TH14-The end of an era
September 30, 2000 -- A 23 year old shy, introvert, yet a classy tall figure stuns a few Manchester United defenders by collecting the ball at the edge of the box, flicking it up and swerving it over fellow Le Bleus mate Fabien Barthez for a goal considered by many as one of the greatest strikes ever in EPL history. A star is born in the name of one Thierry Henry. Though THE MAN’s career started as a left winger; at Arsenal football club, Wenger moulded him into a Striker. Unstoppable runs, stunning swerving strikes, unthinkable short passes, enticing footballing maneuvers along with a shrewd mind of splitting long passes and slick back heels characterized Titi’s brand of football. He could do everything from corners to free-kicks to penalties to assists to intelligent tackles! Be it his strike against Aston Villa, where with the pass, he flicks the ball over two defenders to turn and put a screamer past the goalkeeper, be it a long distant stunner against Manchester United, where the ball swerves both ways before entering the net, be it his unbeleivable run from the defence of his own half to the goal of Leeds United to finish with a swerving left leg, be it his run past the Liverpool midfield followed by the defence and scoring past Dudek in trademark fashion sending the Highbury crowds to raptures, be it his out-swinging right foot in the Champions League opening match, 2005, be it his unstoppable run from the left flank and cutting inside for the oh-so-famous right curling foot, be it his immaculate ball-control from a long and high cross to his left leg which drives the ball pass the goalkeeper's helpless right hand, or be it his back heel strike against Norwich, Thierry Henry's goals had a 'lazy elegance' in it. The Man looked to be strolling in the pitch most of the times, yet when he had the ball in his feet, he became The King with a 'pleasant' arrogance that was completely disliked by the opposing defenders! Thierry's game of football was always a brand which never treaded the path of complications. He made thing look easy for himself as well as for his team. A brilliant captain, in the sense that he could very well lead from the front and change the course of any match on a given day with his utter brilliance and a sudden 'piece' of magic! The celebrations of The Man where he slides down the corner flag or where he 'flies' down the 'pitch' thumping his chest with 'black' gloves 'on', or where he simply stands and smells or rather feels the Highbury crowd going berserk and chanting The Lord's name (Read King Henry) are scenes that would remain in the minds of all Gunners throughout their life. Ian Wright, Cliff Bastin, Dennis Bergkamp, the records of all these Arsenal legends have been buried deep by THE MAN! The MAN was premeirship's top scorer for four consecutive years from 2002 to 2006, such was his dominance of english football. In short, in these 8 years for Arsenal, he did it all. He came, he saw and he conquered, in style.
The entire passage written above mostly in past tense makes people wonder whether its the end of a career?!? The truth is, it might not be the end of a career, but it certainly will be the end of an era, an era of breathtaking football which guaranteed EPL viewers non-stop entertainment weekend after weekend. The 'transfer' of The King to Spain, is not only a loss to Arsenal, but a loss to English football or maybe (as i hate to say this) a loss to the game of football,itself. TH14 won't be seen anymore running with panache and poise on the greens of North London.
I, for once looked skyward and 'threw' a silent prayer on the Friday the last, 'Let the news be untrue' (with tear-drops all over my face), but HE(The Almighty) and HE(Our Man), both had other plans for me and for all 'unhappy' Gunners!! The greatest that ever was, the greatest that is, the greatest that ever will be, Thierry 'The King' Henry, The Legend 'LIVES ON'!