Former Arsenal youngster, Jay-Emmanuel ‘JET’ Thomas scored a splendid goal for Livingston at the weekend and said afterwards he was thinking of Thierry Henry’s ‘legendary’ goal against Manchester United as he did.
Now, of course, people will point out that Hamilton Academical are not Manchester United, nor is Emmanuel-Thomas as far out as Henry was, but the finish is still pretty special:
After the game, Emmanuel-Thomas said, “Thierry was one of my idols, especially being at Arsenal with him and seeing him in training every day.
“But you never think you’re going to have the chance to replicate a goal as legendary as the one he scored against United. It just seemed to sit up perfectly for me to execute.
“I was thinking about it as the ball was on its way to me — it was at the right speed, the defender was on the right side of me, so I was thinking that if I could shift the ball up with the first touch … I know I was much closer than [Henry] was, but if I caught it right the keeper would have no chance. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was perfect.
“I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time around Henry, to talk to him a lot and learn from him. He was a great mentor, such a great person to speak to. He was a great person to study close up.”
Emmanuel-Thomas has five goals and three assists in 23 appearances this season.
Arsene Wenger was not the voice at Arsenal
Speaking in January, Former Arsenal youngster, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, compared his current manager at Livingston FC with Arsene Wenger, revealing who did all the shouting when it was needed.
Now 30, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas came through Arsenal’s ranks as a youngster, making six appearances for the first team under Arsene Wenger totalling 162 minutes.
Remembered mostly for his hulking size, the JET has been something of a journeyman since he left Arsenal permanently in 2011 when he joined Ipswich for £1.13m.
To be fair, he was that even when he was at Arsenal, spending time on loan with Blackpool, Doncaster and Cardiff. Since his departure he has played for Ipswich, Bristol City, QPR, MK Dons, Gillingham, PTT Rayong and now Livingston where he scored against Celtic during the week to claim a point and ensure his side’s unbeaten run hit 10 games.
“Davie is a lot more vocal, a lot more hands on,” Emmanuel-Thomas told the Herald. “Arsene was more a mind person. He would speak with you personally, in close contact and no-one else could hear what he was saying.
“If Davie spoke to us from his office, we’d hear him on the pitch. But it can be different. Arsene Wenger was not the voice at Arsenal, Pat Rice was the voice. Each person has their voice.
“Foxy (Livingston assistant Liam Fox) has come in and he seems to be the more hands-on, speak-to person and Davie is the voice. So it’s a good balance which helps the boys.
“It’d be great for Davie to lift a trophy. He seems to enjoy it here and the boys are certainly performing for him. So, I can’t see anything changing anytime soon.”
Emmanuel-Thomas added: “I have great confidence in the team right now. I had it when I first signed because I could see from the players we had that there was something there. At the moment, it’s looking very strong and teams are struggling to play against us.
“We are creating lots of chances. We didn’t create many against Celtic on Wednesday as they are a very good side, but we still scored twice which shows that there is something there that other teams might [not] be able to deal with.”
Livingston were just about to play St Mirren in the Scottish League Cup play-offs when the JET gave this interview and Emmanuel-Thomas, who played in cup finals before was keen for to repeat the experience.
“I played in an FA Youth Cup final at Arsenal and we won that,” he continued. “I played in a play-off semi-final home and away when I went to Cardiff. We drew the first game and lost the second.
“When I moved to Bristol, we won the league and also the JPT (Johnstone Paints Trophy). We played at Wembley in the final.
“Wembley was being done up at the time and it was really fancy. There was a lot going on inside that stadium. Even to the size of the dressing room. There were like three dressing rooms in one room. I was like: ‘What is all this space for?’
“Then we went out and won it and that’s what the experience is all about. If you go to Wembley and lose, it doesn’t feel as though you’ve been there.
“When you win and the fans are there and you walk up the steps to collect the trophy, it’s a great feeling and, hopefully, after a win on Sunday, we can get to the final and have that feeling.
“Sunday is a great occasion. Obviously, before I came here, I didn’t know a lot about the whole cup situation and going to Hampden, but I’ve now come to terms with what it means for the club and what a great occasion it would be again to reach the final. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
Livingston won the semi-final, beating St. Mirren 1-0 but they unfortunately lost the final to St. Johnstone by the same scoreline.