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July 2021

A statue came to life

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By Walter Broeckx

Well we had an Fa cup game at the Emirates that wouldn’t stay in our collective memory for the rest of our lives.

We played Leeds who turned out to be a very stubborn opponent. But this was what we expected them to be. So the game went on in the first half with well nothing but chances for Arsenal. Arshavin was very lively but his shots kept missing the target. Ramsey worked his socks off but he also couldn’t find enough space to put the ball in the Leeds goal. Always a defender in the way, always a leg or an arm or a head. Or well a misplaced last ball.

And a linesman that seemed to try to keep us from scoring when he saw the ball over the line when it wasn’t even close of being over and then calling back Oxlade Chamberlain for what seemed to be nothing.

The most important thing in the first half was the fact that from now it is certain that there is some kind of voodoo spell on the full backs at Arsenal. Any players that comes near to this position will get injured it seems. Coquelin who had a great game in the first 25 minutes suddenly went down after he made a run forward and had to leave the field. I have lost count but I will try to count the full backs we have used so far this season that are unavailable for the moment.

At right back we had so far playing: Sagna, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Coquelin, Djourou and now came on Yennaris.  This is the 6th right back this season!!!  At left back we had Miquel today. And he only came there because we had used so far this season: Gibbs, Traore, Santos, Vermaelen. Am I missing someone? If not this means we have used 11 players so far just for 2 positions. Who on earth has jinxed us?  We are used to some problems with injuries but come on this is even for Arsenal unseen and unheard.

But I thought Miquel and Yennaris did a great job today. Miquel played very assured and was strong in the challenges and he looks a promising player. Yennaris was a bit nervous at first and it showed a bit but the further the game went on he became more relaxed. And he had a few great interceptions, made a few strong blocks. Not bad at all for a 6th choice right back.

In the second half Oxlade Chamberlain stepped up his game. And well he was unlucky not to score today. He deserved it and he was very lively and looked very promising. Some great runs and some good shots but the keeper didn’t want to make Oxlade Chamberlain man of the match.

The game went on and on and we couldn’t get the ball in the goal despite enough chances to do so. And then came  an old bald guy that we hadn’t seen for a while. He used to kick a few balls in his younger days. Maybe some of you older guys will remember him.  Some say that he used to score a few goals in those days. Some fans are sometimes even seen with his old shirt from that long forgotten period.  Some say that he even has a statue somewhere in North London.  Some say that he is the top scorer of all times for Arsenal. Some say that he is a living legend. Some say that his name is Thierry Henry.

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So this living legend came on the field.  And when a few minutes later Song played an inch perfect pass to this living legend I wonder how many people knew from the moment he got the ball what he would do with it. I think some 50.000 in the stadium hoped he would turn the ball around the keeper in the far corner. Some 10.000 Leeds fans feared he would turn the ball around the keeper in the far corner.  I think even the keeper knew what he was going to do.

Some million Gooners worldwide raised from the ground, their sofa, chair, or whatever they were sitting on in expectation that he would score. And that is just exactly what he did. Nobody could have written a better script. Thierry Henry coming on the field at 0-0 and then he to score the only goal in the game. And a goal that was and still is apparently so typical Thierry Henry that it just felt even better.  Come on Tony admit it that you wrote the script for this evening.

The comeback of the king, with a typical Thierry Henry goal to give victory over a hard defending Leeds.  A more than deserved win at the end and a great way to let the world know that you are back with the club you really do belong, Thierry.

You guys who can say for ever that they was there when TH came back and won us the game can well say it forever. But for us at home we felt as if we were there too. And thanks to the wonders of technique we could see just how much it meant to him. To see the joy after he scored was great. To see him running to Arsène Wenger and embracing him was great.

But the best thing was at the final whistle. Thierry said he had cried 2 times in his football career. Once when he left, once with the unveiling of the statue. And I wonder if he cried for a third time at the final whistle tonight? If not he was very close to it.

