“When I finally met Thierry Henry” : A Fan’s relentless pursuit for the King in Kolkata

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If you are an Arsenal fan, one of your dreams must be to meet Thierry Henry. I am one of those lucky ones who got a chance to fulfill his dream. Being an Arsenal supporter for 14 years now, it was always my dream to watch Arsenal at London. Though it is yet to be materialized, yesterday I got a chance to meet the man who scored most number of goals for my beloved Arsenal.

I grew up watching him and Bergkamp tearing oppositions apart. I grew up watching us become Invincibles, FA Cup win, that amazing Champions League run and many more gifted moments. He is Arsenal’s King, he is the immortalised legend in the heartof every Arsenal supporters and I always had a dream to see him in front of my eyes. Well, my fate induced all the positive luck and gave me much more what I dreamt.

Setting the Scene:

PUMA announced the King will be coming to India and his first destination will be Kolkata. Being a core member of Arsenal Bengal Fans Club, the officially registered Fan Club of Eastern India region, we had permissions from PUMA to spend some time with Thierry.

The Passion

The legend arrived in a mall in Kolkata and believe me it was looking as if he was somewhere in North London. The passionate Arsenal fans got a chance to see their Legend and they made it a piece of Highbury maybe. When he arrived, the place was buzzing with Thieery Henry and Arsenal chant and the feeling was immense. He went in the PUMA Store and had his press conference. 10 core members from Arsenal Bengal Fans Club were allowed to have their personal meet with Thierry and I was the first of them.

My Moments with the King

Sports-nova author Sauradeep Ash with Thierry Henry
Sports-nova author Sauradeep Ash with Thierry Henry

I, along with another core committee member of ours Rishi Modi, was the first two to have our moments of lifetime. After the media session was officially over and they left, an executive of PUMA introduced us to him. At that moment I was having goosebumps, I was arranging words to talk but everything was flowing so fast. He came and shook my hand. I greeted him and said where we came from and how much we love him. I thanked him for being an inspiration and I couldn’t say anything more. It was still unbelievable for me that I, Sauradeep Ash, getting a chance to meet our Thierry Henry, I was simply out of my words and I was trembling, I knew that I was about to cry.

I just hugged him and I realised a huge cheer from outside, I touched his leg and hugged him again. I embraced him and loved every moment of that. I signed my Arsenal shirt by him and managed to take a snap with our King as well. He was smiling and calmed me down as I had to exit. I came out but the cast of the memories will always be so vivid in my memory forever. We, the 10 members of Arsenal Bengal, still haven’t been able to swallow the fact that we really have met Thierry Henry! It still seems so unreal. Arsenal Bengal’s President Pratik Bhattacharya is an ardent Thierry Henry fan and he was high on his emotions as well.

Arsenal Bengal put up a banner for Thierry Henry during the ISL match.
Arsenal Bengal put up a banner for Thierry Henry during the ISL match.

The members of Arsenal Bengal also went to the ground for the ISL match and put up a gigantic banner that welcomed Titi at the city of joy. The Arsenal Bengal also gave a small gift from their side. The gift was a book, that had 49 messages from 49 members of Arsenal Bengal for Henry. 49 defined the number of matches Arsenal were unbeaten during the Invincible period. Thierry seemed to be ecstatic and he promised us to keep it with him.

Consequence:

It was a special day. It was the biggest day of my life, The moments I spent with him, the words we exchanged will always be remembered. I embraced the man in my arms who left his indisputable supremo mark in Arsenal’s history, who scored 228 goals for us. I touched those legs which donned the footballing world and gifted us all those glory moments. I know he will forget the face, but I believe he won’t forget the passion of all of us. And for me, it will be a moment to tell to my kids and grandchildren. I will never ever forget this day, It will always be cherished and kept in the core of the heart. 25.10.2016, it will always be a special day in the heart of a certain Sauradeep Ash. Thank you Titi, much love, Ooh to be a Gooner!

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