5 Interesting Facts About Thierry Henry That You Probably Do Not Know
If a thousand people make a list of the greatest strikers in the history of the English Premier League, there is a great possibility that Thierry Henry will feature in them all.
Henry is not just one of the greatest ever strikers to grace the Premier League, he is amongst the best footballers too. His introduction to the Premier League in 1999 turned the fortunes of Arsenal around for good.
A football club, which won just a single league title in 8 seasons before him, won 2 in the first 4 seasons with him.
Some facts about Henry are well known. For example, almost everyone knows that he’s one of the great footballers who have statues built in their honor.
However, there are some other facts about Henry that most football fans don’t know. Below are some of the 5 interesting facts about Thierry Henry that you probably do not know.
1. Transfer to Arsenal Started with an Accidental Meeting With Arsene Wenger in an Airplane
Many people are aware that Henry was signed by Arsenal when Arsene Wenger was the manager but how many know how it started?
Henry signed for Juventus in January 1999 and was struggling to make a good impression at the club. Few months into his stay there, he met Arsene Wenger on a flight to Paris. It is alleged that Henry was the one who asked his former manager at Monaco to take him to Arsenal.
The same summer of 1999, Anelka left Arsenal for Real Madrid. Guess who Arsenal signed as his replacement? Of course Thierry Henry! The rest they say is history.
2. A footballer Once Sent A Letter to Henry After he was Nutmegged
In what is one of the most bizarre news to ever emerge in football, the former Leeds United player sent a letter to show his disdain at being nutmegged by Henry in a match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough.
Mills was in the position of the ball at the corner flag when Henry managed to dispossess him of the ball before nutmegging him. His reaction thereafter tells the full story. He stood in dismay looking at the linesman as if to say “is this allowed in football?”
When Henry got the letter, he just laughed it off.
3. Henry Idolizes Dutch Legend Marco Van Basten
Henry’s idol growing up was Marco Van Basten. This fact is supported by the player (Henry) and his father. Henry said of the Dutch legend:
“Marco Van Basten was my favorite player, he is one of the best strikers in history. I saw him when I was a child and how he hit the ball was incredible. I tried to imitate his every move.”
This claim was buttressed by his father Antoine who is reported to have said that ‘Henry learned precise shooting from watching his idol, Marco Van Basten.’
4. Henry Loves the Number 12 Jersey more than no 14
Most football fans identify Thierry Henry with the jersey number 14. Ideally, you expect that jersey number to be his favorite but it is not.
As earlier revealed, Henry idolized Dutch Legend Marco Van Basten owing to the player’s performance at Euro 88. It was Van Basten’s jersey number 12 that Henry would have taken during his first stint at Arsenal.
Unfortunately, Christopher Wreh had it at the time so Henry settled for number 14. In his second stint at the club, he took his favorite jersey, the jersey number 12.
Henry had this to say about Jersey number 14 and 12:
“Number 14 is not my number. I took the number 14 because Christopher Wreh had number 12, so I didn’t want to take it off him.”
“That’s why when I came back [I took] the number 12. That’s my number actually.”
5. Bizarre choice for favorite Arsenal goal of his career
Henry scored some of the best goals ever seen in the English Premier League and the world. Whether, it is the 30-yard volley against Manchester United in the year 2000, or his storming run and finish against Inter Milan (2003) and Real Madrid (2006). He was definitely spoilt for choice when he decided to choose his favorite Arsenal goal.
However, he chose the goal he scored in the first match of his second stint at Arsenal but there is a huge sentiment behind his choice. It has to do with the number 12 jersey!
He said: “I scored with 12 minutes to go on the clock (78th minute). That was my 12th goal, I’m wearing number 12 and we were just turning into 2012. So do you know what that means”?
“That one was personal, it was emotional. It wasn’t about technique or the score; it was what it meant to me.”
Some of the things we can learn from these facts about Henry are:
- Almost every legend looked up to someone during their childhood.
- Football is an “emotional” sport. There is more to football than 22 men kicking the ball around, catching fun. If it was not, there is no way Henry would have settled for a goal that may not rank in his top 100 goals. For him, it was about everything surrounding the goal and not the goal itself.
- Some of the best transfers in history did not involve intense planning. Henry’s case is one, Leo Messi’s case is another. It is reported that he signed his first Barcelona contract on a napkin. That does not sound like an intensely planned transfer, does it?
- Although a piece of magic on the pitch may excite fans, the player who is the “victim” of such skill is often left with a red face. However, football without magic would be like a musical without music!
Do you know any more strange facts about Thierry Henry?
by Stephen Oyelabi