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Why Thierry Henry Must Go Now

By John Nicholson

It’s a given in football that you don’t sell your best player. To sell your best player usually indicates that the club is going down the toilet, is desperate for cash or the player concerned has been caught with some swollen part of his anatomy in the managers daughters ‘downstairs bits’.

Selling your best player sounds like madness, I know. But madness, along with encouraging me to run through the streets with my underwear on my head shouting “pixies are chasing me” has never stopped me from thinking anything, which is why Arsenal should sell Thierry Henry. Now.

When I say something as radical as this, a team of paramedics usually turns up at my gaff and injects me with a strong sedative, but before they arrive, hear me out. It all makes sense. Honest.

After Arsenal’s superb battling performance at Stamford Bridge without a lot of first team players and in particular without Henry it showed me clearly what I’d been thinking all season.

Arsenal have played better this season without TH having won at Old Trafford and coming within a few minutes of beating Chelsea.

His presence inhibits other younger players, especially Adebayor and van Persie who have to play a subservient role to his lordship and are clearly in his considerable shadow. When he’s not there they both play like they’ve had the shackles removed.

Arsenal’s highly skilled but over-fussy game has been created by and to accommodate TH. When he doesn’t play they are more direct and aggressive and more effective. They also seem to have much more bottle. His prissy, poutyness rubs off on the rest of the team and they seem to feel sorry for themselves too often.

He’s a bad choice of captain. Only given the position to get him to sign a new contract, it was the worse thing Wenger could have done. He doesn’t handle pressure well, is known to go missing in big games throughout his whole career, and being captain has just fed his ego. All these things are to the detriment of Arsenal.

They’d get a load of money if they sell him to Barcelona now, and given the club is strapped for cash after building the new stadium, that money could massively strengthen the whole of the first team which would give them a much better chance of winning the Premiership next season.

He thinks he’s bigger than the club and has been indulged to believe that. His comments about the club matching his ambitions show how he thinks of himself. Everything about Arsenal has to be about him. He’s recently said he’ll be at Arsenal for the rest of his career — well that’s just so arrogant — what if the club don’t want you any longer Terry eh? It’s not your choice to make to stay at the club.

It is never a good thing to have any player who thinks he’s bigger than the club. Henry is a prima donna and sets a bad example.

He also advertised Renault cars, which are rubbish. I am shallow enough to hold that against him.

He’s past his best at 30 years old in August 2007. Strikers wear out quicker than anyone else and fast players are always injury prone as they age. His best days are behind him. By keeping him Arsenal are just hanging on to his past glories. It’s over, forget him and as Stevie ‘guitar’ Miller once recommended (no not that thing about being a Space Cowboy) take the money and run.

John Nicholson is the author of the exceedingly good “Footy Rocks” book (available now from his web site), and a veteran columnist for Football365. Nicholson resides in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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  1. Anonymous

    December 21, 2006 at 2:22 am

    If you mean “Arsenal plays better with TH” then do you mean, they get luckier without him, or even the opposition gets unlucky.

    The score sheet may be telling that Arsenal drew against the blues, and also could have won! But, had it not been for Chelsea’s bad luck, the score sheet would have been something like 3-1 or 4-1 against Arsenal. Would you have still described Arsenal’s performance as good performance without TH?

    If TH would have been there, Arsenal could have scored 1 more goal to win the encounter

  2. Anonymous

    December 15, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    this season he’s had a sciatic nerve problem, which is excruciating and would put anybody in a bad mood. when they get it cleared up, he’ll be fine.
    the sad thing is sciatic nerve issues tend to be cronich and hard to treat, so I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end.

  3. Anonymous

    December 13, 2006 at 11:20 pm

    I agree with whomever said the article was nonsense…guy had a few column inches to fill and filled it with absolute drivel.

    What we (Arsenal) lack more than anything right now is leadership. Henry is the consummate competitor who inspires and leads by example. When he’s in the mood he can can completely alter the face of the game. And he likes of Vieira, Bergkamp, Pires left a huge void; what the team need is big game experience. Without Gallas in the back four or Henry up front Toure is the elder statesman, at what, 25?

    [It should be noted that as a practical matter Henry Barca aren’t in the market and no longer have the 30M, especially b/c he is cup tied. Not likely there are any other clubs who could spring that kind of cash in Jan.]

  4. Deise Gooner

    December 13, 2006 at 7:47 am

    Absolute and utter cack. Form is temporary – Class is permanent. I wont say any more than that cause it doesn’t deserve it.

  5. Anonymous

    December 13, 2006 at 2:15 am

    John…I think the stuff has addled your brain a little bit.

    We are not talking about a team’s “best player.” We are talking about the best player in England in the Premiership era. He is a once in a lifetime talent, and those don’t grow on trees. You can’t go out and buy one of him, or make a deal for equivalent value.

