My Issue With Henry’s Diving And Arsenal Fans

Thierry Henry is a fantastic player, and despite being a United fan I’ve gladly accepted defeat on one topic in any argument with Arsenal fans – Henry is undoubtedly one of the best strikers in the world and a class above Ruud van Nistelrooy.

But recently, Henry has taken the habit of going down under challenges far too easily, and it rankles me as a football fan and as an admirer of Henry to see such a classy player do this.

If you haven’t read the first few installments of this series, please read these articles:

There are other great players who are just as guilty of gamesmanship, simulation, diving, cheating, whatever you want to call it. The 2006 World Cup has been a showcase for fantastic football, long-range goals and a vast array of diving techniques.

Luis Figo, Michael Ballack, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben, Michael Essien, Mark van Bommel, Franc Ribery, Franceso Totti…the list goes on and on and on.

So why am I picking on Henry, and by extension Arsenal and Arsenal fans?

Is it because I think United players are angels? Hell no. We’ve done our fair share of playacting and nasty tackles. Football is full of good married with bad.

My issue is that at the end of the day, Henry has made such a big deal about fair play in the past that to see him act like this (twice in three games) is sad. I really, really like the guy, and I think that in both cases Henry could have taken the tackle, stayed on his feet and kept playing.

But he fell over, something I’ve never seen him do before.

What has changed? That’s what I want to know.

Everybody dives. Very few players stay on their feet.

Thierry Henry was one of those very few people. Now he isn’t. And football is much worse off for that.

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