So a year after he should have left, Henry finally leaves. I will not dispute he was the greatest player the Premiership has ever had. Nobody, even the most hardened non-Arsenal fan can question the man’s ability. Two titles and four FA Cups. Countless accolades. Record-breaking goals tally. Yes, yes, a truly outstanding player. Maybe now he is a Barcelona player he stands a decent chance of winning the World Player of the Year trophy. And as he departs, Henry has done what all players who have been loyal servants to the one club for a prolonged period do. He has over-emphasised the fact that he is Arsenal through and through, attempting to appease the tearful fans he leaves behind.
Take his comments on the Arsenal website. He mentions ‘heart’ five times, just in case there was any doubt about his love for the club, and also subtly changes ‘Gunner for life’ to mean staying there for life to being a ‘supporter for life’. Bless him. But at least he following his dream. Maybe it’s because of his age. Maybe along with age he has ambition to play in another league with some of the most gifted players in the world and find out just how good he really is applying himself to new surroundings, tempo and footballing culture. And maybe it also had to do with Dein leaving and Wenger looking to jump ship in the near future. Possibly, what he saw looking into the future three or so years back is not what he would have wished for looking ahead from the present day. Because if it was good, if he felt it looked very good, he’d never leave Arsenal.
So, what of the Gunners? Will their ‘young guns’ be able to progress in the right direction without their number 14 talisman? Who can possibly replace the irreplaceable? Of course, before everyone begins to celebrate their ‘demise’ lets remember how in adversity many teams tend to do the opposite of what others expect (hope).
Arsenal were fine in most of their Henry-less games last year out. Including the ones against us. Fine, but not brilliant and most definitely beatable. And they’re not exactly on the verge of mid-table mediocrity. And nobody can dispute Wenger’s ability when it comes to stealing players. But there is now an abundance of questions that did not exist before. And regardless of the players present and their potential and the structure in place at the club, sometimes one incident can create a wave of discontent and uncertainty that never existed or could be imagine earlier.
When a club gets weaker they need to reclaim their strength. And doing so can be equally hard as it is sometimes easy. Time will do its usual thing and let us know how things pan out.
And sure, what a wonderful day in the history of Tottenham Hotspur, jovial with his imminent departure to La Liga. Yes, failure within the Arsenal ranks is seen as glory to the WHL faithful who are deprived of any success.
I’m being ironic here. You see, we are not allowed to laugh at our neighbours. Not permitted in any way, regardless of the occasion. Basically because they have won things and we haven’t. Except its not really laughter is it? And it’s also not a success on our part due to failure on Arsenals.
It’s just your basic football fans reaction to seeing a team you dislike become weaker after you've had to endure constant arrogance from their fans, laughing at suggestions that Henry would even consider leaving. No matter the words Henry uttered in the build up to the official club statement from Arsenal, their fans still deluded that there is no way he would walk away. "Why would Henry leave?" They asked.
See, everyone (the majority) are glad he is gone. That’s Man Utd fans and Chelsea fans and Liverpool fans and everyone else. Yes, yes, the league is a lesser place without him in it. As good as Henry was, eight years of him is enough. It was like Arsenal had an extra three players in their team when he played. And as football is made up of cycles of success, this may just be the end of Arsenals. Dramatics aside, I’m not suggesting the gypsies are about to be deported. Just that their caravans might get clamped.
Please laugh at their despondency, but rather than stand there hoping they will struggle, how about Martin Jol and Daniel Levy look towards improving all the little areas that make us a 5th placed club and not a 4th placed club. At this current moment in time, it’s us with the talisman.
So, goodbye to the number 14. Goodbye to running from one end of the pitch to the other to incite the opposition fans but still have the FA ignore the whole incident. Goodbye to the arrogant self-obsessed celebrations and moody facial expressions. Goodbye and good luck.
And as for the fans he leaves behind. As for all your posturing and gesturing that 'all is well' in Little France don’t expect us not to feel a just a tad content with what’s happened. So.…Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, silence the pianos and with muffled drum, bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Then dance around the bastards singing 'We are Tottenham, we are Tottenham, super Tottenham, from the lane’.
Because we can.