This blog was giggling like like a little schoolgirl about an hour ago, if it knew what is was like to be reunited with a former lover, it would say it felt a bit like that, but it doesn’t know. So…
So. With no football to look forward to until Monday night, today’s confirmation that Thierry Henry will be (temporarily) rejoining the club that made him one of the biggest stars in the footballing universe, well, it gives us something to talk about, doesn’t it? I have already voiced a certain degree of scepticism regarding our former captain’s return to north London, but I, and I’m sure you, can’t help feeling a little dizzy now it’s done.
When I last gave voice to my thoughts on the possibility of his return, I guess the focus on was on whether he could have a similar effect on the dressing room to the one that Sol Campbell did two years ago, that Mad Jens did last year. Unlike those two, already established when they first signed for Arsenal, Thierry feels more like “our” player because we watched him grow into the legend he undoubtedly became.
Will his mere presence, as someone who never lost a match against Spurs in his eight years at the club, be enough to turn around our fortunes against a club who haven’t lost against us since the “11 second derby” in 2009? I guess that’s one to consider towards the end of February, towards the end of his time with us. Intriguingly, his signing also raises the fascinating prospect of Henry engaging Manchester United in battle one more time. The fixture, on January 22nd, comes 5 years and 1 day after Thierry’s last home goal (a header, a fucking header!) won a pulsating clash with United in the last minute of injury time.
Of course, that was then, and this now, five years later- the substitute who scored the equaliser that day, RvP, has become the main man and it is Thierry whose services atre likely to be called on from the bench. Before then, we do have the aforementioned Monday night match, with Leeds United (a team always in my top 3 of teams I hate losing to*) in the FA Cup. Another point of interest is that in Thierry’s last game against Leeds, he scored 4 goals on a Friday night as he propelled us towards the title- and Leeds towards the Championship. His 4th, scored as he fell over, prompting the magnificent observation from Andy Gray that he’d “seen most things in this league in the last 25 years… I haven’t seen anything like him… this is breathtaking”.
Okay, that was then and this is now, things have changed since then. Like the fact that Leeds aren’t a Premier League team anymore. Seriously though, I think it would be foolhardy to think that the 34 year old Henry, the ferocity of the Premier League a distant memory now, could come close to repeating the feats of the 27 year old genius he once was, but it’s still gonna be good to have him around. Especially as the man himself is smart enough to realise that any impact he makes is going to be restricted to supporting our leading man. Speaking to Arse.com, he said,
“For me being able to come here and train, being in the dressing room and seeing all the training staff, I have no words to describe it. To wear the jersey one more time, I can only be honoured,”
He went onto say,
“People might think I am just saying that, but when I left this Club I cried and I cried for the statue. I haven’t cried a lot in my career, but when I do it seems that something is happening with Arsenal.”
It’s gonna be a bit weird for him running around the stadium, assuming he gets to, knowing there’s a statue of himself just outside. Hopefully he can use that fact to inspire the players around him. As for crying over that statue, to the layman those tears might have looked a bit staged but I think to have a statue of yourself outside a football stadium isn’t an honour afforded to many that are still alive. Never mind still playing.
My final thought, for now, is that when Thierry said- as he left Arsenal- that he would love to return one day and we all went, “Yeah, whaaaaaaaaatever, Thierry, don’t worry about us whilst you’re enjoying yourself in the Barcelona sunshine”, he wasn’t lying. I think there are legitimate doubts as to what, exactly, Thierry can offer to this Arsenal side. However, for today at least, we can say to probably the greatest player to have worn the red and white, our record goalscorer, welcome home Thierry.
And, if you get to play, make sure you score the winner against Spurs.
*The other two being Tottenham and Liverpool
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