The Double Standards Of The Press
One year ago, Manchester United sold Ruud van Nistelrooy. Now Arsenal sold Thierry Henry. The press' attitude is worth to be examined in both cases.
Surely all United fans remember last season? The Champions League humiliation, the Carling Cup victory, the late surge in the league - and the sulking of Van Nistelrooy.
The Dutch goal-machine's performances became increasingly mediocre in the latter part of the season after a prolific autumn. His influence diminished at the team and his relationship with Fergie deteriorated after the manager let him know he's not satisfied with him.
Rumours suggested he could not get on with Cristiano Ronaldo and disagreed with the removal of Roy Keane. The team looked better without him, to be honest.
He was 30 but he was one of the top goalscorers this club has ever had. At the end, he was sold, with Fergie placing his trust into Saha and into our young stars, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.
We eventually finished second in the league and won the Carling Cup.
The club's debts were huge but the expansion of Old Trafford had just been completed and a new record shirt sponsorship deal had been signed - and we received 10 million for Ruud.
Surely you remember the reaction, too? The press declared we were in crisis, that Fergie should be thrown out as he had committed a tragic mistake. They claimed Ruud would never be replaced, that we would struggle for goals and struggle to finish fourth ahead of the mighty Spurs.
None of them mentioned that we actually had two of the world's best young players... The loss of Ruud, in the journalists' eyes meant that we were doomed. And of course Fergie made the mistake before, when he got rid of Stam and Beckham (Kanchelskis and Ince weren't mentioned...)
Thierry Henry's season has been ravaged by injuries. He's not been as influential and vital on the pitch as before and the team sometimes looked better without him.
There was a rumour that his presence inhibits some young players, and he confirmed that he disagreed with the departure of David Dein. He's now very close to 30 but he's the record goalscorer of Arsenal.
They eventually finished fourth in the league and won nothing at all.
The club's debts are huge but they have a new stadium and received 16 million from the sale of Henry.
So what is the press' reaction? Well, the usual.
Wenger knows. Wenger will find a replacement. The team will be better without Henry (the man they had called the world's greatest player as a rutine exercise every morning). Arsenal are NOT in crisis. Cesc Fabregas and the other youngsters are brilliant and Wenger is always right when he decides to offload players.
Why is there such a stark difference between the journalists' judgements of the two situations?