It was 20 years ago today that Arsenal made a rather special signing

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Today is the anniversary of the signing of Thierry Henry.  An event marked by the media as the arrival of “another foreigner.”

It is often reported that Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry stayed in touch during Henry’s time at Juventus, where the club had tried to play him just as a winger.

Inevitably the British media got on Henry’s back from the off.  He was, after all French, so what did he know about English football?  He was a flop at Juventus.  He failed to score in the first eight games….

But then inevitably defenders lost track of him as he wandered out to the wing and so the goals began: 26 in the first season.  Not bad for a man who knew nothing about English football.

In the second season he began to show he knew how to do it in style, as when he stood with his back to goal, flipped the ball up in the air, turned round and scored from over 25 yards out.  Man Utd did not like that one bit.

It wasn’t long before the trophies started rolling in, leading in the end to the Unbeaten Season.

In the end he scored an incredible 226 goals in 369 games for Arsenal.

Here are the anniversaries…

3 August 1914:  As Germany declared war on France, Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary, made a speech in the House of Commons expounding the need for war with Germany, and subsequently made his remark that, “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

3 August 1920: While rioting continued in Belfast, there was growing talk about Britain declaring war on Russia in order to “rid Europe of the scourge of communism” 

3 August 1965: Arsenal beat Trinidad 3-1 with Eastham, Joe Baker and Sammels scoring.

3 August 1968: Continuing the tradition of playing Rangers pre-season as initiated by Herbert Chapman, Arsenal drew 2-2 at Ibrox.

3 August 1979: Having won the FA Cup Arsenal lost 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw with Ajax in the Amsterdam Tournament 

3 August 1998: Scott Marshall transferred to Southampton having played 26 games for Arsenal.  He only played twice for Southampton, and one match on loan for Celtic before moving to Brentford, for whom he did play 75 games.

3 August 1991: Arsenal beat Panathinaikos with a David Rocastle goal in the Makita International Tournament at Highbury.

3 August 1999: Thierry Henry signed for Arsenal for the first time, from Juventus for £11m.  He played 16 games for Juve and it is said that Arsene Wenger and Henry had regular phone chats in the season before Henry signed for Arsenal.

3 August 2010: Sanchez Watt loaned to Leeds for a season.  He had six different loan spells, including two at Leeds, before signing for Colchester in 2013, but was released in 2015.  In 2019 he was noted as playing for Wealdstone.

3 August 2012 Benik Afobe loaned to Bolton all season scoring two goals in 20 games.  It was not until his sixth and final loan (to MK Dons in 2014) that he found national acclaim, and signed for Wolverhampton W.  He most recently moved to Stoke City and from there loaned to Bristol City.

3 August 2013: Arsenal drew 2-2 with Napoli in Emirates Cup

3 August 2014: Arsenal beat Benfica 5-1 in the Emirates Cup with four from Sanogo.  Following an anti-BT campaign by Untold Arsenal and others (after BT Sport had made fun of the competition’s points allocation system in 2013 and knocked Arsenal mercilessly in their pre-tournament ads) the corporation suddenly reversed their policy and praised the competition and Arsenal’s quality.  It was also the moment when Bellerin shone as a star of the future.

3 August 2018: Chuba Akpom sold to PAOK and João Virgínia sold to Everton.

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