Sometimes a single photo can tell an entire story. This is one of those times.
Happy St. Totteringham’s Day everyone!
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.
Good morning everyone. Full plate today as despite “nothing going on” ahead of the match against Manchester City there are plenty of stories about Arsenal to dive into.
First, we have Robin van Persie proving that great players don’t limit themselves to this notion that there are “positions that suit them.” (Red Level membership required to watch). This topic deserves better treatment than I’m going to give it today but basically Robin confirms Wenger’s approach to getting players to change positions and some of the trepidations that players have about switching positions. This is one of only a handful of interviews from players who played under Wenger and spoken openly about how he transformed them from one position to another¹ and as such hearing Robin talk about how he kept telling Arsene he didn’t think it would work and the boss just gently telling him to keep at it, that he was doing fine, and just enjoy his game is fascinating. Given all the debate about Arshavin’s “correct position” and Ramsey being “played wide” I’d love to devote some time to this topic. You can help by providing links to players who gave interviews that expressed either loved for the change or hated it.
Second, there was another great piece on Arsenal Player today, this time by Stuart Robson², on how both Arsenal and QPR got their defensive tactics wrong. Specifically, Stuart highlights Taarabt’s goal and how he felt the Arsenal defensive line could have gotten into a better position once they saw Vermaelen was going to try to win the ball. Robson rightly points out that once TV5 moves forward, the other two defenders (Gibbs and Koz) needed to actually drop back and cover in case he didn’t win the ball. Koz nearly got that right and almost got the block in that would have saved the goal but was a fraction late in sensing the danger.
Vermaelen has a tendency to try to jump the pass which is normally ok in defense as long as your teammates cover. This may be “basic” football but it takes time to develop the kind of understanding that saves that fraction of a second between Koz blocking the shot and just sliding in late.
Robson is right in pointing out and how on the other end QPR basically did the same thing which is how Arsenal scored their first goal. Here’s one thing about the defense that I have noticed of late: the number of offside traps that we have sprung. I wonder if there has been an uptick in offside traps at Arsenal and if we can show that numerically. I also wonder if the fact that I saw a metric assload of photos of Tony Adams at the training ground had anything to do with that? (Oops, I’m starting rumors again.)
Third, yes, I saw that Marouane Chamakh went for a smoke after the loss to QPR and I don’t care. I did get a chuckle out of him reportedly telling his agents to reject bids from other clubs. As if… Yeah, if PSG came along and offered twice the money Chamakh would reject the chance to go back to Paris because he is content sitting on the bench and smoking shisha on the weekends. My only question for you, the unwashed masses is whether or not you feel like Bendtner’s performances of late have merited a return to Arsenal over Chamakh? Unless you feel like he burned that bridge forever.
And finally, I am working on the web site and I have an artist lined up to do the work for the masthead. Not long now and I can start messing around with the format and whatnot. I promise you will love the new text, it’s going to be red background, white text, and 16 point Goudy Stout.
Ok so maybe not 16 point Goudy Stout. Maybe 14 point, but two new features that you will see are going to be a section of “deadline poems” on what’s happening in the League in the style of Calvin Trillin (though I’m not comparing myself at all) and a section for the 7amkickoff Flickr group.
For poems, I’m currently working on one called The Ballad of King Kenny and have ideas for works on Henry’s return and of course an epic poem on the Arsenal season 2011-2012. If you have ideas for pieces or parts of King Kenny’s return that you’d really like highlighted let me know below.
As for the Flickr group there’s still plenty of time to contribute your shots before publication on Thursday. Just please make sure that the photos are Arsenal related (they can be of games, the stadium, or the other supporters) and that they are original work.
Right, that’s it for today. See you tomorrow!
1. If you have links to other players and their thoughts on this, please include them in the comments.
2. Stuart Robson is infuriating as the color commentator on television but his analysis on Arsenal Player is very good. I just wish he didn’t step on his dick to show that despite his connection to the club he is “fair and balanced” in his on-air commentary. I mean, how many former Liverpool players are so overtly anti-Liverpool in their commentary?