Leeds United’s Giuseppe Bellusci Coccyx Conundrum – by Rob Atkinson

The Warrior has landed

The Warrior has landed – and Liam Cooper looks worried

One undoubted hero for Leeds United so far this season has been Giuseppe “The Warrior” Bellusci, a centre back with a penchant for rampaging forward, delivering ballistic free-kicks and delicate chips – and, significantly, a most perturbing goal celebration.

Don’t get me wrong. There is no greater advocate than this blog for players who, upon donning the famous white shirt, are prepared to “bust their ass”, as our transatlantic friends have it, in the name of Leeds. We fans of Yorkshire’s premier club like nothing better than to see some effort being put in, some never-say-die attitude, a willingness to get some blood on the old boots. It’s what we demand of our heroes around these parts and if all this fearsomeness and belligerence can be allied to some genuine ability too, then so much the better.

The thing is – nobody with the interests of the club at heart wants to see this “ass-busting” become too much of a literal thing. And this is where the worries start with our Giuseppe. Because, when he scores, he has this celebration – first he does the traditional running around in small circles before fleeing for the nearest bunch of United fans, pursued by delighted team-mates. But then, it becomes a little scary as he ends his run by jumping into the air, tucking his knees up before extending his legs before him in flight – and landing square on the base of his spine, impacting the unforgiving earth with a hefty bump.

The first time I saw this, after his stellar dead ball strike at Bournemouth, I put it down to the fact that he’d just dispatched a worldy in a game where United had looked likely to get properly thumped. Some relief and delight was understandable – but even so, it made me wince. Bellusci is a meaty lad, and when his full weight hits terra firma from a height of even four feet, said weight jolting through his lower spine – well, you just have to fear for the headstrong guy’s coccyx.

The painful truth

The painful truth

The coccyx, for those who do not know, is the vestigial remnant of what used to be a fully-functional tail and dates back to that shadowy period of history when we all lived in trees and needed a prehensile “fifth limb” to aid us in negotiating our way from branch to branch. Those of us outside Lancashire have long since evolved beyond the need for such equipment but, nevertheless, we have that small, bony leftover at the base of the spine, much as whales still have redundant finger-bones in their flippers. Evolution, it appears, frequently fails to tidy up behind itself. The coccyx serves no function nowadays, save to remind us of the time when we all looked like Wayne Rooney – but it is a particularly vulnerable spot, as anyone who has sat down abruptly on a hard surface might testify. The risk of injury to the goal celebrant who makes a habit of abusing his coccyx (if you’ll pardon that expression) is very real indeed.

It’s lovely to see Bellusci score – obviously we will all hope he gets many more goals both this season and beyond. The sight of him rampaging forward against poor old Huddersfield was beautiful to behold; he took a return pass from Antenucci and exquisitely flighted the ball onto the Terriers’ crossbar for the redoubtable Mirko to volley the rebound into an empty net. Poetry in motion. On this occasion, as he hadn’t scored himself, Giuseppe merely modified his anguish at being denied into arms-raised joy at going two up after all. But, last time out, he was at it again with the coccyx abuse, after he’d slotted home beautifully, left-footed, to equalise against the Wendies. It was now obvious that this potentially painful celebration was not just a Bournemouth one-off. The nutter clearly intends to do it every time – and I’m very much afraid that disaster is inevitable; especially when the ground gets harder as the nights draw in.

Somebody needs to have a word with the lad. He’s a cult hero already, right up there with our superb, panther-like goalie Silvestri. He’d be a big loss to the team if he went and did himself a mischief the next time he provides a world-class finish. There must be other, perhaps more elegant ways of letting off some steam after notching. Hasselbaink’s half-baked cartwheel used to trouble me slightly, but it was nowhere near athletic enough to pose much of a risk to the scorer. Something ebullient, but safe – that’s what we’re really looking for here.

Perhaps if anybody with Darko’s ear (or even access to the Sheriff himself) reads this, then they might make a subtle suggestion that a bit more caution could be observed? After all, such a crunching jolt might not only imperil this valuable player’s coccyx – he might even end up biting his bloody tongue off, or wrenching something vital in the abdominal region. Such thoughts can bring tears to the eyes, and cause a troubled shadow to cloud the brow, of even the strongest fan.

Obviously, in the heat of the moment, it’s not easy to restrain the joy of scoring for Leeds. I can well believe that’s the case. But it’s frankly painful to watch one of our heroes risking his mobility and wellbeing in quite such a cavalier fashion and, if that’s how he is going to celebrate every time he scores – well, quite frankly, I’d rather leave the goal-getting to Noel Hunt, Steve Morison or, slightly more realistically, Silvestri himself.

