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Remembering Arsene: The Return of Henry

This week our writers will be looking back on their favorite Arsene memories.

What’s your favourite Wenger moment is a tough question for me to answer.

Was it the moments he would spar with the media? Or how about with Mourinho? Was it the FA Cups or the Invicibles season? Was it the honest and the heartbreak of the Champions League Final or was it the way he handled young players (and even showcasing some of his football skills).

Great options, but this was an easy one for me – it was the return of Henry to Arsenal.

I remember Henry then playing for New York. I went to watch him a few times and while the skill was there, he was looking a step slow. And then the news came, Henry was training with us and I remember being excited all over again, just because he was back home. It showed class on Wenger’s part, something all of us could agree, that Wenger always oozed.

Well, fast-forward to that FA Cup game against Leeds, and I’ll never forget where I was. I was in our bedroom watching the game unfold and then Wenger asks for Henry to come off the bench, and then well, this happened:

Pure. Class.

As Wenger said that night, “He’s a legend here and to come back and score, it is like a resurrection. The vibes on the night were absolutely amazing.”

The emotion I felt on that night could be expressed simply as pure exuberance. I felt closure for Wenger. I felt happiness for Wenger. I felt proud to be an Arsenal supporter. I simply felt happy.

And listen to Wenger’s analysis of that goal:

“When was in [his] position to score, I thought: ‘Oh, that’s your angle but it’s a bit too close.’ That’s where he surprised me. He didn’t force the shot and still made it look easy. I thought he was a bit too far to the left ot pull it off but he always had that special finishing. That was Thierry Henry finishing.”

Listen, not every club will bring back their legends, let alone experience a fairy-tale ending. Henry was vacationing before that in Mexico, never thinking about Arsenal, and I mean, just read Wenger’s justification in bringing back Henry:

“The thinking … was that at the time I felt we were a bit short offensively. Therry trained with us and I saw that he was still top class, which we all knew, but also that his motivation was intact. From then, for me it was an obvious decision.” He also had this to say at the time: “It looks like the best transfer market is to get your old players back.” A typical Wenger response.

I’ll never forget this image:

It’s never obvious to sign a 34 year old striker Arsene, but thank you for your courage. Thank you for creating memories that I’ll never forget.

And lastly, as 34 year old, thank you for reminding me that fairy tales do exist, and providing me the perspective that I’m not too old to still chase my dreams.



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