Everyone remembers the Goal! Movies, right?
Well, the first one at least. The one where a teenage Mexican striker by the name of Santiago Muñez overcomes asthma, an unsupportive parent and the UK’s immigration policy to fire Newcastle United into the Champions League.
Despite an underwhelming performance at the box office, the movie became a cult hit, namely among starry-eyed children of the mid-2000s, and turned Newcastle into a global sensation.
Though it was released in 2005, the movie had such an impact that even now, every new signing Newcastle make gets compared to the plucky Muñez, who is widely regarded as one of the club’s best ever players despite never actually existing.
But…what if he did exist?
What if Goal! The Dream Begins was just a precursor to something that was actually going to happen more than 15 years on from its release?
Well, Santiago Muñoz (so close) has just made his first start for Liga MX side Club Santos Laguna…so I guess we’ll see.
Newcastle have already taken note of the developments in Mexico, quote replying to Santos’ tweet about his first start with an ever-ambiguous eyes emoji, and sending fans into a ‘sign him up’ frenzy in the replies.
Obviously, there were a few spoilsports. There were those who didn’t get the joke, and others who did, but decided to take it seriously…as if it’s not just a football club having a bit of fun on Twitter.
Bet they’re fun at parties.
Even Santos themselves popped up to crash the party, breaking the fourth wall by confirming there hasn’t yet been a bid from Newcastle yet. Booooo.
Obviously there are a few things in the stories of Santiago Muñez (fictional) and Santiago Muñoz (real) that don’t quite add up. Muñoz (real) is a little younger than Muñez (pretend) was in the first movie. We know that because Muñoz is just 18, and while Muñez’s age isn’t specified, he has already worked a couple of jobs by the time he gets his first trial with the Magpies.
There’s also the fact that Muñoz is actually playing professionally, having made three appearances in the Mexican top flight. He is already gaining international attention – with the USMNT keen to poach him away from his native Mexico.
By contrast Muñez was playing in the LA equivalent of a pub league before his sudden rise to stardom, starring for a team made up of his colleagues at a local car wash.
Who really cares, though? It’s close enough.
Is there a Gavin Harris anywhere? We’ll settle for a Gary if not…