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Tyrone Henry: A Changing Attitude

Started on 8 November 2020 by Jack
Latest Reply on 11 April 2021 by ScottT
and now I predict more problems

A Place in the History Books

Saturday, 22nd May 2004

As Manchester United lifted the FA Cup in front of the passing Millwall opponents, a feeling of dejection hung around the camp. The team had an incredible run to the Final which included beating Burnley and Sunderland along the way but ultimately the world class quality charging Ferguson’s team was too much.

Then knowledge sprang to Tyrone Henry’s mind that because Manchester United had qualified for the Champions League, Football League First Division Millwall were going to be entering the UEFA Cup next season.

Henry headed over to Neil Harris who led the line for Millwall on the day. He looked distraught having been beaten 3-0 so Tyrone put his hand on the back of his neck.

“So, where do you fancy, Neil? Rome, Vienna, Athens?” he said to him with a chuckle.

“Tyrone, mate, I’ve already got my holiday booked with the missus. Besides, we’ve just lost in the FA Cup Final.” Harris replied, clearly the knowledge of European football had not been considered.

“Well, you best get your bag packed twice, at least. We’re going to the UEFA Cup!” Tyrone cheered as they made their way down the Millennium Stadium’s tunnel.

Then it sunk in with Harris and a big smile gleamed across his face. This team weren’t only heroes for today, they were the first-ever Millwall team to achieve a European spot.

The pair didn’t want to celebrate in the view of the Millwall fans, who were irritable at the best of times. They waited to reach the dressing room first before revealing the news.

As the team huddled into the spacious dressing room with their heads hung low, Tyrone Henry and Neil Harris geared up to start their song. They waited for every team member to get into the dressing room.

It began quietly for the first line, getting louder each time, each picking up new voices:


As the celebrations continued inside the dressing room, Tyrone went out and fetched one of the bottles of champagne used for the Manchester United trophy lifting ceremony.

He ran back with two bottles, already turning the bottle to open the first. Tyrone booted the door wide open just as the cork flew off, spraying every single player in the process.

With a joyous trip through to the FA Cup Final came even more good news of a trip to Europe, and with that Tyrone Henry wrote himself into Millwall history, with fans in adoration.

Tango: You can't argue with a trip to Europe for a second tier side, though!
They have now two options:

1 - enjoy the trip, lose focus and lose all games
2 - do not enjoy the trip, keep focus and lose all games, but focused

Head Held High

Monday, 8th May 2006

Despite being a long way off safety, the fact of relegation to League One was only just sinking in for Tyrone as he shook the hands of Marvin Elliott and Zak Whitbread after the final training session of the season.

It was Henry’s second relegation to the third tier out of the only two professional teams he had played for as Millwall finished in 23rd place, 10 points behind the safety of his former club Queens Park Rangers.

The appointment of former Chelsea and Liverpool player Nigel Spackman immediately struck Tyrone Henry as a strange decision, having only worked as a TV pundit since his sacking from Barnsley five years ago.

Spackman had called Henry into his office after training. Having only been in the job for just over a week, Henry assumed it was merely a catch-up meeting to get to know his new squad so he didn’t turn up to next season as a stranger.

“Afternoon Tyrone,” Spackman said. “How’ve you been?” he asked in a weirdly exaggerated cockney accent.

“Good, boss, thanks.” Tyrone said, taking a seat. “You?”

“Yeah, alright thanks,” he replied before inhaling deeply as he was about to move onto the topic of today’s conversation.

“Yeah, so I have got to prepare for next year in League One. I’m sure you’ve been briefed before about the situation with contracts, and yours expires in just under two months.” Spackman said as he let out a sigh before continuing.

“As next season’s picture has become clearer, competitively and financially, the board have insisted that we accept an offer of £100,000 from Blackpool,” he said. “They say that they have to relax the wage bill, so I have been having these chats with players with contracts that are running out.”

Tyrone Henry’s heart sank, as much as he knew that this was a possibility due to his experience of relegation with Queens Park Rangers.

He had loved every minute of his time at Millwall. It had been everything that Ian Holloway said it would be and he felt at ease from the moment he first kicked a ball for the club.

The love was reciprocal from the stands, too. Along with Neil Harris, Tyrone had formed the basis of a promising young Millwall team that the fans had gone to the FA Cup Final with, had gone to Hungary for the UEFA Cup with, and had ultimately fallen in love with throughout the years.

“I don’t want to fight a decision that’s already been made, Nigel, but is there any way that I can stay? I have always wanted to see out all of my career at this club, I feel at home here at The Den, I feel a connection with the fans here, is there no way that I can continue that?” Tyrone asked desperately, but looking at Nigel Spackman’s face, he knew that he was merely letting him finish.

“It’s been decided, Tyrone,” Spackman said. “You’re a cracking player from what I have seen. I would’ve liked to offer you a new deal and I said that when I met Peter on arrival. It seems to me that the board would like to take the cash off Blackpool now.”

Spackman opened his notebook and tore a small piece of paper out before writing a set of numbers on it and passing it across to Tyrone. “Their boss, Simon Grayson told me to tell you to give him a call.”

