Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Long live the king. Saying goodbye to Henry

Every time over the past decade, whenever someone asked me why I supported Arsenal, I always mumbled about good sportsmanship, Arsene Wenger and beautiful game-play. Eventually if you prodded a bit more, I would admit that yes, I started out as a Thierry Henry fan.

Thierry Henry isn't just a player for most Arsenal fans. Everyone else knows him as the demi-god who scored 228 goals during his time at Arsenal. But he is more than just his stats for us. He was our hope. He gave us our greatest highs and he broke our hearts (and he would later admit his own as well) when he left.

But he never left us. He just played for other clubs. But he always only belonged to us. We weren't just Arsenal. We are Arsenal that Thierry Henry once called his home. We are the Arsenal where Thierry Henry scored his unbelievable volley against Man Utd in 2000 cinching us the victory. We are the Arsenal, when in 2004, he ensured we never lost.

And even after he left the club, he stayed on as our mascot. As our good luck charm. Fans of other clubs could call us "Boring old Arsenal". They joke that our manager equates finishing top 4 in Premier League is same as winning as the trophy. They can poke fun of the fact, our trophy cabinet has been a bit empty in the past decade (it hasn't. We won the FA Cup and it matters!). But they can never ever take Thierry Henry away from us. They can never tell us that he only played for us because he was under contract and there was never really any love. They can never tell us that for him it was just a job the way it was for so many of our other players who left the club and joined our rivals.

Thierry Henry loved us. Loves us. He left his heart behind at Arsenal and kept coming back because he could never close his chapter on us. He came back in 2012 and scored an amazing comeback goal against Leeds and left us all in a puddle of tears. He stood next to his statue at Emirates and choked up as he heard the crowd chanting his name.

Passion. Dedication. Loyalty. Love. People don't equate football with these words anymore. But it exists. It matters. Thierry Henry is living proof of that.

Now we shall wait patiently until he comes back to the club he loves. Because this club is his home. And we will always be waiting for him.