“Hand of God II, you heard it here first, Alex”
At just before 2pm yesterday, I got that text above from my French friend, Alex and knew immediately what was coming: the religious fanatics would start burning Thierry Henry in effigy.
So, I woke up this morning to the BBC and of course, they are talking about how Henry handled the ball, and whether they should use the word “cheat” due to possible lawsuits. And of course, they are talking about all this in that sort of reserved way that the Beeb usually covers world sport, but I knew, if they were covering this issue at all, then the internets is probably frothing at the mouth. I mean, the BBC actually wondered if Thierry Henry could keep his Gillette endorsement, what would the internet be calling for?
Before I go any further, I have a secret: I read Arsenal News Review. Wait, wait, hear me out… I read him not because I like his work but because everyone I know hates Myles Palmer so you know, I am curious. So, I’ve been subscribed to his RSS for a couple of weeks and all the articles have been like, “meh” and his style is like “eh, whatever” so I didn’t get what the big deal was about this guy. Until I read this about Thierry Henry today:
What a scumbag ! What a pitiful, cheating scumbag ! Thierry Henry, you are the scum of Paris, the scum of world sport, the scum of the earth.
I suppose Arsene Wenger will be making excuses for Henry tomorrow, defending his golden boy, as always
He had three posts today and they are all hysterical: I mean, literally, hysterical, mad-dog, foaming at the mouth crazy.
One of his posts calls for Gillette to end their sponsorship with Henry and I immediately thought of the last time I remember a sports star losing his sponsors: when Kobe Bryant allegedly raped that girl in Colorado. And while I understand that we’re all up in arms over Thierry’s “outrageous” handball I hardly think that one handball merits the same punishment to Henry and his family as a rape.
So, now I guess I get what the deal is with Arsenal News Review and why so many people I know hate Myles Palmer. I mean, how can any Arsenal fan ever call Arsenal legend Thierry Henry “scum of the earth.”
Scum of the earth, for a single hand ball?
He’s going to have to do something a whole lot worse than a hand ball to wipe out the memory of him taking the ball 90 yards, weaving through the entire Tottenham defense, scoring and then running back to celebrate in front of their fans. And he’ll have to do something a lot worse than a handball to wipe out the memory of his meandering goal against Real Madrid. That’s just two goals out of 226 goals which make Thierry Henry more of a legend than someone like Myles Palmer will ever be.
The only thing this whole incident reiterates for me is that we’ve got to instill video replay. I’ve been calling for it all year and will continue calling for instant replay. As long as the Monday morning quarterbacks get to review these plays to death, and sanctimoniously call for Henry to be banned and have his sponsors dropped, why shouldn’t the referee be given a second shot at getting the call right?
Moreover, yesterday’s hand ball is a perfect example of how managerial challenges would work. The goal has been scored, play is stopped as Henry and France are celebrating, and Ireland feel strongly that there was a hand ball. The Irish manager would simply walk over to the 4th official and use one of his challenges. The head referee would then go over to the television, watch the replay, see Henry’s handball, give him a red card, and the goal wouldn’t stand. Ireland goes into the World Cup, France goes home in disgrace, and we don’t have to endure months of the British press wetting their pants over the incident.
My version of video replay is a pretty simple concept: both managers get 2 challenges, one per half, that they can only use when the ball is dead. If you want to make it more complicated, the 4th official could review every goal and flag for an official review if he sees something suspicious — like Didier Drogba throwing down a Man U player, while offside — and the match official would then take 30 seconds to get the call right. There’s no stoppage in play, no change in the flow of the game, nothing, just getting the call right.
In light of this latest “outrage” who could be against getting the call right?
Maybe I’ll get to talk about something Arsenal related tomorrow, you know, ahead of the match that Arsenal are playing on Saturday?