If ever there was a match made in Heaven in the footballing world, it would have to be between Arsenal and Thierry Henry, who have found each other again after a five-year absence, with the magic the same as it ever was.
It was an otherwise drab encounter, with little to get excited about as a makeshift Arsenal team struggled to break down a determined and dogged Leeds side coming with only one intention – a lucrative replay.
While it was frustrating to watch, it seems fitting now that there should have been nothing else to take the attention away from a moment that will live long in the memory of gooners everywhere, as the club’s top scorer and greatest ever player came back to score an oh so typical winning goal.
Yet another perfectly rolled in shot from the left, his trademark, took him to 227 goals for Arsenal. With the club’s recent trophyless run and many less-than inspiring players coming and going during this period leading to a collective nostalgia about better times, it was both surreal and magnificent to witness a moment so many of us have longed for, and thought we wouldn’t see again.
Knowing as well that the love he has for us is just as strong makes it all the more moving. Watching the celebrations you can see he is in as much sheer extacy and disbelief as we are, as he runs to hug the manager who made it all possible.
Henry is not a Londoner, he’s not English, he didn’t grow up around the corner from Highbury and go to games as a boy. For all I know, he hadn’t ever been to London or heard of Arsenal until making the move from Juventus in 1999, but I guess it was just destiny. He’s said it many times – “there’s something about Arsenal”, and even after a spell away from the club, it wasn’t over, and last night the two found each other at perfect harmony once more.