Tango: I don't think Millwall were quite well-equipped to take on some of Europe's elite just at that moment in time ;)
From Q.P.R to Millwall to... Blackpool. Tyrone is really playing for some of the cretins of English football
how old is Tyrone at this point? it feels like his career is only sinking

The First Whirlwind

Sunday, 27th May 2007

Tyrone Henry had initially doubted the possibility of Blackpool’s chances to even compete for the top half when he joined in 2006.

Little over twelve months later, he was standing on the new Wembley Stadium podium having a Play-Off winners medal dangled around his neck.

Simon Grayson had led Blackpool masterfully from their 19th placed finish last season to a 3rd place finish in League One this year, only two points from stealing automatic promotion away from Bristol City.

They had beaten Oldham Athletic in the Play-Off Semi-Finals in both legs of the tie.

Yeovil’s path to the Final had been much more chaotic, scrambling into the Play-Offs to begin with before coming back with a 5-2 second leg win against Nottingham Forest in the Semi-Final to win the tie 5-4 on aggregate after extra-time.

Tyrone had assisted Rob Williams’ opener in the 43rd minute today and he felt an increasing passion for Blackpool and it’s fans. As his first time out of London, it was certainly a more positive experience despite having to adapt to the area.

As the celebrations paused in order to restart later in the night, the thought slowly began to circle around Tyrone’s head that at the age of 27, he would probably never get the chance to play in the English top-flight.

It struck him at this moment that he had been playing for the underdog, and to a large extent, been successful playing as the underdog.

Tyrone questioned whether he would rather have a career filled with the ups of winning Young Player of the Year at Queens Park Rangers, an FA Cup Final and UEFA Cup appearance with Millwall and now an unexpected promotion with Blackpool over playing his career out at middling Premiership clubs and quickly realised that he would choose the former every time.

It was then that Tyrone appreciated that the Arsenal scout walked away when he lashed out at his opponent during the school game. He wouldn’t have had the experiences had Paul Hall not placed his trust in him to make it at Queens Park Rangers.

Wes Hoolahan caught Tyrone in his thinking and slapped his palm on his chest. “Come on then, lad, you know London better than us!”

James: Somebody's got to play for them!
Tango: Tyrone was born in 1980, so at the time of the last update he was 25. An FA Cup Final and European appearance at 24 years of age isn't too bad! ;)

A Familiar Face

Thursday, 21st May 2009

Tyrone’s mobile rang loudly on the kitchen top while he made his lunch. It was from a number that he didn’t recognise but it was a UK-based mobile.

“Hello, Tyrone speaking?” he answered.

“Now then son, happy birthday for the other week!” said a familiar West Country accent.

“Thank you!” Tyrone said cheerily before pausing. “Could I just ask who is calling, please?”

“It’s me, Ian!” he said as Tyrone’s memory pieced together the West Country accent with the only man called Ian with an accent like that who he knew.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Holloway, not trying to sign me again are you?!” Tyrone laughed down the phone.

Whilst Ian Holloway was at Plymouth Argyle and then Leicester City he had tried to sign Henry both times after creating a good personal relationship during their short spell together at Queens Park Rangers.

“Errr, something like that!” Holloway laughed. “You got Sky Sports News on?”

“No,” Tyrone said as he reached for the remote for the kitchen TV. “What’s happening?”

Holloway laughed as Tyrone tried to find the right channel on the other line. “I suppose you can start calling me ‘gaffer’ again, son. I’ve accepted an offer to come back into the game and manage you useless bunch!”

Tyrone finally reached the right channel and saw the ticker reading “Blackpool Unveil Holloway” and immediately felt happy emotions surge through him.

Despite being relegated under him at QPR, Henry felt that Holloway really managed to keep the morale up in a defeated squad already destined for relegation.

Eight years had passed since the two had worked together and it didn’t seem like much had changed.

Holloway spent five years at Queens Park Rangers between 2001 and 2006, managing to get The Hoops promoted from the old Second Division at the third time of asking, finishing in the automatic promotion spot in 2004 and guided them to an 11th placed finish in the Championship in his last full season at Loftus Road.

From QPR, he led Plymouth Argyle to an 11th placed finish in The Championship before a horrific seven-month spell at Leicester City where he became the club’s third permanent manager of the season after Martin Allen and Gary Megson’s attempts. Leicester were relegated to League One on the final day of the season after a 0-0 draw with Stoke.

Holloway had taken a year out of the game to focus on his personal life and it seemed that now the time was right for him to come back into the game.

Henry’s path began with Queens Park Rangers and his time there ended with Holloway as manager, who arguably drove him on as a player, convincing him to make the move to Millwall at the time - a risk in Tyrone’s eyes - but turning out to be the best decision of his career so far.

Since Holloway showed Henry the door, he had reached a Play-Off Final, an FA Cup Final and even played in the UEFA Cup at Millwall in what was the best time of his career. He won promotion with Blackpool under Simon Grayson in 2007 and finished solidly in both of the Championship seasons since.

There was an argument in many people's minds that Tyrone Henry deserved an opportunity at the top level after showing early individual promise, but at the age of 29, that prospect seemed to get increasingly unlikely.

