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Wednesday
Jan112012

Gunner Galactico

BY MATT SPICER / @mattspicer66

I'm writing this on January 2nd. It looks done and dusted that a certain Monsieur Henry is returning to The Arsenal, nearly five years after leaving for Barcelona as our record goalscorer and only a matter of weeks after a commemorative statue of him has been unveiled outside The Emirates. 

Thierry will only be with us for a maximum of eight weeks, and it is highly unlikely he will reach anything like the world class standards that left defenders with "twisted blood" as he swept past them with such graceful power and pace (ask Jamie Carragher). But you know what, I don't mind admitting that I am properly excited about the idea of seeing TH14 (or this time TH12) in an Arsenal shirt once again. Because for me, and I've been watching Arsenal since 1971 when I was 5, he is the best player to ever wear the shirt.

No one has provided Gooners with as many jaw dropping, breathtaking, "I was there" moments as this fella. Ask any Gooner for their favourite Thierry moment, and you will get many different answers.

It might be that goal versus Spurs at Highbury when he practically ran the length of the pitch before scoring (and then the length of the pitch back again as he celebrated on his knees in front of the away fans). It might be ripping Inter a new one at the San Siro when we beat them 5-1. Or that dipping volley versus Manchester United. The backheel in front of The North Bank versus Charlton. Digging us out of a hole when the chips were down versus Liverpool in the Invincibles season. There are just so many to choose from, and I've not even touched the surface.

For me though, I’ve got one special memory that sits just above all the others. It was in the Champions League game at the Bernabeu, against Real Madrid's Galacticos (and Beckham). Me and two mates were there, but we weren’t high up in the gods with the rest of the away fans.

Having arranged late in the day to get tickets we ended up with the Madrid supporters - they were decent tickets though, about ten rows back from the side of the pitch. We sat with red and white scarves on and the home fans were great with us, indulging in some good-natured chat and banter. It made us feel so comfortable that when Henry scored his goal, after an amazing surging run which saw him beat several defenders, we had no hesitation in going absolutely bonkers in celebration.

Thierry initially ran towards the away fans saluting them high up in the stand. However, as he ran back towards the halfway line he looked up and saw three Gooners celebrating amongst the home fans. Jumping around like loonies he could hardly miss us and he pointed and gave us a big fist pump above his head and a massive grin! A smile for the three guys wearing red amidst the sea of white. It was a great trip, a great game, a great goal, and remains my favourite TH14 moment.

Of course, if he scores the winner at The Emirates against Spurs in what might be his last game on February 26th then I suspect we will all have the same favourite Thierry moment!

(Editor’s note – That’s if the goal against Leeds hasn’t already taken this accolade)

Reader Comments (2)

I was there, too, though in the clouds. Great experience, and this article reminds me of a messy couple of days in the Spanish capital! Good read.

January 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter@mikeymike2711

thank you for the great post! I really enjoyed reading!
liked the old picture, thank you for sharing it with us
(my site: scrabble download)

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecky
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