Decent article from the Guardian. I must say I concluded that Thierry Henry is a cock after the Barca game last May but his behaviour at the weekend confirmed this. Goading the Wigan 'keeper. How embarrassing. It would have been like one of our players doing similar to the San Marino 'keeper. Stupid fooking clown.
Baby Henry ???
February 12, 2007 01:28 PM
Thierry Henry has it all. He is charming, urbane, intelligent, good-looking
and obscenely talented. To many, he is the nicest man in football. So why
has his behaviour become so infantile?
Henry is football’s disingenuous genius. His conduct yesterday, when he
goaded Chris Kirkland after Arsenal’s equaliser against Wigan, a reaction
to Kirkland’s timewasting, was reprehensible in the extreme. As well as
being embarrassingly undignified - this was Wigan at home, not the
Champions League final, for heaven’s sake - it was also the second time
Henry has pulled this stunt in recent weeks, having done something similar
to Manchester United’s Gary Neville. There are some things you just do not
do on a football field, things that shatter the sense of fellowship,
however slender, that should always permeate a sporting contest: spitting,
going over the top - and goading someone who has just conceded a goal. It
is one of football’s unspoken laws: schadenfreude is not for sharing.
Goalscorers often say that, in the 10-second window after scoring, they do
not know where they are; that they lose it completely. The same applies to
those who concede. If scoring a goal is comparable to sex, then how can we
qualify conceding a goal? Like coitus interruptus? Like seeing your loved
one in an intimate pose with another? What is irrefutable is that, with the
exception of serious injury, it is the worst, most numbing sensation that
can be experienced on a football field and as such the sufferers should be
afforded some respect. That 10-second window is a no-go zone, a line you do
not cross. Henry’s antics were the football equivalent of trying to start a
fight at a funeral.
The unacceptable nature of Henry’s behaviour is confirmed by the paucity of
precedents. John Aldridge scrubbed Brian Laws’s hair after the latter had
scored an own goal in the replayed FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and
Nottingham Forest in 1989; a year earlier Nigel Winterburn screamed
deliriously in the face of Brian McClair after McClair lashed a last-minute
penalty over the bar at Highbury. That was the catalyst for an antipathy
between Arsenal and Manchester United that peaked at Old Trafford 15 years
later when Martin Keown decided to inform Ruud van Nistelrooy that he had
just missed a last-minute penalty, just in case he hadn’t realised.
It is frequently said that, because Henry is one of the world’s best
players, he does not need to resort to such juvenile behaviour. That is
irrelevant: it would be equally repugnant coming from Robbie Savage or Joey
Barton. But everybody seems surprised by Henry’s no-more-Mr-Nice-Guy
attitude. In reality, these antics are nothing new; Henry has always been a
politician off the field and a law unto himself on it. In 2001 he had to be
physically restrained from having a pop at the referee Graham Poll after a
defeat to Newcastle. Last May he made a complete fool of himself during and
after the Champions League final, missing the sort of one-on-one he usually
puts away in his sleep and then blaming the referee for Arsenal’s defeat
during a farcically irrational rant. And he is prone to rail against diving
one minute and feel his legs turn to jelly the next.
Even allowing for that, the incidents are becoming alarmingly commonplace.
This season he has been an intoxicating concoction of brilliance and
petulance. After the World Cup, one French team-mate referred witheringly
to Henry’s “enormous melon”. He then went out of his way to try to
undermine Arsne Wenger after being left out of the match against Spurs in
December, before appearing on the touchline to celebrate Emmanuel
Adebayor’s opening goal in a gesture so excruciatingly self-serving, so
transparently phony, that even a teenager would have baulked at it. Since
then we have had the incidents with Neville and Kirkland. As the likes of
Roger Federer, Andrew Flintoff and Tiger Woods have shown, greatness in
sport is defined by so much more than performance.
Perhaps all this is a manifestation of Henry’s frustration at his decision
to reject Barcelona in May, the angst of a man who erroneously chose to
stay in an increasingly loveless marriage and now has no way out. Perhaps
he is the rich man’s Matt Le Tissier, a big fish who does not have the
bottle or inclination to jump into a bigger pond, and resents his weakness.
Perhaps he is just getting old and grumpy.
Perhaps it’s just the way he has to be. The clich goes that, if you took
the fire from Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney’s belly, they would not be the
same player. The same arguably applies to Henry’s arrogance. But that does
not mean we should excuse it. Henry has spent years trying to change the
perception that he is a big-game bottler. Yesterday, he nailed the one
about him being the nicest guy in football once and for all.