When it was first announced that Thierry Henry would be returning to the club, as an Arsenal fan, it was always going to be impossible not to get excited about the move.
Some people however, were quick to criticize the deal, stating the 34-year old forward was “past it” and this was just another “desperate” signing by Arsene Wenger.
However, like many times before, it didn’t take long for these accusations to be silenced. Henry got given the chance – literally – and he delivered, giving Arsenal a 1-0 win over Leeds United, allowing his side to progress to the 4th round of the oldest domestic competition in the world.
After another disappointing – although slightly improved – performance from Marouane Chamakh, who celebrated his 28th birthday by flying out to the African cup of nations this morning, Henry was the replacement who came on and ultimately became the man who won the match for The Gunners.
Even at 34-years of age, his world class talents are still there to see. His close touch, his neat finishing and most importantly, his footballing brain are still present.
Understandably, he’s never going to be the speed demon he once was during his heroic days at Highbury. But when you’re a footballing genius, thinking 2 or 3 steps ahead of your opponent, you don’t need pace to get you by.
Henry, who before yesterday’s match had scored a record-breaking 226 goals in a glorious first spell in the famous red and white shirt, was able to provide
all football fans with yet another moment of utter brilliance.
Although some may not possess the courage to admit it, Henry’s goal was one of those moments where everyone, whoever they supported, was given a heart-warming sensation. Even the ever-wobbly Jonathan Ross, the self-proclaimed football numpty (who knew?), described the moment as “exciting“, also going on to label “Henri” as a “hero“.
Embarrassing spelling mistakes aside, I was honoured to be there last night. Despite the occasional trip to Wembley (all of which have been absolutely fantastic days out, results aside), I’ve had to come to terms with the the sad fact that the FA Cup has lost a lot of it’s shine in recent years.
Fortunately though, and with a lot of thanks aimed towards our record goalscorer, we were able to overcome a defiant Leeds side and progress to the next round. And as a man who as a boy, grew up with an unquestionable love for the competition, it was an absolute privilege to see an FA Cup game mean so much to everyone, once again.
With the extraordinary lifestyles footballers lead, assisted by the often-astronomical wages and transfer fees, fans can often forget that certain players have a genuine love for the club.
Thierry Henry is – and will always be – one of those players who will remain a true fan of Arsenal Football Club.
by MIKE HARVEY | Follow me on Twitter @my_karvey