Fellow Leeds fans, I kid you not.

31 responses to “Leeds United’s Giuseppe Bellusci Coccyx Conundrum – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Rob, like your comment about Lancashire.


  2. having badly brused my coccyx once I too winced when I saw his goal celebration and you’re right rob , come January in middlesbrough or some other freezing outpost it could end up in a ass cast , someone needs to have a word ..
    what a heart warming thing at the final whistle tho when the shirt was given to the disabled fan …


  3. Yes, I too felt uneasy when he celebrated his goal. Someone needs to have a word.

    Can’t agree on the coccyx vertebrae macroevolution spin; but you’re entitled to your view.


    • I’m all ago for your alternative theorem Dr Hughie ๐Ÿ™‚


      • 1) Just how long ago did Man stop “..negotiating our way from branch to branch?”

        2) Why give up on a good thing?

        3) Is it not more useful to walk as well as swing?

        4) Is this an advantage or disadvantage?

        5) Would that “..prehensile โ€œfifth limbโ€,” have gradually or suddenly evolved?

        6) If gradually, how did the ape-man function as it clumsily and stubbornly tried imitating its parents/family?

        7) We learn from our kind. If our way of communicating was to grunt our young would also grunt. If we only ever crawled our young would follow in like manner. What was the modus operandi the first ex-swinger had to imitate?

        8) When a baby is born lacking a limb or body part this is considered to be a deformity. Are the ex-tailed, (Man), deformed?

        9) I’m going on a bit, aren’t I?

        10) Just wanted to end on a nice round number. โœŒ


      • I think I’ve been out-bullshitted….!


  4. Rob, my first comment though I have long enjoyed your blog.

    I was, as you were, horrified when I saw said suicidal celebration.
    I assume such kamikaze antics are confined to footballers plying their trade below Premier League level where I would think “Celebration Coaches” are the norm. Artistic types who groom their charges in “spontaneous” expressive demonstrations to convince us all how much they care about their plastic club and what genuine people they are. A cursory examination of the antics of the git Ronaldo whose every considered movement on a football pitch appears to be carefully choreographed can lead us to no other conclusion than that marketing as opposed to the joy of the game is the major motivation in the higher echelons of football.

    The Lancashire comments are indisputably accurate.


  5. David Smith

    Rob – am I right in thinking Elland Road has got under soil heating for those chilly winter evenings ….. that may help a little !! Loved the Rooney reference – priceless !


  6. Reality Cheque

    hope you highlighting GB’s coccyx doesn’t make him the BUTT of too many jokes Rob!! Do we still employ a physio at the club nowadays who can offer some informed advice? Keep the top quality posts coming Rob, there’s plenty of material out there these days and you appear to have neglected our needs recently (hope all is good with you and yours?). MOT


  7. Kevin Wilson

    Great , amusing article as usual Rob and a marvellous Lancashire jibe! Maybe we should have a whip round and buy Peppe some sort of padded or inflatable shorts?


  8. I’m liking all 4 of the Italian lads rob. They seem to get what it means to play for Leeds much better than the various british journey men we’ve had over the years. Silvestre is best keeper we’ve had since robinson. Bianci brings stability to the midfield and is a great player to bring the likes of cook, mowatt and Dawson along. Bellusci just does mad things you don’t expect a centre half to do, a real cult hero. Antennuci, pure class, great movement off the ball and works his socks off.


    • Couldn’t agree more. And there’s still quality to come in – I’m at Elland Road even now, watching the U-21s murdering their Donny counterparts. It’s 3-0 at HT and Montenegro & Adryan have been outstanding – as have young Dawson and Booker, who looks quality going forward from right back. There’s also a decent prospect called Noel Hunt…


      • I nearly shot into my jocks this morning when I read that the Blades are seriously considering “our Noel” on loan. If there really IS a God, this could be His big chance to prove it…


  9. An in shorts air bag is the answer, wait a minute while I get one patented.


  10. Rob, your last sentence absolutely creased me up (slightly more realistically)


  11. Unfortunately, this sounds like a coccyx injury just waiting to happen.

    Coccydynia (coccyx pain, or tailbone pain) can be severe and life altering for athletes and nonathletes alike.


  12. Can anyone point me to a video clip showing this athlete doing this celebratory display where he lands on his tailbone /coccyx region?


  13. Like

  14. Ha Ha- After the description you gave of his goal celebration I thought I’d logged into the British Olympic Diving website by mistake . The club should maybe consider employing Tom Daley to help him land a backward flip properly, then again landing on your coccyx might be preferable to landing on your head!!


  15. Pingback: Doctor’s Orders: Warrior Bellusci Should Modify Goal Celebration – by Rob Atkinson | Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything

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