I apologise for the nature of this article. I make no illusions that it may only appeal to Arsenal fans!
It was difficult not to get caught up in the moment on Monday night. Thierry had returned just as we all remember him; playing on the shoulder of defenders, sliding into space, and dispatching that trademark finish across the goal-keeper into the far corner. Despite only scraping a FA Cup third round victory against a side eighth in the Championship after another profligate showing, there was a collective roar acrossNorth Londonand a genuine buzz amongst Arsenal fans.
It has not been an easy road for Arsenal fans over the last few years. The lack of trophies and general desertion of top players, led of course by Henry back in 2007, has bred an atmosphere, not just of discontent, but of factionalism. Discussions of the progress, or lack of, at the club and Wenger’s philosophy have led to differences that, in my opinion, have at times overwhelmed the common bond between fans. The fractured and sometimes hostile atmosphere is testament to this.
Henry’s goal was an escape from this. It was not a moment for anyone to use as evidence for their perspective on the club. It was just a great evening to be enjoyed by anyone associated with the club, neither theoretical nor philosophical and untainted by partisan bickering. It was a hark back to older days, good times when goals and silverware flowed, the football was easier to watch and there was very little need for schisms. For twenty minutes 2003 had returned.
As usual Arseblog summed it up eloquently on Twitter.
“On top of everything, how nice is it to have a moment that all Arsenal fans can enjoy without any backbiting or dipshitted cuntery?”
This does not happen very often in football. Each club will experiences its own versions and they should be savoured.
Henry will, of course, not be able to perform like that every week. He is not the messiah. He will not be the same clinical striker who seemed to glide gracefully in cheetah-like fashion past defenders and will not be on hand to score the winner whenever needed. What he did do though was provide a single unified moment of joy for Arsenal fans though and if he does nothing else in the next two months, it was worth it for that.