'Ton' gue in cheek: 100 great Larsson goals Review
The Main Feature
The 2000-01 season was a major one for Celtic football club, as they finally toppled their cross-town rivals Rangers domination of the Scottish Premier League. A lot of this is down to new manager Martin O'Neill, whose transformation of the club from a "nearly" side to champions has been remarkable. They had won the championship a few years ago, but they now look ready to dominate rather than just be "one-off" winners. This can't be done without quality players though, and Celtic have a great one in Henrik Larsson. At the time of writing, Larsson had just exceeded 50 goals for the season. It could be argued that the Scottish league is hardly the world's greatest, and banging in a hatful against the likes of St Mirren or Motherwell doesn't exactly prove the greatness of a player. But scoring more than 50 goals in any league is a stunning achievement, and Larsson's natural goal scoring instincts would net him a high tally anywhere. This is even more special this season considering only recently he suffered a bad leg break, and made a speedy recovery from what was at first thought to be a career ending injury. The player bought from Feyenoord for just £600,000 back in 1997 is proving to be one of the greatest footballing bargains of all time.
Goals is what you get from Larsson, and so goals is what we have here, 100 of them, to be exact, hence the dreadful pun of the title. These are counted down from 100 to 1, in order of quality, with a helpful chapter stop menu for each block of ten. Disappointingly, only a few have commentary - from Larsson himself or team mates - most are just shown without even captions to identify which match they were scored in. Only a dedicated Celtic fan would recognize the games immediately. But then, that's the point of videos like this, they are aimed only at club fans, not even the "generic" fan of football is going to get a lot out of it.
In summary, this is a competent enough run through of the 100 top goals scored by Larsson whilst at Celtic, but nothing more. At his current rate of scoring goals, there will probably be a second volume very soon...
A 4x3 fullscreen picture is what's presented here; it would be unrealistic to expect anything else. What is disappointing though, is the very variable picture quality. The interview segments are perfectly acceptable, with a "good quality TV broadcast" look. On the other hand the footballing footage - the main reason for buying this title - is of generally poor quality, with a lot of artifacting. Amazingly, as these are digital degradations to the picture, it is possible that the DVD video quality is actually worse than the VHS cassette.
As this is a piece of media that's primary distribution medium is the VHS videocassette, then don't expect anything more than that format can handle. So it's basic stereo sound, but it does the job competently enough.
Compared to the VHS version of this title, there is a fair amount of additional material. This includes:
The main extra is Larsson: The Player's Player. More of a companion piece than an extra, as it clocks in at a decent 60 minutes. It's a more polished piece than the main feature as it covers Larsson's playing career at Celtic, his unselfish playing style, and a bit about the man himself. Unfortunately it's a little out of date as it was made at the end of the 98-99 season (Larsson was still dreadlocked at this time), and reviews the season from a Larsson perspective.
Don't think that the interview section is an extra, as it is just an index that allows you to jump to the interview sections of the main feature.
Also on the disc are a number of text-based extras, including 100 goals which is a brief article from Joe Sullivan of the fanzine Celtic View. A biography runs to two pages, as does an interview with Larsson in the Moving to Celtic section. In praise of Henrik Larsson includes contributions from former Celtic coach Wim Jansen, his assistant Murdo McLeod, and Celtic goal scoring legend Bobby Lennox. Finally there is a gallery of Larsson images (which gave my player a lot of grief).
At the end of the day, this is a disc for Celtic fans, and Celtic fans only. There is plenty of additional material over and above the VHS release to make the disc a worthwhile purchase, but be warned that picture quality for much of the footballing footage is not of a very high standard.