Connect with us

Manchester United News

A few thoughts on Henry, ‘cheating’, the universe etc

This is a United blog. I’m quite aware of that. We are also in the midst of the international week which, thankfully, is coming to an end. [Almost feels like a birthday present] But sometimes, even events that transpire during a spell of supposed irrelevance, such as yesterday, can turn out to be pertinent and worth discussing in a shrine — such as this site — so engrossed in red-tinted worship.

So bear with me this once.

I had the pleasure of being at work, unable to partake in the drama that was the Ireland-France world cup playoff match. My sympathies are with the Irish, who are out thanks to, what could be mildly put, an unfortunate incident.

I did however pore through twitter, where I’m quite active. [Stop snickering at the back there! What?! You’re not on twitter? Well, you should. And when you do, you should do the right thing and follow me; byte-sized pearls of wisdom, and immortal quips, I can guarantee.] And amidst the streams of frustration, sadness and anger was another wave — a tidal wave of moral indignation. “Henry is a cheat!” “Thierry Henry has tainted everything because of that.” “Henry u r a fkin twat! @#$#)*,” said another quite eloquently.

But such hysteria is acceptable to a degree. It’s a part of the game; passions are heightened because of the occasion. There’s a lot of pain for most Irish, and fans of the Ireland team, and it’s quite natural for anyone to fall into that depressing chasm.

I also observed a fair number of journalists on twitter — English journalists mainly. You saw a similar thread of thought not too different from fans. Of course, they are, after all, like us — passionate football people; love some or loathe some. But the least you’d expect is for them to collect their emotions, lock it in a basket in some mental recess — keeping just an ounce of it — while gathering that thing called perspective and write a piece that doesn’t centre on the demonization of a footballer. Everyone, from Henry Winter in the Telegraph to some on the Mirror have gone for it.

The vocal majority conclusion, or so it seems, has been this: Thierry Henry, while auditioning for the French national volleyball team, has tainted everything that he achieved as a “footballing legend” forever consigning him to the ranks of footballing villains.

Of course, if I would briefly put on my red-tinted glasses, we as United fans would know fully well that Henry is far from one of our favourite players. I wasn’t particularly fond of him, for all his brilliance for Arsenal. And I think it’s not just because he was an Arsenal player. What shocked me about the widespread media reaction to his act of cheating wasn’t their general hysteria over it, but their conclusion that this incident particularly destroyed his reputation. What, then, of his blatant dive to earn a free kick against Spain in the last world cup? Was it because it was against the Iberians that it wasn’t tainted enough? Does it have to be against one of the teams on which the glare of the English speaking media are firmly trained to earn a despicable taint? This, of course, doesn’t include the wide litany of reasons United fans would give to explain why Henry was a twat, but let’s leave that aside for now.

It’s not right that Thierry Henry cheated. It’s terrible, in fact. Everything about those series of events feels awful even in highlight reels. The result is terribly unfair, and will doubtless spark off another series of debates on the need for technology [as the cynic in me would say only as far as the club season resumes in the weekend.] But, this self-righteous indignation — of demonizing anyone because they weren’t confirming to their moral framework, dismissing, in a fit of rage for sure, everything a player may have or have not done because of an incident is something they need to get out of. It’s deflecting blame from real issues. Ronaldo was vilified for a wink [while Rooney was overlooked for actually stamping on Carvalho’s crotch], Eduardo was treated like a terrorist for a dive but when his leg was broken in two by a horrific (potentially career ending) tackle by Martin Taylor — the tackler received more sympathy on the lines of “oh, he’s not that bad as a person.”

Diving is as bad as thuggery on the pitch. I would actually argue that where diving cons the referee, thuggish, cynical tackling could potentially end careers. Nonetheless, the moral compass will continue to scream whenever a player cheats, and invoke sympathy for thugs. There are the usual thoughts on Platini and Blatter, for instance, to have rules in place to stamp out both ugly sides of the game. But, as much as we would like to introduce video replays it’s hard to strike a balance, disrupting the pace of the game, in our bid to try to get every decision right. But, as much as Platini’s faced stick, his proposal of having referees near the goal would have spotted this particular incident. But that’s besides the point.

My point? Well, there wasn’t one particular point in this rambling piece. I think I tried to cover a few issues that have irked me several times in the past.

Meanwhile, discussions between Arsenal fans stoutly defending Henry as an Arsenal great to United fans will have moved the discussion towards who was the more honourable diver. “Hey, at least Henry admitted it was a handball,” said one. Indeed. Quite moving.

PS: For those of you scratching your heads going WTF, at this post, fret not. Regular service will resume — United related service, I mean. It’s a momentary lapse… of topic.



  1. Andrei

    20 November 2009 at 22:09

    @NicoQB: Epic music taste, have to say!

  2. Jay wire

    20 November 2009 at 22:16

    @Grognard: Can you please qualify your statement and prove that black music for the most part has been in the gutters? Some examples across the board would help

  3. Jay wire

    20 November 2009 at 22:20

    @NicoQB: Statistics have no home here on Red Rants. Trust me

  4. Red Ranter

    20 November 2009 at 22:26

    @Jay wire: Now you’re just being bitter.

