Sunday, 29 January 2012

Many Happy Returns?

With the recent events @ The Emirates where Thierry Henry has been welcomed back like a returning Messiah (albeit it a temporary one - made to cover the cracks of no new signings again this window for Wenger), we thought we'd take a look at some of the other players who have come back to what they know.......

The saying 'never go back' is one that many footballers have never stuck to, but it's been a mixed bag of returning the conquering hero or with their tail between their legs. With so many clauses now in contracts it's inevitable that somewhere tucked away amid image rights, goal bonuses & appearance money there will be the option for the club to buy their star player back.

Ian Rush, legend amongst the Koppites travelled to Italy after a hugely successful time @ Liverpool, whether it was the lure of the lira, European football and a new challenge or a slightly more cynical peace making process with Juventus after Heysel only he knows for sure. Famously quoted as saying "It's like living in a foreign country."* he failed to settle, with tighter defences and the language barrier, Liverpool were soon to welcome him back and unlike Henry Rush still had a few more goals in the tank. He faced initial competition from one time replacement 7 lookalike John Aldridge but still managed to win the FA Cup for the Reds with two goals in the Final against Merseyside rivals Everton in his first season back. More goals were to follow and eventually more honours at all times remaining a great ambassador for the club that had given him his big chance in football.

Of course it depends on how you leave a club as to what sort of reception you'll receive should you want (or need) to come back.
Jurgen Klinsmann has special affinity with Tottenham fans, from his shock transfer to North London from Alan Sugar's yacht in Monte Carlo he caught the imagination and upset a few German stereotypes in the process. His reputation as a diver was played upon on his debut with the now legendary goal celebration and along with the other 'famous five' in the side it looked like the team were going places. Alas it wasn't to be and the German invoked a clause in his contract (one which in his book Sugar now claims was badly worded) and returned to Germany.
Even his departure and a very public rant from the Chairman couldn't tarnish Jurgen's status @ Spurs and he was again called into service by a now regretful Sugar to save the North London club from relegation in '97. Again in another Roy of the Rovers storyline Klinsman staged the great escape and with his mission accomplished he duly retired from domestic football at the end of that season.

Teddy Sheringham on the other hand has his equal share of lovers and haters @ Spurs, to leave a club while claiming they lacked ambition and of having more chance of winning trophies elsewhere is not going to stand you in good stead for a hero's return really.
He'd signed for Manchester United as a replacement for Eric Cantona and as is the way with these things his debut for his new club was against.......Spurs! With boos & jeers at every touch from the fans that once idolised him, insult was added to injury when he went on to miss a penalty in the 60th minute! For a while the much desired silverware eluded him with an old chant changed by the Spurs faithful to refer to the fact that he'd 'gone to Man Utd and you won f*ck all!"
But one Treble later and Sheringham had achieved his aim, so when he found himself falling down the pecking order @ Old Trafford new Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle stepped in and bought him back to his spiritual home and with a new Chairman also @ the club that man again Alan Sugar was cited as one of the original reasons Sheringham left in the first place. Although some will still not forgive, he was inducted into the clubs Hall of Fame in 2008.

It remains to be seen how Monsieur Henry gets on in his second spell with The Gunners and it's only (at the moment) a temporary stay but he'll always remain one of the greatest strikers the side ever had.....

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