“Ooohh through for Henry what a moment It just had to be ..Thierry Henry”
Lets go back in time to the 6th of January, 2012 and a 34 years young Thierry Henry was beaming with a No. 12 shirt, which had his name along with the Arsenal emblem inscribed on it, in front of the press. 13 days ago, Henry was holidaying in Mexico with family, with little knowledge of the fairytale that was going to play out in the next few days.
Jack Wilshere and Thierry Henry, with the iconic No.12 jersey
Henry had been training with the Arsenal first team after the end of the MLS season, and with Gervinho and Chamakh both out till mid February, Wenger was in need of striking reinforcements to tackle the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspurs and a tricky trip to South Wales to take on Swansea City.
After much speculation, Arsenal broke the news of signing legendary star striker Thierry Henry from New York Red Bulls for a short loan deal till the beginning of the new season of Football in America. It was like a dream come true for all three parties with the fans going crazy and lining up in numbers to get a glimpse of their legend.
On his transfer,Henry said “When it comes to Arsenal, my heart will always do the talking.”
He also added about the team dynamics, saying “Right now Robin is flying. I can be around and talk to him but he is doing what he does best - scoring goals. When the boss spoke to me about coming back, I wanted to make sure I didn't disturb the team that was in place. That was important to me.”
Even manager Arsene Wenger expressed his delight by saying “I am very happy (about the Henry transfer). It was my desire and Thierry's desire.”
But the niceties were an off field matter. Arsenal were in trouble and had started the year on a bad note, losing to Fulham after taking a lead, going 2-1 down. Next up was a tricky FA Cup tie against Leeds United. Arsene decided to name Henry on the bench and rest Van Persie.
68 minutes on the clock, and the match evenly poised at 0-0, Arsene made a substitution which blew the roof off the stadium. Chamakh made way for the legend, Thierry Henry. Ten minutes on, the roof, if it hadn’t already, was blown off again.
The stage was set, and the legend didn’t disappoint. Song spotted Henry coming to life on the left wing and threaded a beautiful through ball. Henry’s first touch was exquisite as he opened up his body and his second touch helped him slot the ball low into the far corner, away from the keeper to help Arsenal take the lead.
Thierry Henry celebrates after scoring the winner against Leeds United.
Henry’s run behind the defence was vintage and he timed it to perfection, with the finish, even more exquisite. The commentators went nuts, Arsene ran to hug Henry and the players surrounded him, with Wojciech Szczesny running the whole length of the field to join in the celebration. Henry had made a fairytale return to his club and the goal was exactly what was needed, both for the fans and the team.
15 days ago, neither Henry nor the fans would have fathomed that the legend would rise from the bench to lift Arsenal one step closer to an elusive title in 6 years. But the dream was not a dream anymore. 226 became 227 as he added another jewel into his collection of goals for Arsenal in all competitions.
This summed up his attitude towards the club and the game: “I don't know what to say. I love the club and I hope I can do more. I hope it won't be the last one. The feeling I had when I scored was amazing.”
Arsenal is in trouble again, with the poor run of form only halted by a win over West ham, but on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I decided to reminiscent old memories and clear the haze watching the legend score another one of his trademark goals to breath some joy.