Sunday 24th June 2007

So, after several weeks of speculation, he has finally gone to Spain. I would be lying if I said I was not gutted. I am extremely so. However, in a way I am glad he has gone. Over on the regular blogs I read, ArseBlog, East Lower and The Cannon. They have been doing an excellent job covering the rumour of the move, up to the breaking of the news confirmed late on Friday evening. While somewhat biased as Arsenal fans, they give a balanced view in terms of the great Frenchman’s depature. He was easily the greatest player to ever play for Arsenal and in the modern era, his goal scoring record will perhaps stand the test of time and remain a true testament to his achievements at the North London club. However, no one is bigger than the club and I find some of his phrases in his open letter to The Sun quite disrespectful. The whole business of David Dein being a big blow and the uncertainty of Arsene Wenger’s future is a smoke screen. He wanted to go to Barcelona for a new challenge, after our challenge for honours crashed and burned in early Spring. I wish he could be honest and just say this to the fans that adored him and to a certain extent worshipped him. £16 million is good business in the end and no one can deny that he is no longer at the peak of his powers. Last season proved that, with him spending far too much time on the sidelines. There is also the fact, that even though we have built him up as Superman, it would be painful to watch his slow decline over the coming few years. Having said that, I feel honoured to have been able to see him play at Ashburton Grove, particularly when you consider last summer, we had the same story being speculated by the tabloids. I recall the press conference very well, Dein made the comment, “Thierry has something to say to you all…” with a big grin on his face. His last ever contract apparently! I suppose I was stupid to believe that a footballer would honour his loyalty to the club. Funny how things have changed in less than twelve months. I make no excuse that the team has a whole under performed last season and the squad needs some serious surgery (even before the TH14 departure) and I have every faith that Arsene will make those shrude buys and produce more talent. I think many people have forgotten that it was the Frenchman who brought Henry in from the wilderness of Juventus, Italy and converted him from a winger to a deadly striker! There is little to be said that has not been said already. No one player is bigger than the club and we must learn to move on. The Thierry Henry chapter, as wonderful and glorious as it has been for the past eight years is now well and truly over. We must look to our future and the season ahead. I take great comfort from one aspect of what history has shown us. No ex-Arsenal player has ever really achieved much having left the club. Look at Overmars and Petit who went the same way. The plus point is the great youth system and the young kids coming through the ranks. We just need to bolster the squad with some experienced heads and then take it from there. The final word goes to Daniel, the Master & Apprentice head their separate ways.

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