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Monday, 9 January 2012

The King is Back - An Inspirational Story

If there ever were a script in football that you could say was from a Hollywood movie then this surely has to be up there as one of the greatest of all time. Thierry Henry, Arsenal's leading scorer of all time and arguably the greatest ever player for the club, re-signing with the Gunners at the age of 34 years old, then scoring the winner in the FA Cup in front of 60,000 at the Emirates Stadium. Its a dreamland, its a fairy tale, it is just well and truly a great moment and one that will be remembered for a long long time. It is what dreams are made of and one reason why we love the sport so much.

Signed by Arsene Wenger for a 2 month loan deal to act as cover for Robin Van Persie and to provide the Dutch superstar with a bit of relief. In reality the thinking was to try and give the rest of the Arsenal strike force a proverbial kick up the backside. Having someone like Henry around a club can only be positive, whether talking to young players, helping out other strikers or just having his presence will go a long way for the team. Who would of thought he would return to former glories and set the Emirates alight with some old magic that many believed he would never get back.

What a glorious finish it was and just pure and simply, Henryesq. The classically perfect first touch and then the traditional opened up body and slotting the ball into the far corner with his right boot. It's a thing of beauty in the game and one perfected by such an inspirational player in the game. How Arsenal have missed him, and how the whole premier League have missed such an inspiring individual both on and off the field.

Many will believe it is all a bit over dramatic, as at the end of the day it was a home game in the FA Cup 3rd round against a struggling Championship side like Leeds United, one which Arsenal should of cruised through. But we should embrace just a truly magical moment in the game, that makes us all stand up and believe in the beautiful game.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Suarez and Liverpool shoot themselves in the foot

The race row finally came to an abrupt end as so many people in football were extremely pleased about. The outcome I'm sure would have disappointed so many in the game that these issues still arise between players and in the football environment in general. However, some will see the outcome and an 8 game ban as good justice for the use of racist language. Others will see the ban as harsh and I am certain that plenty more will see the ban as too lenient. Whatever your view, it is essential that if issues arise that the people involved are dealt with severely.

That age old saying "innocent until proven guilty" certainly should be the case in all matters. The problem is that Liverpool took an incredible risk when they brought out the t shirts for the players to wear in support of Suarez, a risk that if found guilty could backfire immensely....which as we know is precisely what happened.

It is understandable for an employer to stand by an employee when facing outside disciplinary problems, but the level of this support should be very minimal. The reason being is that it accentuates the risk of the employer's name being brought into the incident with the employee if a guilty verdict is found. And this is exactly what happened in the Suarez case. Now Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, the squad and the club as a whole have fallen into the racism row in a negative way. They did not need to publicly speak out, they did not need to wear the needless t-shirts either. This in my opinion was making a mockery out of the whole affair. We are talking about Racism, something that should not be in today's society in anyway, shape or form. It is something that has caused huge issues worldwide and is not wanted in our game. Liverpool should have just said it is out of our hands now and that they would deal with the matter when the verdict is read out.

Liverpool will be regretting the mistakes I'm sure made when the guilty verdict was read out. What amazed me the most about it all was Suarez coming out and explaining what he said and how it has no connotations back in his homeland of Uruguay. He plead not guilty, though by speaking out and admitting using the word "negro" he has just shot himself in the foot and brought his club down with it. These are his employers who should have been educating him on all issues in his new society if he needed it (which he clearly does). All in all, both Suarez and Liverpool have come out of this extremely badly and both have a lot of work to do in order to rebuild the relationships with the footballing world.