Welcome to New York, Thierry!

Today’s post is only slightly Arsenal-related….

At 1:15pm today, Red Bull New York will hold a press conference unveiling their new signing, Thierry Henry. The transfer has been in the works since at least January and Henry is expected to make his debut on Thursday, July 22 at Red Bull Arena in the first match of the New York Football Challenge against Spurs. As a long-time season-ticket holder of my local club, RBNY, I can tell you that the excitement not just among fans but in the city as a whole is palpable.

Of course, there have been the inevitable comparisons to David Beckham and his transfer to the LA Galaxy. But I find the people making these to not have much of a clue about Thierry and his personality as a footballer. As Arsenal fans that watched him become the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and win trophy after trophy, we know that Henry is not the type of player to play for a payday. He’s far too innately competitive for that.

At the same time, despite a disappointing season at Barca in which his role and minutes were greatly diminished, Henry is only 32 years old. MLS defenses will not be able to deal with a relatively healthy Henry, especially when the league’s most dangerous striker, Juan Pablo Angel, is beside him.

Henry has spent his summer vacations in NYC for years now and absolutely loves the city. He is not ready to retire from football, and shouldn’t be. But, at the same time, he quite understandably has no desire to remain as a bit player at Barcelona or to join a mid-table team in England like West Ham despite their ridiculously high wage offers.

Here in NYC, Henry can continue to play in a place where he will be adored by supporters and, most importantly, play a big role in the club’s bid for their first-ever silverware. Meanwhile, Henry can play a big role in helping to  continue the growth of football and MLS in the United States and around the world in a substantive, non-Beckham like manner. Surely these challenges would prove more attractive to a 32-year old footballer who has already won everything there is to win than sitting on the bench in La Liga or aiming for a top 10 finish in the Premier League.

Red Bull New York, and its previous incarnation, the NY/NJ Metrostars, are the only original MLS team that has not won a trophy since the league began almost 15 years ago. The supporters here are long-suffering. Finally, after 13 years of false promises, Red Bull came in and gave the club the best stadium in the country, brought in Juan Pablo Angel, and, today, Thierry Henry arrives at the club. The club is also seeking a third designated player (a player who can be paid more than the league’s maximum salary) rumored to be either Rafa Marquez or Freddie Ljungberg.

The fact is that a great challenge awaits Thierry Henry. It is made a bit easier by the fact that RBNY have the fourth best points total in the league. But, it will be a challenge nonetheless. As an Arsenal supporter, I am happy that Thierry has found a way to give his career at this stage even more meaning, and, as a RBNY supporter, I am excited at the prospect of being able to watch an Arsenal legend on a weekly basis from my front-row season ticket.

24 Responses

  1. I never knew you lived in New York! I I’ve been in NYC for a year now (originally from London) and am a huuuge Arsenal fan! We need to meet up and have a few beers whilst watching the Arsenal!

    I’ve been to NYRD a couple of times – great new stadium! And cannot wait to see Thierry! woohoo!


    • Scott, check out the New York City Arsenal Supporters on Facebook. We had always watched matches at Nevada Smith’s but this year we will have “our own” pub on 14th Street where we will be watching every match starting with the Emirates Cup. Definitely get in touch with the group and they will gladly give you all the info you need to come join us in supporting the Arsenal in NYC.

      • Joined! Look forward to meeting you guys!


      • AS

        So what is the name of this pub on 14th in fact 14th and what?

        The other question is how does this work:

        (a player who can be paid more than the league’s maximum salary)

        Could this mean that some players aren’t allowed to earn the same a s others?

        • Blind Pig, on 14th St. between 2nd and 3rd. Watched the Spain-Germany match there after the NYC Arse group notified us of the move from Nevadas. The place is nice, really nice, with tons of screens and really decent bar food.

        • Since Azabaxe answered the bar question, I will answer the salary question. MLS teams have a salary cap which restricts the amount they can spend on wages for the entire team. However, designated player spots allow a team to bring in a player whose salary does not count against the salary cap. This enables teams to bring in bigger name players like Henry, Beckham, Angel, etc…. Those DP spots can be traded between teams, so if you are a club that doesn’t have the money to spend on a DP’s wages, you can trade that DP spot to another team for players.

          • Thanks guys, I will be your side of the pond for the Liverpool game….I can stop panicking now I know where I can watch the game.

            As for the salary cap, my guess is that it follows in a similar way to the NFL (something I know little about) do you think it works for the MLS?

  2. RBNY sorry… whoops…

  3. Can’t believe his signed…um still in the UK and envy the fact U guys av front row tickets to Henry every week,anyway jus to say RBNY has a brand new supporter in me…gon be following the MLS all eyes now.

  4. Absolute Legend! Welcome to the states Henry! I’ll be heading up to watch a match for sure!

  5. Well done and good luck to ‘The King’ and RBNY! P.S. And your national team rocked at the World Cup! Well done for that too!

  6. I live fifteen minutes from the Arena and all i know is that, as a gooner and RBNY supporter, I’m overjoyed. I hope all the gooners in NYC come out and welcome the Great Man properly.

    • I grew up in Kearny, which is the town over from where the new stadium is. I just recently moved back after being in NYC for almost 10 years. To have Henry playing for my local club, 10 minutes from my front door is incredible.

  7. As an LA based goner, I am extremely happy that he finally arrived on these shores but jealous that you guys got him!! I’m definitley heading out to watch the Legend play when NY comes to play the Galaxy.

  8. this is great news, but it suck for us living in the middle of no where in the states..the closest city with a MLS team is DC..I have to drive 7 hrs each way to see him play.

  9. Thierry is a legend with at least three more years of world class football in him. The New York Red Bulls have pulled off a major coup. So proud to see that the US Gooners are going to come out in force to see the man. OOOOH TO BE A GOONER

    • I wish more NYC Gooners would support our local club. We have a world-class stadium now easily accessible by any kind of transportation. It’s a fantastic ground with a team of players who don’t play for money but with an organization willing to put its vast resources behind the club to give them the tools to become winners.

  10. Seen him at the Arsenal pour tout his career, this man is a legend trust me he will give you everything he possibly can. Proper player Proper man.

    PS Going to make a point of coming to NY to watch Henry14

    • if you do, make sure you hook up with the NYC Arsenal Supporters group while you’re here.

  11. im really pumped about this! im not a red bulls fan, but i will be going to see them play next time im in nyc. welcome henry.

  12. lets get a group together for this one! i just bought 2 tickets in 201 for the match. spoke with a lady named jessica in the sales group, real nice and helpful. give her a call 201 583 1149. lets welcome thierry to NYC!

  13. Thierry Henry will be one of the beste players in the MLS. He is just so quick and will make the New Yorker Red Bulls a lot stronger and better. Great transfer.

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