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Chris Charles | 13:14 UK time, Friday, 20 November 2009

As Joe Bugner joined Jordan in the jungle, the Irish were left reeling from Henry's hammer.

The French striker hit his opponents with the old one-two - a little jab followed by a sly left hook - to set up the goal everyone's talking about. And I mean everyone.

I settled down to catch the end of Newsnight for a little respite from Main-Gate (I knew that O-Level French would come in handy one day) and there were Dara O'Briain and David Ginola earnestly discussing the merits of a replay with Gavin Esler.

Ginola looked as if he was about to burst into tears as he soberly announced: "On behalf of all French people, we are very sorry" - while O'Briain backed France to go to South Africa - as long as they agreed to wear Ireland shirts for the duration of the tournament.
Thierry Henry mocked up as basketball player in viral
Thierry Henry mocked up as basketball player in viral
The papers had a field day, with those unlikely bedfellows The Sun and The Independent both describing the incident as 'Hand Gaul', while the Mirror raged: 'French Nickers!'. But it was the Daily Star who trumped their rivals, brilliantly reflecting Irish discontent under the banner 'Va Va Fume'.

The Twitterers were also out in force. 'Eamonn Holmes' said Henry would 'go down as the worst cheat in modern times', while 'englandsnumber6' suggested the Frenchman 'thought he was playing garlic football'.

'England Handball' declared: "As much as we love handball, we can't condone Henry's effort against the Irish" and our very own Ben Dirs opined: "It's at times like these I wish I didn't live with an Irishman. Hours of angry headlocks and very loud Christy Moore ahead of me."

Meanwhile, the man at the centre of the storm said on his 'Official Twitter Page': "I'm not the referee but if I hurt someone I'm sorry." Earlier tweets from 'Henry' include: "Why has no-one died during a taping of Top Gear? Am I the only one who ever wondered this?" and: "Got so much done today, but the thing I'm most proud of? I showered!" So is it really him? You decide.

While I'm on a social media frenzy, at the time of going to press more than 86,000 people had joined the Facebook group 'We Irish Hate Thierry Henry (the cheat)' and you can understand why feelings are running high. I went for a drink with my Republic-supporting mate who was crying into his beer muttering "Henri Leconte" - at least that's what I think he was saying.

Meanwhile Ladbrokes were offering odds of 66/1 for Henry to be sent off in his next game for France for deliberate handball. (Before winning the battle with Elvis Presley and Lord Lucan for the Christmas number one.)

Fortunately for the player his sponsors, Gillette, released a statement insisting: "This is not going to affect our relationship with Thierry Henry." Phew, that was a close shave. Although expect a large number of beards to spring up on the Emerald Isle over the next few weeks.
Thierry Henry viral
Staying with sponsors and Damien Duff suggested the whole episode was a conspiracy to ensure as many teams as possible in South Africa were backed by Adidas.

"Maybe we'd have a better chance of going to the World Cup if it was sponsored by Umbro," he reasoned - perhaps momentarily forgetting that he has a lucrative boot deal with...Adidas. I think that's what they call shooting yourself in the foot.

Team-mate Robbie Keane was also not backward in coming forward, telling BBC Radio 5 live: "They're all probably clapping hands, Platini sitting up there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, probably texting each other, delighted with the result."

And you could rely on Keano's namesake to really put the cat among the pigeons by saying of the FAI: "What goes around comes around." Never one to harbour a grudge, our Roy. And pity the poor hack who felt the sharp end of Keane's tongue when his phone rang mid-press conference - he'll be sleeping with his eyes open for the next few weeks.

Incredibly there were other things going on outside the Irish penalty area, although if it hadn't been for Henry's hand I'd have had to try to spin out 500 words on the curious tale of Robin van Persie and the horse placenta, which apparently goes down well with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

The Arsenal striker damaged ankle ligaments playing for the Netherlands and opted for radical treatment involving fluid from said placenta massaged into the affected area. The Dutchman claimed the injury had no serious side effects, as he tucked into a bowl of hay before leaping over a row of five-bar gates.

Staying in the Premier League and Carlos Tevez is using Coronation Street to brush up on his limited English. The Man City striker still can't work out how to ask the ref how much time is left but if you ever feel the need to order a hotpot from The Rovers, he's your man.

Team-mate Robinho was another who watched the soap to improve his English, but he's recently switched to another show to learn the phrase "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here".

In the other half of Manchester there must have been a few hackles raised at a new film celebrating Liverpool's Champions League success. Called 15 Minutes That Shook The World, the fictional black comedy features cameos from Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, plus characters who bear a striking resemblance to two prominent members of the Old Trafford hierarchy.

'Rat Boy' wears the No 2 shirt and sings anti-Scouse songs, while 'McTaggart' swigs from a bottle of Scotch bearing the label 'Manager of the month, but not as good as Bob Paisley'. Any ideas?

Elsewhere, Brentford ended the FA Cup dreams of Ian Bogie's Gateshead side (presumably known as the Bogie Men) while the Brazilian Ronaldo told the TV cameras: "I'm going to admit it. I am fat." In other news, Usain Bolt reveals he is quite a fast runner and Michael Caine finally admits he comes from old London town (not a lot of people knew that).

Have a good weekend one and all and I hope you'll join me in doing your bit for Children In Need. I was thinking of giving a penny for every second that passes before Terry Wogan mentions Thierry Henry. Hope they've got change for 20p.


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