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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Theirry Henry moves on - so should we.

It's been 48 hours now - and I probably should comment on the departure of Thierry Henry from Arsenal to Barcelona.

There have been all sorts of reactions on the net - but with the benefit of a wee break before posting perhaps I'll be able to get it into perspective.

Thierry Henry is/was Arsenal's greatest ever scorer, he was probably the most exciting player that I've ever seen in the famous red and white shirt, and in the last 8 years he has been a great servant for the club.

Over the last year he has struggled with fitness with a raft of injuries affecting his 6 ft 2 in frame, and he will turn 30 on the 17th August this year.

I think that it would be fair to say that we probably saw the best of Henry at Highbury, and that in his last year while at the Emirates he looked increasing frustrated resulting in increasingly whiny press releases about what the club must do to keep him happy.

I suspect that Henry left because he knows that he has just 1-2 years left at the top and that he'd like to win something big (league title / champions league) immediately - and does not think that Arsenal can challenge in England without the funds that Man United, Chelsea and even Liverpool now have at their disposal.

He is probably right. Arsenal continue to be a work in progress - and do not have the balance and mix of experienced and young players needed to win major trophies. Hopefully this departure will galvanise Mr Wenger and the boardroom into realising what is needed to compete at the very top.

I think that Gooners everywhere should pause and reflect on the pleasure that Henry's appearances for Arsenal have given us - and also realise that in 1-2 years time it may have been Arsenal that were selling off Henry as being past his use-by date.

We've seen it with nearly all of our former heroes with Patrick Vieria, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars, Robert Pires, Anders Limpar and even Nigel Winterburn all being sold once they couldn't reach the required standard - football is a business too - and is very mercenary.

There are exceptions with Dennis Bergkamp coming to mind, and of course there was "Mr Arsenal" Tony "Donkey" Adams but these one-club men come once a decade and it's a measure of the man as much as it is a measure of the actual playing skill. These men are exceptions - not the norm.

So it's a parting of the ways for Arsenal and Henry - but we should not forget everything that Henry achieved in Red and White - and personally I wish Mr Thierry Daniel Henry well for his future club - except when he plays against Arsenal.

Adieu Roi Henry