30/09/07 06:52 
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Picture Henry - A 100 Highbury goals. (Getty Images)


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Thierry Henry revealed the depth of his love affair with Highbury as he admitted how much of a wrench it would be to leave his cherished "garden" behind.

However, it remains to be seen whether Henry will follow Arsenal to their new Emirates stadium just a mile away at Ashburton Grove next summer - or seek a fresh challenge elsewhere.

The Frenchman was not discussing his future in the wake of reaching another landmark in becoming the first Arsenal player to score 100 league goals at Highbury.

However, he was effusive in his feelings for Highbury, complete with its marble halls, hallowed turf and decades of traditions, let alone its status as the venue in which he was transformed into a world-class striker.

Arsene Wenger had described Highbury as Henry's own "garden", adding: "I hope [the new stadium] will still be his garden next season, just a bigger garden!"

Henry responded: "I would love to have a garden like this! It's tremendous. Scoring 100 goals, you realise that I love to play here with great players in the past and now.

"Everyone loves to play here. You speak to opponents and they just love it. The fans love it, we love it. It's not just me, everyone will miss the ground. It's pretty special.

"There's just something about Highbury that is difficult to describe. When you arrive, you hardly see the stadium and wonder where it is but then you see it between two blocks of flats, while the pitch is amazing.

"When you play at Anfield, you get the same feeling - there's something happening there. Everyone who loves Arsenal will miss Highbury. It's a shame that we have to move but there are more games to play here yet."

Whether Henry signs an extension to his contract next summer before the short move to a bigger stadium could hold the key to Arsenal's fortunes in that new venue.

Wenger already appreciates it could take time for Arsenal, whose 3-0 success against Blackburn was their seventh consecutive home league win of the season, to settle into their new surroundings.

"It can take some time but that depends mostly because it is difficult to combine having a quality team and moving into a new stadium for financial reasons. You can speak about Derby, Coventry or Southampton," he said.

However, moving from Highbury was a financial necessity for the club, with the increased capacity from 38,000 to 60,000 set to give them added clout in the transfer market.

The first test of their ambitions will come in January, while Henry will judge the club's prospects before deciding his future. For the time being, Arsenal fans must simply relish the chance to watch a maestro in action.

After all, while George Best's passing may have been mourned this week, Henry offers crowds the same magical touch and commitment to sheer entertainment value.

Henry concluded: "I didn't know him or see him play live, but I've seen all the goals he scored and how he scored them, that's the most important thing.

"It was sometimes out of this world. He was always trying stuff and that's what football is all about. The love that he had for football was just amazing. Football lost one of the best entertainers and players in the game."

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