For many, the lasting reputation of Andy Carroll is his ill-fated spell at Liverpool, that obscene bicycle kick while at West Ham and the greasy ponytail he refuses to chop – but not anymore.
It’ll come as a surprise to many that the once highly sought-after striker made an incredibly left-field move this summer in signing for Ligue 2 side Amiens.
Seriously, it doesn’t really get much more ‘FIFA Career Mode save season five’ than watching a 34-year-old Carroll wave goodbye to Reading and the EFL to head to the north of France for an extremely unpredictable swansong.
We don’t mean any disrespect here and would love to be proven wrong, but we just can’t quite picture him being able to do anything other than ask for ‘un beer, s’il vous plaît’ which won’t get him all that far.
But unlike Joey Barton, he’s most probably left the dodgy accent in England and thankfully brought with him that scoring prowess from yesteryear that lit up the Barclays many moons ago.
Among the failed transfers and injuries, it’s been all too easy to forget that, actually, Carroll can strike a ball. He can strike a ball bloody well, too.
Released by Reading, who were freefalling into League One, Carroll explained after making the move that he had offers in ther countries, and crucially the chance to remain in England.
Having been tarred with the same, boring old brush that he had been for years throughout his time in England, why on earth would you want to stay when you’ve been offered the chance to head off into the French sunset away from all the noise?
We say away from all the noise, that was until Carroll decided he’d turn his quiet and bizarre move to France into a spectacle for all the world to see, with perhaps the most ridiculous goal of 2023 and a certain Puskas contender.
— Ligue 2 BKT (@Ligue2BKT) October 22, 2023
Running purely off fresh baguettes, Escargot and vibes, the big, freakish pony-tailed beast came up with the most outrageous half-volley you could imagine from just in front of the halfway line to lob the FC Annecy goalkeeper.
After the hosts’ defence fails to deal with a long ball, the clearance falls into the path of Carroll. Having as much fun as he possibly can out of the limelight and in the French autumn, he ferociously sends the ball looping into the back of the goal from improbable range.
Not only did it rescue a point for Amiens, it was his second goal in as many games. Amazing what a change of scenery can do for one’s fortunes.
Why do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke when you can pack a bag, head to France and nonchalantly bulldoze them in from any angle you like under much less pressure and in better weather?
“When I spoke with John [Williams, Amiens Sporting Director], I came here straight away and cast my eye over the city and the club. I knew it was the place I wanted to play.
“It was by speaking to John and my teammates that I made the decision to come here. It’s a good club, a family club, with great facilities.”
You simply cannot argue with that.
Unfortunately for Carroll, he’ll never truly be able to shake being known for that £35million switch from Newcastle to Liverpool and his subsequent struggle in Merseyside, but what he can do is hold his head high knowing he’s living out all of our wildest dreams.
Embarking on what could be the beginning of a beautiful career renaissance out in the obscurity of a European second tier, scoring for fun, living well and having a blast.
He’s got it all figured out. Nice one, Andy.
By Mitch Wilks