Fairytale of the season? Doncaster legend James Coppinger talks marking occasion in his honour with ‘dream’ last-minute free-kick aged 40 February 22, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
As fairytales go, you won’t find a better one than 40-year-old James Coppinger’s last-minute free-kick for Doncaster on Saturday.
With Donny trailing 3-2 in the 12th minute of stoppage time against League One promotion rivals Hull, Coppinger curled a fabulous effort into the top corner – but it was so much more than just an important equaliser.
This is the legendary striker’s 17th and final season at the Keepmoat Stadium. In fact, Doncaster were wearing a special gold kit designed by the man himself to mark the occasion.
He was introduced to the action with five minutes remaining for his first appearance since December 22, following eight weeks out with injury.
And in the latest spectacular moment of a dramatic Doncaster career, he netted the remarkable free-kick – perhaps the most special goal of his entire career.
“It wasn’t that easy Ally, they didn’t duck!” Coppinger told Ally McCoist and Laura Woods on Monday’s talkSPORT Breakfast show.
“It was the stuff dreams are made of… to design the kit, then come on and score the equaliser.
“I had five minutes to make a memory and it was such a good moment.”
He continued: “As soon as I hit it, I start running. I visualise a lot of things and I knew I scored. As soon as we got the free-kick, I knew it was going to happen.
“I’ve been out eight weeks, I’ve not really hit a ball like that for God-knows how long.”
Coppinger’s equaliser sparked wild scenes – and the 40-year-old has since thought of a better way to celebrate.
He was out for vengeance after an unnamed Hull player gave him some stick while the Tigers were 3-1 up, and Coppinger wishes he went full Ruud van Nistelrooy.
He added: “I was warming up and one of the Hull players said, ‘Are you the one that designed this rubbish kit? Aren’t you a bit old to wear them boots?’
“We were 3-1 down at the time and that peed me off a little bit. I wanted to run over and rub his face in it.”
Nevertheless, it was still a magical day, and not only for Coppinger, but his family as well, who helped design the special kit for charity.
The striker added: “I’ve got three kids, two sons aged 12 and 13 who love their football. They gave me some pointers and they loved it. They were over the moon when I scored.”