Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Tuesday June 26 2007
Over at Vital Arsenal we've become accustomed to reading great articles from our members, but what follows has to go down as an all-time great.
I'll say no more, here's 'Berkampsboot...
It's an emotional time for all of us, but - seeing such opposing opinions on the Henry move - I think we should bring a little balance to it all, remind us that we're all Arsenal at heart.
Thierry Henry is going and we have to get used to the fact. However.....
- I don't believe he wanted to leave Arsenal. I think that when he made his comments, he genuinely meant them.
- Somebody at Arsenal, most likely Wenger, wanted to sell him. (the only thing I'm uncertain about is the reason we let one of the worlds best players go for such a low - in footballing terms - price. Maybe somebody knows something we don't....) When all the hype started, I didn't believe for a second that TH would leave Arsenal of his own accord. He has stated in the past that his choices were based on more than money (ie where your heart lies/where you feel most comfortable) Given his salary and worth, he is in a position to be able to make choices like that.
- I don't believe that the shirt thumping/badge kissing were fake. I think this is a part of who he is, that he acts as he feels (which explains the lackluster/mediocre - by his standards - performances. It was simply the way he felt.) Remember being dumped out of 2 major competitions back to back by Chelsea & Man Utd. (as though we could forget!) TH on the bench with a petulant face. We didn't lose just because of our football, we lost because the personal arguments between Wenger + TH affected our game, choices were made because of personal differences and not for the good of the club. Both forgot the Arsenal ethic of Victoria Concordia Crescit - NO-ONE is bigger than Arsenal - they should have sorted it out and acted accordingly. Wenger is a genius and, unlike alot of managers, makes few mistakes. I consider this to be one of his worst. TH is one of those players that need to be 'handled' (we are all human with our own different personalities/weaknesses and strengths) - the responsibility is as much Wengers, as our manager, as it is TH's
Look at his manner in the game we played against spuds the day after Rocky died (you remember the Alan Sugar interview in the press?) He was fired up, determined and passionate - you could see it in his face, in his style of play - he was all over the place. He also scored that day (along with our number 7 at the time...) I knew that day that he had Arsenal in his heart and would be an asset to us.....if only I knew how much.
- Personally, I feel that TH still had something to prove to us (one of the reasons why I didn't think he would CHOOSE to leave) - a strange sentiment considering what he has achieved here, but I think given the choice, he would have opted to stay and become a full-on Arsenal legend (Adams, Dennis). I saw him at our last game at Highbury - that was not a person who is not connected to our great club.
- There is nothing wrong with TH trying to take the most honorable (given the circumstances) way out, nor us allowing him to. It's a part of being Arsenal. He has done so much for us and we are not reknowned for bitterness. Yes, it hurts that we wont see him wearing the famous red & white, or that we haven't had the chance to say goodbye properly. We may have been emotionally played and manipulated by the media (you KNOW they lie! - if it pisses you off that much, DON'T BUY THEM), we may feel betrayed or let down, but that is no reason for focussing on all the negatives (we are ARSENAL, not spuds/leeds/anyone else that loves moaning)
It IS the end of an era, but also the beginning of a wonderful new one.....
(If we're talking of era's, there's something that bought tears to my eyes far more than TH's departure (and I am sad he's gone) - I had a look tonight at the Highbury development - I dare all of you to look at the 'build in progress' and video gallery promo video and not get emotional!)
- A message for all you spuds/chelski/man utd fans... even if the s**t did hit the fan for us, we would still be the most loved team in the country (not many of you have waiting lists like ours!). For every corporate at Ashburton Grove there are thousands of us out here who would back our team no matter what. Before the boom, 30+ of my family were at Highbury regularly - with the ticket situation, we now have only one representative (a season ticket holder for 30 odd years) that goes to every game. WE ARE STILL OUT HERE!! And would be back without hesitation if our club needed us...........
We won't fall apart because one player leaves, no matter how much others would like us to. Arsenal F.C. is destined for bigger and better things........WATCH THIS SPACE!
Back to the important stuff....I think that we should be focussing on the future of our club - there are other issues that we should be concerned about. Wengers future, Deins return, the implications of the Kroenke takeover.
Our board seem determined to stop an immediate take-over bid - they have steered us well so far, so I have no hesitation in supporting them if they feel this is best for our club. At the last supporters forum meeting, questions were put to Mr. Edelman about our future.
SF: A lot of Arsenal fans are worried and unsure about the future of Arsenal FC following recent events — can the Club give an update on the current situation?
KE: In our current situation, we are not sure that Kroenke can bring anything extra to the Club — he can’t increase our gate receipts, for example but we have a duty to listen to what he may have to say..
SF: How far can Arsenal’s current Board just say no to any potential take-over bid?
KE: The coverage in the sports sections of newspapers has been inaccurate. In terms of City Regulations, any individual can make a bid without holding any shares. Once someone gets to 30% ownership, they have to make a bid. He currently owns 12.2% and the Board, who own 45.4% have entered into an agreement not to sell any of their shares for at least 12 months..
Despite the profit they could make from selling, our board seem determined not to cash in on what must be a huge amount of money. They must have their reasons, and I think we should support their decision.
We are still English owned and, I believe, THE 'Establishment' club in the country and in this respect, more protected from foreign take-over than any other club. We have 3 directors that are members of the aristocracy - Directors Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham & Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith - and have military connections that go back to our formation. If I remember rightly, it was recently on the front page of a national newspaper that the Queen supports Arsenal. Given what else is happening in the world and should be front page news, what else is that if it's not a statement that even our royalty are behind Arsenal.
I think the Kroenke situation is an integral part of Deins decision to 'leave', we should be careful about ultimatums given to us by ANYONE insisting on his return (remember, NO-ONE is bigger than Arsenal)
We have got to where we are today by doing what we believe is right. (remember Denis Hill-Woods decision NOT to put up fences at Highbury because 'it would spoil things for the fans' - that cost us in revenue by not being able to host European games. A wise decision in the light of the Hillsborough disaster) It shouldn't change now just because large wads of cash are being waved in front of us.
We should do the honorable thing - say goodbye without malice to one of the greatest players that has ever worn an Arsenal shirt, get behind our team and start to look forward to what the future holds for the greatest club in the world...
Article submitted by 'Bergkampsboot'
Date:Tuesday June 26 2007
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