We’ve all been there. Standing in the headmaster’s study or the boss’s office and made vigorous denials whilst inwardly cringing at our actions. The difference between us and Thierry Henry is that our accusers didn’t have access to a slow motion replay of our transgression. Henry’s sin was witnessed by millions.
For once the law is crystal clear, the handball has to be deliberate. It’s obvious that the first infringement was a case of ball to hand and the former-Arsenal man knew very little about it.
However, Magic Johnson would have been proud of the second handball, the way he lovingly rolled his fingers around the ball and caressed it into position to be able to flick a volley across the face of the goal.
That was when Henry made his first mistake. At that point he had the opportunity to atone for his sin and confess to the referee. Instead, he chose to celebrate, whooping and hollering his way around the back of the goal whilst the Irish tried in vain to right a wrong that would cost them their place in South Africa next year.
Even at that stage, Henry’s reputation hadn’t suffered too much. He is a professional footballer, paid to do his best and his actions had all been instinctive. Judgement calls are instantaneous and we all get them wrong from time to time. It was during the post match press conference, that visit to the Head’s study and Boss’s office, that Thierry Henry really let himself down.
After having had time to reflect he sat at the podium and told the world’s press that he had not deliberately handled the ball. He has retracted that statement but the damage to his reputation is done. It shouldn’t however, become his legacy. One transgression shouldn’t be allowed to taint a glittering career.
It became the topic of conversation everywhere including the press conference at Ipswich Town. Roy Keane was having none of it, it wasn’t Henry’s fault, it was pathetic defending on behalf of the Irish. He made some very valid points, it was a dollied free kick from 45 yards out that bounced in the Irish six yard box. The Irish defensive line was not high enough initially and consequently when they dropped back as the ball was delivered they were on top of their ‘keeper, Shay Given.
A high line would have meant the ball would have sailed through to Given but the Irish ‘keeper is renowned for hugging his goal-line and the actions of his team-mates was understandable. If you drop that far back, you have to deal with the free-kick. Everything that Roy Keane said was spot on, there was no way that ball should have been allowed to bounce and no way that Henry should have been allowed to get goal-side.
What irked everyone was the way that Roy Keane said it. His judgement was delivered with scorn, derision and contempt. His long running feud with the FAI returned to the surface and there was almost a gloat in his voice when he said: “As for the FAI, what goes around comes around.”
What a way to console your former team-mates who have missed out on an absolute career high.
It is difficult to imagine that Keane has all the answers. After all, the team he manages have won only one league game out of 17. They are four points away from safety at present courtesy of being the division’s draw kings with 10 one pointers already in the bag.
Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. Ã‚Â© The Sporting Exchange Limited
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