Every Thursday we here at 7amkickoff bring you photos of Gooners by Gooners. Sometimes this article will be pictures of you and your friends traveling to see Arsenal play Barcelona, sometimes it will be Highbury memories, and sometimes it will be a group of you watching the match in a pub in Shanghai. The point is to share the experience of being a Gooner with other Gooners.
Today we have a special treat.
The Vice President Arsenal America and head of the NYC Arsenal Supporters club (follow them on Twitter and Facebook) , Kurtis Powers, along with Josh Templeton and Brett Chase organized an extraordinary meeting between NY Arsenal Supporters and Arsenal club legend Thierry Henry. Kurtis’ idea was simple: gather together some Arsenal supporters and welcome Thierry Henry back to New York after his successful loan in London. Of course if doing that meant he might get a few more people out to see Henry play in the Red Bulls new arena every other weekend, then all the better. After all, as he puts it “the legend plays in our backyard.”
The event took place on March 25th which was the Red Bulls’ home opener against Colorado Rapids. The day started at the NY Arsenal supporters’ home pub, The Blind Pig, where folks got rosy cheeked before they made their way to the stadium. Once there they were treated to a game in which the aforementioned legend scored a brace to help lift his team to a 4-1 win. And then, after the crowds cleared, and Titi had a chance to get changed, those Arsenal fans were treated to two hours of Henry’s time.
That’s what makes Arsenal so special. Modern athletes often can’t make time to sign one autograph, much less spend two hours with fans, after a game, answering questions and signing shirts. The love that the players feel for the supporters of this club is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in all my time following sports. But also there’s the fact that Kurtis, Josh, Brett and photographers Yoko Haraoka and Donna Guerreros, put in countless hours of their time in order to treat 700 Arsenal fans to one of the most memorable moments of their lives.
That’s what it means to be a supporter of The Arsenal.
Getting cozy at the Blind Pig before the match.
And before you know it, out into the street to make their way to the stadium.
Songs were sung. Many, many songs.
Even during the match!
In America we are allowed to drink and watch football matches at the same time.
Arsenal supporters come from all over the world, even London.
To cheer on their hero and see him score.
And after the game, they were happy to stay behind…
And Kurtis was lounging…
A moment of levity before the Legend shows up!
Fans get a sense that Henry might be making his way to them
And as soon as he appears the energy sweeps across the 700 gathered Arsenal fans.
Thierry Henry, Theirry Henry, Thierry Henry!
Never wash that hand again!
Or that arm, leg or any body part that touched him.
“Yes, I wish you would come every week.”
Henry’s trademark smile
“What do you think of Tottenham?”
Just look at that face! How could you love Pires more than Henry?
And then there is the ritual “handing over of the baby” and Thierry moves toward the crowd
where he is presented with the baby so that it may be anointed with his presence. Ego te baptizo in nomine Patrick, et Arsene, et Thierry Henry.
Oh Rocky Rocky! Rocky Rocky Rocky Rocky Rocastle!
Let the signing begin!
What a moment.
The whole family is there.
But all good things must come to an end.