lights of London Stadium on Monday.
After achieving his 48th top goal for Hammers ua 4-1 win over Leicester, the striker celebrated by surpassing Paolo di Cania’s record by waltzing, picking up and kissing Michael Antonio’s cardboard cutout.
It was a Hollywood moment for the player who took the number nine shirt this summer and will now enter West Ham folklore for his hits.
“We talked earlier this week and I said‘ you know what the best celebration will be? Save The Last Dance, ’” said Antonio, who extended his record to 49 goals in the fourth part of the evening.
“Maybe someone could pick me up as a baby? But I cut out the cardboard and took it.”
In the delirium of becoming a record holder, he can be forgiven for his confusion, but Antonio may have mixed his dance-themed films — Baby and the Cult Elevator, from the 1980s blockbuster Dirty Dancing, not Save The Last Dance from 2001.
Whatever film inspired it, its manager David Moyes was not confused by the celebration.
“It’s not something that interests me,” he said.
|49 – Michail Antonio|
|47 – Paolo di Canio|
|46 – Mark Noble|
|41 – Carlton Cole|
|37 – Trevor Sinclair|
|33 – Andy Carroll|
|29 – Frederic Kanoute|
|24 – John Hartson|
|24 – Frank Lampard|
|23 – Tony Cottee|
Although the former Manchester United boss was more pleased with Antonio.
“I’m really pleased,” Moyes said. “I was disappointed with the way he played in the first half, but he did enough to silence the manager after what I told him at half time.”
The 31-year-old’s two goals – both scored in the last 10 minutes – were great. The first spun Caglar Soyuncu before throwing him home, and the second saw him pass the ball over two defensive players before the knife.
“Michail Antonio couldn’t play,” said BBC Radio 5 live critic Chris Sutton, who was at the London stadium. “This was a master class. It was a perfect center forward performance.”
Antonio said: “It sounds wonderful to be called West Ham’s Premier League top scorer. I feel like it affected the way I play in the first half, but the player recovered me at half time and I played normally and managed to score my goals.”
Crew ‘Football didn’t start in 1992’ we will want to point out that Antonio records a record only for the Premier League era. Vic Watson scored 298 league goals for West Ham between 1920 and 1935 (326 in all competitions).
Geoff Hurst has scored 180 league goals (249 in all competitions) and several other players have crossed 100. Antonio has 51 goals in all West Ham competitions.
He was the best or joint scorer of West Ham in the last two seasons, and also in 2016-17. He has had more shots (11) than anyone in the Premier League this season.
At the time, many attackers came and went, including Jordan Hugill, Albiano Ajeti, Lucas Perez, Sebastien Haller, Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic.
Antonio’s achievements are even better if you look at his football journey.
He has never played international football at any level, and started his career with Tooting & Mitcham United in the Premier League of the Istrian League.
He joined West Ham as a winger from Nottingham Forest in 2015 – and finished his first season at the club as a right-back.
“I’m never happy to score just one goal,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to catch me while I’m out of here. I want to be there in folklore forever.”