    I highly doubt that a cup-tied Henry would bring enough money in January, and if he has a good enough spring to market him why sell him?

    I dispute your analysis of his effect on the team’s play. Rather than stifiling Adebayor or Van Persie, I think he opens up the pitch for them. Do you honestly mean to tell me that either of them is a valid replacement for Henry?

    Van Persie is immature, inconsistent and better served as a winger, though he has an occasional moment of brilliance.

    Adebayor is a fine technical player with great buildup, UNTIL he gets to the box. Despite his foreplay acumen, when he is about to score he prematurely soils himself like a 13 year old with his first porno.

  6. Anonymous

    December 12, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    I can see were you are coming from, in terms of the money arsenal can make and how he affects the team. however arsenal would be nowhere with out his goals and if they were to sell him for say £30 million who would they buy who can consistently score 20-30 goals a season in the EPL.

  7. Anonymous

    December 12, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    interesting read if considered satire. i dont think anyone in their right mind would agree with selling an injured henry. we all know its more likely he returns and scores goals and wins the golden boot again…rather than continues to cause problems and disrupts the team. he thinks hes bigger than the club??? sounds like what was coming out of old trafford a few years back.
    maybe itd be a good move if they did it last summer…they would have gotten the best possible deal. now, theyd never get value, and they would get plenty of goals if they kept him.

  8. Matt Little

    December 12, 2006 at 11:28 am

    I couldn’t agree less! What a load of jealous crappy writing! Whatever team you support you would want Thierry Henry in your team. There is no first team in the world who wouldn’t want him. For arsenal to sell him would be a complete suicide attempt from arsenal’s point of view. Thierry said he’d spend the rest of his career there not for arrogance for the pleasing of his self and his clubs fans.

  9. Simon Burke

    December 12, 2006 at 10:26 am

    This is garbage from a journalist who purports garbage. THis is the same tool who used to find it boring when Arsenal outplayed teams into oblivion during the 49 game streak, he was hoping it would end as it was dull. He is clearly just spewing rubbish to fill up his ‘journalistic’ requirements. I agree Henry shouldnt be captain, thats fine, selling a player for being so arrogant that he wishes to end his career at a club is laughable. Henry can play better no question and he will – hopefully this journo can write better articles too.

  10. jm

    December 12, 2006 at 10:11 am

    “He’s recently said he’ll be at Arsenal for the rest of his career — well that’s just so arrogant — what if the club don’t want you any longer Terry eh? It’s not your choice to make to stay at the club.”

    Oh come now. That’s exactly the sort of stuff fans want to hear. Holding that against him is overly harsh. He’s expressing his desire to play for Arsenal for the rest of his career, and given his deal with the team that isn’t an unreasonable thing to say.

    All in all, you’ve given a gooner like myself no reason to believe anything you wrote in this article. It relies on a sample size of two matches, and a some vague claims about him overshadowing his teammates. That isn’t compelling, especially when I can easily counter that his lack of veteran leadership was why we had trouble applying consistent pressure against Chelsea, and why we lost to Bolton. Which of us right? Without any real evidence, there is no way to tell.

  11. riocharlie

    December 12, 2006 at 6:20 am

    If its the Henry we’ve seen so far this year , Id agree sell him in January. But if its the Henry of 1999-2005 Arsenal must keep him. If they keep him, Adsebayor and V Persie need to overcome whatever psychological issues they have.

    Without being with the club day in and day out I thinks its near impossible to judge the impact Henry has as captain and what his personality does to the others. From afar, I can see your points, but I also see the respect and admiration the boys have for him as well.

    With a squad of young players its to be expected the play lacks the conistsency we all desire from them. To me thats all the more reason you need to keep Henry and do what is required to get him back to his lofty level of performance.

    There is still alot to play for this year inspite of the position in the league right now, and the nest 5-6 weeks will be very important.

    For me, more important than selling Henry is to pave the way for Walcott and Baptista to have more of an influence.

    Like the article though.

  12. Anonymous

    December 12, 2006 at 1:36 am

    yes, what a great idea, sell the striker who consistently scores more goals than anyone, who took us to the cl final, just because he has had a bad start to the season.
    or, lets see how he does after he comes back from injury and starts playing like we know he can.
    henry has every right to say he will stay til the end of his career seeing that he has signed a 4 year contract, and will probably finish up after that.
    if he wants to see out his contract he has every right to.
    this article is rubbish

  13. Anonymous

    December 11, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    Wow-I couldn’t agree more with the article! Very well reasoned. Henry does think that he is bigger than the club and despite his contributions to Arsenal over the last several years, it will be good for him and the club if he moves on.

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