Cheater Thierry Henry set to join the New York Red Bulls




There is always, as that Chelsea “hero” John Terry will gladly tell you, a reward for those who do the right thing in life -- and also for those who don’t.

Some months ago, before we knew of Tiger Woods’ sins or Terry’s indiscretions, Thierry Henry was the villain of the peace as far as Irish football fans were concerned.

In case you were on Planet Mars or stuck in an Icelandic volcano last November, Henry was the French striker who handled the ball not once but twice in the build-up to his team’s decisive goal against Ireland in the World Cup playoffs.

His double dare set up the Arsenal defender Gallas for the goal that effectively ended the Green Army’s dream of a flight to South Africa early next month.

As a result of Henry’s treachery, the French will line out against hosts South Africa, Uruguay and our old friends Mexico in a group that Giovanni Trapattoni would have really fancied.

When Henry and his pals are playing at altitude and in the heights of a South African winter, various Irish players will be sunning themselves at hot spots around the world and wondering what might have been.

They can also, legitimately, ask themselves what happens next.

At a time when Trap is busy blooding new players out in Malahide during his summer training camp, there can be no guarantees for some of those players who tasted defeats at the hands of Henry last November.

The likes of Robbie Keane and Damien Duff will be around for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers, but there are no guarantees they will see another World Cup bid.

That’s why, for example, the injury that German captain Michael Ballack picked up in Chelsea’s FA Cup final win over Portsmouth on Saturday will hurt so much more.

At 33, Ballack knows he won’t be around for another World Cup finals with a German side that has just gone out in the betting for the 2010 finals.

Henry too is the wrong side of 30 to be worrying about any World Cup beyond the current one, but he too is a player with an eye on the future.

In and out of the team at newly crowned Spanish champions Barcelona in recent months, Henry has just announced his plans for next season.

Even though he has another year to run on his contract at the Nou Camp, Henry and his Barca employers are close to concluding a deal with the MLS in America that will allow the French captain to play for the New York Red Bulls next season.

Both the player and the club are said to be excited at the prospect, so clearly nobody involved with the MLS knows the meaning of common decency or cares.

If the morals at the New York Red Bulls allow them to pay millions of dollars to a cheat like Henry next season, then association football in America deserves all it gets.

I could tell you to boo Henry when he plays for the Red Bulls but that sort of behavior can get you in trouble -- apparently!

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