Adieu Thierry Henry: allez les Lads

On the occasion of Arsenal bidding au revoir to Thierry Henry, having already lost Patrick Vieira and the artful old diver Robert Pires, and having to start contemplating life after Arsène Wenger, Salut! Sunderland extends a warm welcome to a new source of potential support: France. And, in the process, we succumb to an irresistible urge to get bilingual*.

Merde alors! Non, même pire que ça! Putain de merde! Pour tous les supporteurs français des Gunners, c’est une vraie catastrophe. Comment peut-on rester fidèle lorsque notre héros, Thierry Henry, vient partir en Espagne?

Drat. Worse than that, bloody hell! It’s nee laffin’ matta for French fans of Arsenal. If it were not for Les Bleus, they’d be our national team! How can we stay loyal with Henry galavanting off to Spain?

On a déjà vu la sortie du super-mec Patrick Vieira, et puis de Robert Pires, mon plongeur préferé. Quant à M Wenger, l’autre bonne raison pour qu’un français soutient – puisse supporter? – Arsenal, faut-il accepter qu’il va biêntot quitter le club, lui aussi?

How can we support you ever more, now that you’ve all gone or are going?

Soyons optimiste! Arsenal, ce n’est pas la seule équipe britannique. Il y en a une autre.

But hang on. Let’s not give up. Isn’t there another English club we can transfer our allegiance to?

Qui ça?

Who?

C’est facile. Mais imaginez vous êtes sur le plateau de Qui Veut Gagner Des Millions? Il y a quatres réponses, dont une seule correcte: a)Chelsea b) Man Utd c) Newcastle Utd d) Sunderland. Vous avez quatres jokers: cinquante-cinquante, demander au public, appeler un ami, switcher la question.

Treat it like a question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? You have four lifelines.

D’accord. Pas Chelsea, ça c’est sur, c’est une aberration! Man Utd non plus, parce que j’ai visité Manchester plusieurs fois (pas comme la plupart de leurs supportuers). Mais écoutez, avant que je décide entre les deux équipes qui restent, donnez-moi quelques raisons pour supporter Sunderland.

OK. Not Chelsea, for sure. The whole thing’s just too obscene. And I’ve been to Manchester so probably don’t qualify as a Man Utd fan. Help me choose between the the other two. Why should it be Sunderland? Give me a few reasons…..


OK, let’s start with Niall Quinn

Oui , c’est un ancien Gunner. Mais il était nul pour Arsenal, n’est-ce pas?

(Hadaway, me bonny lad. He was useless for Arsenal!)

Lionel Perez?

Non, il a fait une telle bêtise à Wembley, face à Charlton. Même certains français le savent.

(Didn’t his mad charge out the box cost us – mon dieu, I’m already saying “us” – the playoff final, even if his saves against Sheff Utd got us there in the first place?)

Lilian Laslandes, David Bellion, Christian Bassila?

Vous plaisantez, monsieur!

(Hadaway with knobs on. I mean, a few goals for Nice (LL and DB) don’t make up for how crap they were for us!)

Patrick Carteron?

Peut-être, si seulement pour avoir marqué un but contre Newc****e

(Aye, if only for his goal against the Mags)

Eric Roy?

Ah. Maintenant on peut commencer la discussion!

(Now you’re talking. Wasn’t he fabulous against Chelsea that time it was 4-0 at half time?)

Encore une raison, ou deux, pour m’assurer, s’il vous plaît.

1)Newcastle 1 Sunderland 9. La victoire la plus belle à l’exterieur dans l’histoire de la première division de l’Angleterre**.

2) Roy Keane

Bon, vous m’avez bien convaincu. C’est la réponse “d) Sunderland” et c’est mon dernier mot Chris/Jean-Pierre. Eh maintenant, nous sommes commes tous ces irlandais qui se sont trouver tout à coup des supporteurs au coeur de cette équipe en rayures rouges et blanches. Je sais crier Ha’way the Lads, mais apprenez-moi la parole de My Garden Shed Is Bigger Than This.

(Sunderland, and that’s my final word, Mr Tarrant/M Foucault. Now teach me the words of My Garden Shed).

* Bilingual, subject to the usual qualifications. Mme Salut! wasn’t able to apply her correcting pencil in time!

** Ok, it was in December 1908, but what’s 99 years between new best friends?

Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

3 Responses to “Adieu Thierry Henry: allez les Lads” Subscribe

  1. thi oc June 25, 2007 at 4:30 pm #

    definitely convinced!(-_-)
    great article.
    no, in fact, i stay in the south of england… go saints!
    anyway, good luck for the premiership!

  2. Colin Randall June 25, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    For Salut! Sunderland’s new French friends, and readers who speak ze lingo, here is a selection of comments from the Parlons Football site (reached by clicking on the phrase ‘au revoir’ in my opening paragraph). The thread starts with my exhortation to the French to switch from Arsenal to us
    …..allez (I mistyped aller) supporter une autre equipe britannique, vous francais et francaises qui aiment(/aient) l’Arsenal de Thierry, Parick etc. Venez supporter et peut-etre Roy Keane achetera dex vedettes francais.
    par Colin Randall, le 25 juin 2007

  3. DerekR July 1, 2007 at 5:52 pm #

    Colin,
    I must profess to having hardly any interest in soccer believing why waste good money to watch 22 overpaid actors kick a ball around and it’s not even a proper leather one like it was in my youth. However I am aware of your attachment to Sunderland from the Salut! site.
    I have just returned from a 3 week tour of Eastern European capitals. While I was in Prague and shopping for my grandchildren I came across one of those shops which sells those stacking Russian wooden dolls. One shelf was devoted to international football teams and I was intrigued to see one team whose red and white striped strip was unknown to me. Taking it off the shelf I found that it was marked as Sunderland and the large outside figure was Reg Varney (whoever he might be) or some name like that. I immediately thought of you and if I had known you I might have even bought it for you!
    Intriguing! One can hardly say that Sunderland is an internationally famous team (but perhaps you would disagree!) so why was it the sole representative of British football?

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