When a statue came to life could be the title of a horror movie or a Stephen King book about impossible things happening. But today I have seen a statue coming to life. I was not there, but I will never forget it!

46 comments to A statue came to life

  • GoonerOz

    The King has returned!

  • meaner


  • Such a cool finish, classic Henry. Perfect player to bring on when chasing a win. Wish we could keep him.
    Hope Cesc is looking at this, planning his return.

  • AP2Belair

    hope Nasri saw it and wud love to come back home.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I hope Cesc and Na$ri will see it and realize what could have been if they would have given their best years to Arsenal. You will never get the love TH feels guys. You could have but now it is too late.

  • DaVinci

    History can never be written on one page. A legend wrote history today with one goal. Hail King Henry!!

  • Jacob

    I’d just like to point out that when Oxlade Chamberlain was called for a non-foul in the first half in their box and subsequently squared the ball, Chamakh hit it over the empty net from 2 yards.
    Thierry Henry meanwhile got 1 good pass in 10 minutes and scored. We need Thierry on a permanent deal, give him a 2 year contract and get rid of Chamakh. I don’t hate Chamakh but I don’t think he’s good enough even though he does work hard in some games.
    As for the goal, I love Henry and it is one of my favourite goals of all time, there was honestly a tear in my eye. Unforgettable

  • FinnGooner

    I’m lost how to type anymore or what to say. Walter this was GREAT Article (as usual).
    I was lucky to see match on TV a customer at work mentioned that it was shown on certain channel in Finland but since there was time that I didn’t have access to it (it’s chanell you have to pay for) I wasn’t sure if I could watch it. But I had that channel again and got to see it on TV instead of some internet stream.
    Now my problem is that it’s 1 am but i’m way too excited to go to sleep. Maybe I should go outside and throw snowball or two to calm down.

  • FinnGooner

    I agree I know Na$ri saw it but I hope cesc saw it too. Just so he knows what he gave up. and NO I don’t want EITHER of them back. Arsenal does not need players who they can not trust.

  • Rog b

    Finnfooner..I thought you were lost to type? thats 2 posts already,take your negative nasri/cesc blah b;ah to le grove or somethomg like…..tonight was the homecoming of a king…Thierry Henry,what a living LEGEND

  • Ahsan

    Sheer ecstacy and still am so emotional tonight. Never have I seen such a show of real passion and sincere emotion from a player in my life. Love you Thierry and love you Mr Wenger for giving us fans such a beautiful moment to cherish forever. Love the arsenal, hate the haters, keep the faith all Gooners worldwide. We have the best frenchman in the world doing what he does best at where he belongs- right here at HOME.

  • Cescsational

    No one does it better than HENRY himself,not even messi. All hail the KING

  • beaveraldinho

    We now have the best super sub in the league imo. From now on when we are in a tight spot we will have the pleasure of watching TH and VP together for half an hour a game. This is the start of something great. Bring on the next match!

  • Byron

    Was very emotional to see Henry play again loved the goal brought back some great memories….
    Re the amount of right backs; squillaci also played at right back at fulham I think

  • Adam

    Thought Ramsey & Song where outstanding. And how about that little Yennaris got on with his duties quietly and effectively I thought.

  • DC

    Just arrived back home with my little boy from the match and what a wonderful night! One of the most exhilarating and emotional evenings at the ems to-date! An incredible buzz and anticipation around the grove, beginning with the pre-match jaunt from the tube station all the way until the jaunt back, that will live in the memory banks for ever! The King is back home! Such a class act! A TRUE GOONER through and through that has achieved absolutely EVERYTHING in football; and praise the Lord that he’ll be able to highlight to all that are there now, and have left prematurely, what it REALLY MEANS to be considered a “LEGEND”!
    My love for the game of football, even with all of the darkness that currently exists in its corrupt and inept administration, has been reignited; and King Thierry, i thank you for starting it all again!

