Thierry Henry admits he 'couldn't relate' to Arsenal five years ago

Thierry Henry admits that he ‘couldn’t relate’ to Arsenal as they struggled at the end of Arsene Wenger’s tenure and under Unai Emery – and says only his obligation as a fan made him keep going to Emirates

  • Thierry Henry enjoyed eight full seasons in north London with the Gunners
  • Arsenal struggled at the end of Arsene Wenger’s time and under Unai Emery  
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Thierry Henry has admitted that it was difficult to watch Arsenal during the latter stages of Arsene Wenger’s tenure and under Unai Emery. 

The Premier League legend spent eight seasons in north London that yielded two league titles, three FA Cups and a host of individuals honours. Henry returned to the club on a short-term loan deal in 2012.  

Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer shed light on his relationship with the club and explained how his time at Highbury turned him into a fan once he left for Barcelona in 2007. 

That made the Gunners’ plight harder to stomach. Speaking on The Rest is Football podcast, Henry praised the current squad’s make-up and recalled the struggles of following the side as they toiled for several seasons. 

‘We are in a way better place than we were before,’ he said. ‘I actually see myself in the team now – as a fan I’m not talking as a player. I see a team fighting, making mistakes which can happen. 

Thierry Henry has admitted that watching Arsenal was difficult as the side struggled for years

Emery was sacked in 2019 after presiding over the club’s longest winless run (7) since 1992

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Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League for six successive seasons as the club struggled at the end of Arsene Wenger’s and then under Unai Emery and initially Mikel Arteta 

‘Five years ago I couldn’t relate to the team, I just couldn’t. I was going to the game because I had to not because I wanted to.

‘Just because I was an Arsenal fan not because I wanted to see them play. But now I can see what they’re about.’

The France U21 boss spoke ahead of Arsenal’s dramatic 1-0 win against Man City which ended a miserable run against the Premier league champions. Mikel Arteta’s side matched the defensive solidity of their guests and got a little bit of luck in Gabriel Martinelli’s  winner. 

The victory saw last season’s runners-up join north London rivals Tottenham on 20 points at the top of the standings ahead of the resumption of the league on October 21. 

Henry, who had spells as the Monaco and Montreal Impact boss as well as assistant to Roberto Martinez at Belgium, praised Arteta’s work in taking the side from their lowest ebb to genuine title challengers.   

‘I know how hard it is to be on the bench,’ he added. ‘And I have mad respect for what Mikel has done. The way he has put the team back.

‘Whether you like him or not, we’re trying to see what he’s doing and what he’s done in the last two years has been done extremely well.’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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