Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fait Accompli: Thierry Est Alle A Barcelone

It is official. Arsenal Football Club have sold Thierry Henry to FC Barcelona for 16 million pounds, and he has signed a four year contract with the Catalan giants.

2006 Champions League semifinal away to Villarreal, a Barca fan
ran on the pitch and did this. Today that fan must be on cloud 10.

A million thoughts that I will try to organize and write down soon.

In the meantime, amidst a whole bunch of crazy reaction is a wonderfully reasoned analysis by Arseblogger.

Also, Henry gave a final official interview to the club which is typically frank, and he explains to the fans his reasons for leaving. The selling of Vieira was the first initial blow, but the whole David Dein saga was the nail in the coffin {it would take me a long ass time to explain this, I'll try to summarize or find a good overview link soon}.

Personally, I'm not nearly as gutted as when PV4 left, but I am sad. This is a massive, massive loss for AFC, losing the greatest goalscorer in the 100+ year history of the club, an incredible showman and unique player that could do things few if any before him have ever done.

PV4 and TH14: Arsenal legends through good times...

...and bad times.

This is also truly the end of Arsenal 2.0, the 2nd iteration of Arsenal that Wenger built: Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Pires, Wiltord, Ash Cole, Sol Campbell, and Lauren. I suppose technically Toure, Gilberto and Lehmann remain, but for all intents and purposes Arsenal 2.0 is dead. Never in my life have I watched more consistently beautiful football than that played by Arsenal Football Club between 2000-2005; it was truly a joy to watch them every time they took the field, and they will be forever loved, appreciated, and missed.

Arsenal 2.0 est mort. Viva Arsenal 2.0!

Bergkamp, Henry, Vieira: with Pires & Ljungberg, the heart
and soul of Arsenal 2.0

I have every faith that Wenger will ultimately succeed with Arsenal 3.o, and I am certain that he will see out the remaining year on his contract as a matter of personal honor, because he always does and has talked about that many times.

As horrible as it was to lose my hero PV4, and now Henry, the day that Arsene Wenger leaves Arsenal Football Club will be the darkest day of all- he simply cannot be replaced. Here's hoping that he will sign a new contract next summer and stay at the club for a while, perhaps even taking Arsenal up on the coach for life status that they have offered him.

When Henry's career is over, as an Arsenal fan, I sure cannot complain and will greatly appreciate that he was an Arsenal player from age 22 to age 30, spent the best part of his career in an Arsenal shirt, and went from a 'failure' to the greatest striker on the planet.

I will also look back and be so happy that in addition to seeing just about every single one of his matches and 226 goals for Arsenal, I got to see him live and in person at Highbury on two different occasions, against Fulham on my birthday in 2003 and last March against Charlton in the 8th to last match ever played at Highbury.

Titi getting ready to start the party against Charlton,
March 2006, taken from the East Lower by Kanu

Bon journee Titi, and best of luck in your future endeavors. You are the greatest player in Premiership history, and I am not bitter and hoping that you fail in Spain- I hope that you kick ass at Barcelona and score shitloads of goals for them. You are an Arsenal legend, and it was an absolute joy to watch you do your thing for 8 years at Highbury and watch you develop into the greatest player in the world. You will be missed and forever appreciated.

No, Thierry: Thank You.

More later...

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