  • DC

    Long Live Lord Wenger!
    Long live King Thierry!
    Wonderful stuff and i don’t think my son will get to sleep too!

  • Mahdain

    tonight was just epic and no matter what haters say they can never ruin it..the magic of henry scoring in his homecoming match will live with us gooners forever… Class,a King and a Legend welcome back Thierry..

  • Fall River Gooner

    @dc, I hope your son some day (if he doesn’t already) comprehends & appreciate what occurred today. Tell him for me, Oh To Be A Gooner

  • sadman

    Nothing taken from the Henry, but where was Park? Wenger needs to strengthen the team before we lose everything. Tonight was a wonderful experience and also a nightmare performance, which is so bloody typical of this team. It was an act of desperation to bring Henry back, but it doesn’t resolve the lingering problems we will face in the morning….

  • FunGunner

    Great article Walter. And agree with your and Finngooner’s comments – we saw a real legend today. That’s real love on both sides.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Not sure, but did Sagna ever switch to LB, perhaps temporarily during a match, this season?

  • Adam

    @ Walter, As Thierry Henry walked past Arsenals trophy cabinet saking his head, I heard him say “Just as I left it, better do something about that”.

  • dy

    two more moths to write a few more chapters in the fairy tale of King Henri.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Woke up at 3.45 am to watch the game and see the return of the King .He followed the script and did the needful .Another wonderful memory for us all to cherish .
    I hope that during his short stay he inspires the younger players to aspire to greater heights and put us on the path to some trophy reward come end of the season .
    Long live King Henry !

  • A Malaysia Gooner.

    It was like he never leave. From the moment he controlled that pass from Song to the trademark curler into the far corner, it was 2004 all over again.

  • i watched pele play bobby moore in mexico, 1970 when i was a boy. the pinnacle of football was on show on both sides. i saw thierry play for arsenal for several years. i had never thought i’d see the summer of 1970 again. again.

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    I remember seeing Samir Nasri in the stands and he must have understood what it must be to be a part of a lovable team and he must have really understood what he is really missing.

  • Lanre

    ‘Within 12minutes, thierry henry scored his 12th goal against leeds in 12 appearances, wearing jersey number 12 in 2012’ (ole gunner)
    What a legend! Welcome back Titi.
    @Walter, Sagna sure played as left back during a game. Not forgeting Coq played there too

  • Dave

    Great win today! Henry slotted it home with ease. Not sure I liked how he was yelling at everyone who didn’t pass it to him after the goal. Did anyone else notice that?

  • RedGooner

    Dave the only instance I saw of that was when Ramsey blazed over and he might have had a point Ramseys shot was blocked by 2 defenders even if he kept it down where as TH would have had the same shot again as the one he scored.
    To be honest TH has lost his legs but all the skill and talent is still there. Its a clear indication of how poor chamak is when someone at 34 still knows how to get in good positions and take the chances they get.

    Was delighted for wenger as much as henry a very emotional moment and I hope we can keep him atleast for the spurs game.

  • Chowdhury

    I could watch that goal everyday for the rest of my life and still be moved.

  • FOBA

    @WALTER, Superb and excellent write up. Couldnt stop reading it. I wish it goes on and on.
    @LANRE, good stat from U. It makes it all the more sensational.
    Nasri was there! What a shame not to have the opportunity to play with a legend and to be involved in such mood. Fab4 wil come back one day.
    Indeed a statue came back alive tonight

  • Asif

    It truly was great…Need to see more of Ox! Ramsey and Song can shame anyone with their work rate and Yennaris just kept it simple. Good performance team…

  • Asif

    No emotion for Nasri though…has appeared for City in 17 games (with quite a few from the bench) this season so far scoring 3 compared to 15 goals in 46 matches for us last season. A bad decision making on his part to quit a club where he was loved and respected…moreover he was still establishing himself as a great player…move to City has been overall detrimental to him and he also knows that he is more suited to the Arsenal style of play. Looks completely out of sorts…anyone watching the Manchested Derby can vouch for that!

