by Nia Griffiths
Thierry Henry was in fine form when he appeared at the Arsenal 2015/16 Puma kit launch at the Emirates on Monday night and revealed his thoughts on the fans, the new kit and his statue.
A huge part of the new Arsenal kit campaign is about the fans. Everything about the launch included the fans and highlighted how important they are to the club. It was therefore no surprise that the first question the ex-Arsenal forward was asked was about the fan’s support throughout the years.
When asked about his memories of being amongst the fans in his playing days, he admitted, “I’m going to have to go all the way back when some of the old guard that was here when I arrived, teaching what it was to wear that amazing shirt and if I wasn’t listening they were kicking me in training to make sure that I was listening!” He added light-heartedly, “I won’t go into details but as you can imagine with the likes Martin Keown and Tony [Adams] it wasn’t always going to be easy in training but that was their way to letting me know what it was to be playing for Arsenal and I took it on board and as you knew I tried to do what I did here and I left the club as a fan.”
When asked whether the fans play a huge part for footballers, Henry said, “Yes they do – especially with me. I think I had a special bond with the fans because they knew exactly where I was in the game. They knew when I was upset; they knew when I on track; they knew when I was about to do something or not. They were always real with me and sometimes asking me to deliver and I couldn’t all the time but I always tried my best for them and for the club.”
It was only a matter of time before the King was asked about his statue, although his initial reaction to having it built was a little surprising.
“Yes it is [my favourite photo],” the Sky Sports pundit said. “I mean first and foremost I have to say something about the statue because I said at the time that, I actually embraced it obviously, but I thought it was a bit too much because if I didn’t have great players around me to reach what I reached at Arsenal it wouldn’t have been possible. So I just thought that the team should have been there especially from the Invincibles side but that’s only me anyway.
Then after that obviously it’s a goal against Tottenham, you know? It’s always going to be special and the goal itself wasn’t bad. To be fair I was dead after the whole game I didn’t touch the ball just because of the celebration but it stayed in history and that’s what happened for the statue.”
Henry went on to speak about another huge goal in his career – the goal against Leeds in the league cup when he came back on loan in January 2012.
“Before the night against Leeds, every time when people asked me about goals I used to talk about the Man United one or obviously the Spurs one or [Real] Madrid away in the Champion’s League or Liverpool at home but when that night happened against Leeds that all went away because that was the first time I scored a goal as a fan at club level,” the Frenchman revealed.
“I know it was only the first round of the cup and we were playing Leeds and it wasn’t a big game maybe but the emotion that went through my body that night was just too much to take. I actually stayed in the dressing room until two in the morning I just didn’t want to go home!
He added, “Like a fan I guess if you ask any fan what you would like to do obviously they’d say play for the club and score a goal so I managed to do it and I was pretty happy about it.”
Finally, the Arsenal legend had his say on the new kit.
“[The Arsenal home kit] is a favourite kit throughout the years. It’s kind of difficult to change the Arsenal home kit. It’s always going to be red and white, I guess. You’re not going to change that. They’ve triggered some little stuff around the shirt but it obviously still looks like Arsenal – don’t worry guys.
“I had some shirts that I like from the past. I like the burgundy one because the last year at Highbury and obviously it was a special because it’s a special place for me. I don’t know why I also like the gold kit we never lost a game in it so that was a special one for me.”