For the world’s attention to be directed to League Two, English football’s fourth tier, something pretty special has to happen.
Yet at Cheltenham Town’s homely Whaddon Road ground on Tuesday, something pretty special did.
Newport County goalkeeper Tom King’s enormous right boot earned his side a point — and himself a world record.
King’s 12th-minute goal kick sailed 96.01 metres to give his side the lead in the League Two clash with Cheltenham.
The ball, helped by a generous West Country tail wind, flew through the air, bouncing on the edge of the opposite penalty area, before taking a nasty hop over King’s opposite number, Josh Griffiths, and into the net.
King, 25, a former England under-age international who moved to Newport in 2019, did not celebrate the goal, simply raising his hands and walking back into his area.
Cheltenham later equalised, the match ending in a 1-1 draw, but all the talk after the game was of King’s long-range effort.
“Obviously [I was] delighted to help the lads out,” King told the Newport County website after the game.
“Obviously it wasn’t expected, it wasn’t something I was going for [but] it is something that we do practice … we noticed the wind in the warmup so, took advantage of it and thankfully it went in.”
King downplayed the accuracy of the ball, saying that he had been aiming for one of his strikers to latch onto the pass, only for the ball to take “a lucky bounce and [it] just landed itself over the goalie with the help of the wind”.
His club was straight onto the prospect of it being a record, with the interviewer asking whether he knew if it was further than the previous mark, set by former Stoke City keeper Asmir Begović, who scored from 91.9 metres in November 2013 in an English Premier League match against Southampton.
“I’m actually quite good friends with Asmir, so I might give him a text and ask how far his was and get my tape measure out and have a go,” King said.
Whether or not King got the tape measure out or not was not known, but on Thursday, Guinness World Records confirmed his effort was the new leader.
“With his epic downfield kick, King officially broke the record for the longest goal scored in a competitive football [soccer] match, which covered an incredible distance of 96.01 m (105 yds),” Guinness World Records wrote on its website.