The Panenka

A blog dedicated to European Football, World Soccer and the Road to Russia 2018

Football’s Fathers and Sons: The Gudjohnsen’s

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In April 1996 Eidur Gudjohnsen made international football history in a game against Estonia when he replaced his father Arnor during the second half. The first time a father and son had played in the same international match

The Panenka looks at the careers of the two strikers with the news that the younger of the pair will be representing his country at Euro 2016 with Iceland.

Iceland’s Arnor Gudjohnsen was a striker and spent the majority of his career in Belgium with Anderlecht. In Belgium he made 139 appearances scoring 40 goals for the club.

The older of the two Gudjohnsen’s is remembered for a two moments in history he will probably want to forget.

Firstly, in the 1984 UEFA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur with Anderlecht he missed the first penalty in the shootout. As a result he appeared on the wrong side of the dramatic shootout against the London club.

Secondly it emerged that Anderlecht’s passage to the final that year had not been completely deserved. Years later the club’s chairman was found guilty of paying the referee for the semi-final against Nottingham Fores. The bribe was reported to total somewhere in the region of $35,000. In hindsight it was all too obvious what had happened. During the semi-final a dubious penalty was awarded to Anderlecht while a Forest goal was also controversially disallowed.

Arnor never won a major honor as a player but played 73 games for the Icelandic national team and scored 14 goals. He played his last international in October 1997, over a year after he was replaced by his son against Estonia. Given the length of his 23 year career it in unsurprising that three years before he had finished playing in 2001, he had actually become a grandparent.

Compared to his son, Arnor Gudjohnsen had a much less successful career.

While Arnor was still with Vikingur he and his wife welcomed their new son Eidur into the world in 1978. Eidur began his career with Valur in Iceland. He moved to mainland Europe with PSV in in 1995 before finding himself back in Iceland with Reykjavik two unsuccessful seasons later. In 1998 the striker got his break when Bolton Wanderers signed him. At the Reebok , a haul of 21 goals in his debut season lifted the Trotters into the play-offs which led to the club being promoted

After one season in the English Premier League with Bolton, Gianluca Vialli’s Chelsea signed a 21-year-old Gudjohnson for $5 million. In London, Gudjohnson enjoyed some of the finest years of his career scoring 54 times in 184 appearances. After playing under Ranieri and witnessing the club’s revolution under new owner Roman Abramovic, the Iceland striker found himself surplus to requirements under new coach Jose Mourinho. Even though he won the English Premier League twice with the Portuguese coach he was not considered part of his plans despite making some vital contributions.

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Gudjohnsen (left) in a Champions League tie against who would be his next club Barcelona.

Now in his late 20s and still with his best years ahead of him, Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard plucked Gudjohnson from the bench at Stamford Bridge as a replacement for Henrik Larsson. At the Nou Camp he was an infrequent starter but became a key squad member as part of the treble winning side of 2009. After three season’s in Spain Gudjohnson entered the twilight of his career and embarked on an unique journey through football making appearances for Monaco, Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke, Fulham, AEK Athens, Cercle Brugge, Club Brugge. Another spell with Bolton saw him find enough form the earn a move to China when he was signed by Shijiazhuang Ever Bright.

Gudjohnsen actually retired from international football in November 2013 after Iceland lost a 2014 World Cup play-off to Croatia, but was recalled in March 2015. In doing so Gudjohnsen played three of Iceland’s Euro 2016 qualifying matches, scoring one goal as they reached a major tournament for the first time.

Last week, Gudjohnsen, at the grand old age of 37, received the welcome news that he will be included in the national team’s squad for Euro. While currently plying his trade with Molde in Norway, the former Chelsea forward is likely to be used as an impact substitute by co-managers Lars Largerbeck and Heimir Hallgrimsson.

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