Date: 24th June 2007 at 1:22pm
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Thierry Henry’s been one of the greatest players ever to wear an Arsenal shirt. What did he mean to us?

Don’t be afraid: it’s not a piece about how Arsenal will replace Henry or how the move to Barcelona will work out for the striker. You can read dozens of articles on that matter so no need for me to repeat.

However, I’m sure that every United fan has an opinion of Henry. I would say that there are three categories in that relation.

First, there are those who simply loath him. For his permanent frown, his oversized ego and the way he celebrates his goals which could make you hit him. He’s not the most likeable figure in modern football, that’s sure.

Then there are those who deeply respect him for his considerable talent. His pace, skill and eye for goal stands up well to any comparison and I know a lot of United fans who hated Keown, despised Wiltord, are disgusted of Ljungberg but admire Henry profoundly and sincerely.

And of course there’s the third category who loath him but reluctantly admit that he’s in fact pretty good. Most United fans fall into this bracket I think so shall they miss him?

Well, I’m a little bit sad. Our rivalry with Arsenal in the ’90s and 2000s featured some prominent figures and I daresay it gave us a lot of emotions, satisfaction and agony in equal measure.

It was intense, it was FUN. And now Roy Keane’s gone, Ruud’s gone, Vieira’s gone and even Henry has left. To be honest, I don’t like to have Chelsea as rivals. They are too boringly monotonous for me to be able to properly hate them. It’s weary, it does not have such an emotional scale to it.

I must admit that I loved to hate Vieira, Henry and co. This feeling was part of me for a long period of my life so in a strange way I also miss them, I also feel a loss, like the Gunners inevitably do. Not many of their fans will say they miss Roy Keane but weren’t they looking forward to his clashes with Vieira?

The question is, is English football poorer without such an intense hatred between the top two teams? I think it is, and you can call me pathetic for that. Henry’s been an important part of this period so yes, I WILL miss him.

And of course we should never forget that despite scoring some good goals against us at Highbury and a winner at Emirates, he always managed to magically disappear at Old Trafford. During his eight seasons at Arsenal, he scored one goal at United’s home – and that came on a day when we crushed them 6-1!