  • DC

    @Fall River Gooner, he certainly is a real chip off the old Gooner Block! He just can’t wait to see the King again for more of his own young and wonderful memories to be made!

  • Laundryender

    An alternative perspective

    I too was there

    the day we realised just what poor fayre we have been served of late, and the day we realised just how far back we have fallen.

    Great moment, Henry is a class act, his passion and desire shamed some of those who have tried his boots on, only to find they did not fit.

  • How did Nasri ever get into our stadium? Traitor, that one.

  • Lanre

    Watch this space. VP will sign a new contract. Especially seeing our a legend is treated n loved. Nasri? Well, he will surely carry d regret all his life of making d wrong decision. Sitting there and seeing what a hero he could become. Money ȋ̊ڪ indeed d root of all evil

  • KARIBUNI Thierry,i wonder wot the whore-lists will write!!Jeremy from the daily telegraph was telling the Prof why for heavens shake could he go for TiTi as he was abit aged and he forgot the African story which says older brooms sweep better(that’s why most Africa presidents are in their 80’s are are still going strong so they say). I waited to hear what he will say about scholes 38 plus but he said nothing. In fact i was betting him 500 pounds for King TITI to score more than 5 goals in his 2month loan but he never responded. Lets keep the fire burning as the squad is in good moods.

  • Yommex

    What a wonderful night it was, not only for Gooners but also lovers of football worldwide. A moment to cherish and savour for a long time to come except that we cannot but hope he’ll do it a few more times before he leaves at the end of his loan deal. What a legend!
    I hope this actually would ignite something inside the young players we now got at the club as they witnessed live what they have read and heard about Thierry Henry. Maybe we could get something started this season from his presence. If Arsenal could just win a trophy then it would be the beginning of something great to come.

  • Sammy The Sanke

    The King Is Back!
    I said, The King Is Back.

  • Pat

    Great article Walter. Reading it just made the whole wonderful experience even better.

  • Gooner Gal

    Good article. Terry Henly (or what ever that fella’s name is) rightly deserves the headlines, but the supporting cast should also be given a round of applause. I am so glad for the win and all the players should be given credit for staying focussed and delivering. The game plan was tested when le coq went off (I can’t believe we have now lost another player to injury) but Yennaris stepped up again and has done himself proud by grabbing his opportunity given and didn’t look out of his depth.

    Chamakh held the ball up well and I am really hoping that a player learns to read his game better because as I have said before, a player like Afobe would benefit from the layoff ball. If we are going to play him up front, we have to play to his strengths.

    Nasri the day before did his ‘where’s wally impression’ during the Man C Vs Man U game and then turns up at Arsenal. I have no idea why he was there and I hope it doesn’t become a regular incident as he is not welcome. He is utterly shameless. He slates the club, stadium and fans upon exit and has the cheek to turn up at the match yesterday.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Johnny Deigh, yes Sagna switched to left back durng the Udinese game when Gibbs went off. He seemed just as comfortable there if I remember.

  • Ed

    lots of people seem to be slagging off Chamahk and i can see why if he doesnt score alot – but then he doesnt get as many chances now RVP is fit.

    But why not try him as an attacking midfielder? sort of like the tim cahill role? from what i have seen of Chamahk play this season, hes decent on the ball and holds it up well, doesnt actuallly lose it much and has a good accurate short passing game. its just a shame he doesnt get into the right positions enough for a centre forward. he is also strong in the air which doesnt suit our game much.

    but as an attacking midfielder, he would have less pressure to score, (which i think is adding to his difficulties), and i think will give him more space – he doesnt have the nous of RVP to make himself space in the box, but as a late arrival, he could get more chances.

    with his aerial presence, he will also be able to win some balls in midfield from long goal kicks. then we can give arteta or ramsey a bit of a breather…