  5. Red Ranter

    20 November 2009 at 22:27

    I think we can stop with the music discussion. There is a mini post up preview will be up later in the day. Move to that thread.

  6. NicoQB

    20 November 2009 at 22:45

    @Grognard: But I lovvve ABBA!!! 😀 😆 😉

    Unknown gems of theirs:

    My love, my life; Our last summer; and many many more.

  7. NicoQB

    20 November 2009 at 22:46

    @Jay wire: 😆 😆 😆

  8. NicoQB

    20 November 2009 at 23:06

    @Traverse: GAH!!! Where did that comment come from???

    Was awaiting moderation or what?
    Interesting indie, there will religiously check them out!

    Sorry RR for dragging the music discussion, but now the Travman might think no one’s replying him when in fact this comment of his never showed on my thread. Anyhow I think the music discussion gave us some well-needed diversion while we’re waiting for normal football to be back.

    One for the road:
    Animal Collective. The best thing that’s happened to music since ol’ Radiohead!

    (until traverse’s band put them in their place of course! 😉 )

  9. Footy4Eddy

    20 November 2009 at 23:10

    2012- Wild, just wild!!! 😯 Best editing to accomodate a movie Ive seen in my life! Shit was that immense!

  10. Jay wire

    20 November 2009 at 23:13

    @Red Ranter: @Red Ranter: No, you are misjudging. I’m just conceding.

  11. Jay wire

    20 November 2009 at 23:20

    @Red Ranter: Thanks for that….phew

  12. johnsom33

    21 November 2009 at 00:33

    here we go, let me try and illustrate my point.

    “I just think black music for the most part has enter the gutter the past twenty years.”

    what exactly is black music? are you referring to music played by black people? or were you just thinking of rap when you made that statement? If you were talking about music being played by black people then it makes less sense. Black people play all kinds of music from, Rock, Pop, Rap,Country,Jazz,R&B, Techno… I think you get my point.

    “Putting down a specific type of music does not make one a racist unless those who are accusing me of that, also think the music is a black derivative.”

    Yes I agree completely, but what does that have to do with what I said? You didnt even name a genre, you simply said “black music”. so right there you clearly made a racial statement. We only know your referring to rap when you say black music because your only examples are “Lil Fucking Wayne and Jay the fuckhead Z.”

    You then go on too say

    “I hate Vanilla Ice and Eminem as much as NWA or Snoop Dog. Last time I saw, they were still white boys trying to make it in a black genre.”

    Clearly from this quote you are establishing that Rap is a black genre. So your not just putting down a specific type of music.

    “Spare me with your indignation as I come from a background and a country where we take pride in our open mindedness and our inability to be racist.”

    Before I respond to this, I want to give you a chanced to retract this statement.

  13. Grognard

    21 November 2009 at 01:48

    @Jay wire: Someone’s itching for a fight. I’m not gonna bit on this one. Suffer with my silence. Just know this, black music has fallen mightily in the last 20 years from it’s lofty perch on the top. It’s days of great singers with soul and musicians and groups who commanded presence and respect to nothing more than a forum for gangsters and criminals to market their hatred and reverse racism. And if you can’t handle my attitude on the topic, I could give a rats ass. Learn to live with disappointment. 😀

  14. Grognard

    21 November 2009 at 01:50

    @NicoQB: I know, I know, my shame and humiliation is at an all time high. But I used to like them because my ex did and it always helped me get laid. 😀

  15. Grognard

    21 November 2009 at 01:53

    @johnsom33: My my we are just so defensive aren’t we. I;m not even going to bother. What is black music. Watch the Black Music Awards for a definition. It’s 99% rap and 1% Beyonce. Enough said.

  16. johnsom33

    21 November 2009 at 02:17

    @Grognard: Dont get mad at me, nobody made you write those absurd things. You talked yourself into a corner and you know it.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I couldnt care less if you hate Rap. The beauty of music is that there is something for everybody. The only reason I responded is because you werent just talking about music, you clearly made it a racial issue.

  17. johnsom33

    21 November 2009 at 02:25

    @Grognard: I also suggest you do a little research into the history of racism in your country. Judging from your previous comments, you might be suprised at what you find.

  18. donibrasco

    21 November 2009 at 07:09

  19. spizzy

    21 November 2009 at 09:40

    @Grognard: I’m just reading through your comments about rap, and truth be told you are just wrong. Really really wrong. Rap is fast of the voice of the depraved and if you want truth thats where you should look for it. I listen to pop and some rock but truth be told I’v never heard a rock or country song that ignites my passion for truth and justice. You need some schooling mate, Rap is fast off the only music that deeply embodies poetry in it. When you read about hiphop lyrics, it poetry at it best. Now i’m not talking about mainstream rap, the eminem, Akon or even that kid from linkin park who raps, no Im talking about underground hiphop, it’s not just music, its the truth and life being presented in a way that most can’t comprehend. Hiphop is filled with metaphors, that means an artist may say one thing but only those who fully understand the workings of the world will get it. It’s said fast and poetic, infact rap is the only kind of music that really has a message in it, all your so called cultured music is just bowel movement with some drum beats and a guitar accompanying it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *