Tis the season to be jolly. Yes it is. So jolly and happy. It’s also the season to demand presents. Trouble is I’m too old to play those games anymore. The sort of presents I want can’t be purchased on a a Primark gift card these days.
HAPPY GOOD MORNING TO YOU.
So, Thierry retired from football. Wasn’t sure why this was news. Didn’t we know he was going to Sky?
Anyway. The great man packs it all in. The greatest players to grace the Premier League. A striker that will always be relevant. Technically perfect, audacious, incredibly fast, strong and fit as an ox.
I’m not into writing love letters, but I’ll give a few words on Thierry.
They say your first relationship defines how the rest of them eek out. If you’re cheated on early doors, you’re mistrusting. If you cheat and get away with it you might always do that.
Well, football has a similar thing going on. In my formative years, I was spoilt. I grew up with Ian Wright, one of the most exciting players I’d ever had the pleasure of. Fun, unpredictable and full of goals. Look back on a video of his contributions if you get the chance, you forget how good he was. So talented. Then my next love was Bergkamp. Cool, sophisticated and technically brilliant. I’d never seen a player so calm and spectacular all at the same time. The we had Nik Anelka. I really liked him. I mean, I was dazzled by his speed an style. I’d never seen anything like him. He burst onto the scene and had it all… but then doubt crept in. Is he… you know… talking to other clubs? I didn’t want to believe it. So much loyalty from the last two. What was Nik up to? Then he broke my heart. He left for Madrid. I was a broken man… how could we replace him? The most exciting striker in the Premier League…
Well, it didn’t take long. Thierry Henry was a player I knew from Championship Manager. Then we saw him at the world cup. He was a young exciting winger that had had a bad time at Juventus. I knew he’d be good because he was good on the computer game (kid logic).
Well, he was a bit all over the place to start with, but then the goals started to flow. He had everything Anelka had, blended with the best bits of Dennis, blended with pure Thierry.
He was incredible. I’ve never felt so safe with a player in my team. You knew that it didn’t matter how down the chips were, there was always a chance Thierry could save the day. He made half chances look like tap ins. He made breezing past defenders look easy. He was the King and I’ll always be grateful to him for the good times he brought to the club.
There were so many amazing performances. That goal against United where he chipped up for himself, turned and volleyed over Barthez. The solo mazy run against Liverpool to keep us invincible. How he helped us destroy Inter away from home when they were a big deal. How he was applauded off at so many grounds. His ability to score twenty goals and assist 20. My fave ever stat where he’d had the most shots on target in the league as well as the most off target.
He was sophistication personified. A French James Bond. An on pitch artist. A gentleman, a hero… everything you dream of in a player. When he left to go to Barca, I was fine with it. He’d given me so much. He was never going to win the Champions League with us. He went over there and smashed it in an unfavoured position.
He always pined for his true love… Arsenal. They don’t make em’ like that anymore. I wonder if we’ll ever see superstar class like that again? Will we ever have a 20 goal a season striker who can deliver that consistently? I doubt it. But one can dream. He was a one off. An enigma. A player I can say I had the total pleasure of seeing live so many times. One of the greatest priviliges I’ve been afforded through my season ticket.
Hopefully there will be a place for him at the club. He’d make an incredibly relevant ambassador. He could be our Zidane. Who wouldn’t want to join after meeting the king? He’s a student of the game, I’m sure he’d make a fantastic scout as well. There has to be a role for him at the club at some point. I’d imagine it’ll be post Wenger.
I’m looking forward to seeing him on Sky. It’ll be great to have a bit of Arsenal representation. It’ll also be cool to listen to a forwards opinion.
So today, we’ll be having a little chat about something I read about managerial appointments. It’s a tricky business. You can prepare early to bring in someone new and by the time you get there, they’re messing things up, or you can do it late and still mess it up. Like United have. I hope.
Anyway, Barca had a plan when Rijkaard was letting it slide like Rooney on a summer holiday to an all inclusive. Their management team, a grouping of the finest players to have graced the club (The Dream Team), were being informed by the players things weren’t right on the shop floor.