It might have been a reason why Henry and Holloway got along. Both were highly-rated in what they did, Henry as a player and Holloway as a manager, but both seemed to have taken routes that overlooked their qualities so far.

Whatever path Holloway was to lead Blackpool down in the next season or two, Henry was undoubtedly excited for the adventure.

Once In A Lifetime

Saturday, 22nd May 2010
Tyrone walked behind the goalkeeper Matt Gilks up the Wembley stairs to the Royal Box.

If somebody had walked up to him when Millwall accepted Blackpool’s £100,000 bid for him that he would be playing Premier League football at Bloomfield Road within four years then he would have asked them what narcotics they were on.

Blackpool had only just sneaked into the Championship Play-Offs with one point difference between them and 7th placed Swansea City. They were going to be by far the smallest team to participate in the modern day Premier League.

As Tyrone saw the captain Charlie Adam lift the Play-Off trophy, all that was running through his mind was the underdog mentality - that as soon as he noticed the pattern of throughout his career - became emphasised more than ever today.

With such high hopes in his late teens and early twenties, Henry was going to play in the Premier League next season at the age of 30 years old. It had been a much longer journey than expected, but it was something that Tyrone could now taste.

Tyrone was the last player to lift the trophy, with Holloway behind him to be the last to put his hands on the trophy. Holloway grabbed hold of Tyrone’s shoulders and whispered gleefully in his ear: “Me and you, mate, the Premier League!”

The beauty of football was epitomised when Blackpool claimed their place in the Premier League. It's great to see Tyrone involved with that crop of players who will be remembered by the Blackpool faithful for many years to come. Now, let's see what happens from here!

Empire State of Mind

Friday, 1st July 2011

A brand new Royce Phantom rolled up at the arrivals exit from John F. Kennedy International Airport. The backseat windows were blacked out and the driver rolled down the left-hand window on the passenger seat.

“Tyrone?” the driver said in a Brooklyn accent.

“Sure, that’s me,” Tyrone said, admiring the elegance of the motor that his arrival had been greeted with. “Some very nice wheels you have here in New York!”

The driver opened up his door to put Tyrone’s luggage in the back. “Well, unfortunately the car isn’t mine! I’m just the driver, Nicholas. Hop in the back if you want, I’ve got this.”

Tyrone headed to the rear left window and saw a man sitting on the other seat.

Nicholas shouted over “Mr. Henry, please meet Mr. Henry,” as Thierry Henry turned to face Tyrone Henry.

“Good morning Tyrone,” Thierry said in his broken English.

Tyrone was starstruck by what he was seeing as he slowly moved into the car and made sure that it was who he believed it was. He reached out and shook Thierry’s hand.

Nicholas got back in the car and began the 45 minute drive to their destination. “Welcome to New York City!” Thierry exclaimed as the car turned onto the I-678.

Along the way to Manhattan, the Thierry Henry led the conversation, pointing out the landmarks to Tyrone who had never been to America before.

Nicholas pulled into the players’ car park at the Red Bull Arena and Erik Solér was waiting for the Phantom. Solér was the Sporting Director of New York Red Bulls, having taken a couple of years out following his spell at Norwegian outfit IK Start.

“Tyrone, welcome to the New York Red Bulls. It is fantastic to finally have you on board.” Solér said as he shook Tyrone’s hand as he got out of the car.

“All we’re doing here is taking a few snaps for the website, we’ll get a club official to take your stuff to your new apartment - newly renovated,” Solér said as they stood in the opening on the pitch. “Then I will let you and Thierry here hit the town.”

“Well, shouldn’t I be settling in at the apartment, no?” Tyrone asked.

Thierry looked at Tyrone and sighed, putting his hand on his shoulder. “Tyrone - you are in New York City. And it’s a Friday… and the drinks are on me.”

Tyrone looked at Solér who could only smile and shrug his shoulders. “That’s how you get settled in.”

Scott: Absolutely, it was a magical season given the recent and all-time history. It's definitely a squad that remains in my memory and will do for a long time to come.
Tyrone has certainly lived that underdog life from a young age with his father leaving home when he did and having to battle through a number of challenges throughout his career. The maturity that he has developed has been evident from headbutting an opponent to reveling in the tough times in his career and thriving in each occasion. Loving the story and with Tyrone's career seemingly coming to a close with his move to the MLS, I wonder what comes next after his time at Red Bulls.
Oh, he's bottled the Premier League for the MLS...

A Hero’s Return

Friday, 6th June 2012

New York City was an incredible experience that it came to no surprise for Tyrone that so many good footballers choose to play in the MLS.

However, the game and the league itself seemed too manufactured at the moment. There was no doubt an attraction for good players to play in America, but it had a way to go before establishing itself as a serious football league.

Henry had scored in his final match for the New York Red Bulls in a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA before the month-long break in the season.

Kenny Jackett had been in touch a week later at the end of May and asked what Tyrone’s circumstances were in New York and how he would feel with a return to the Championship with Millwall for the 2012-13 season.

He had enjoyed the honour of playing alongside the likes of Thierry Henry, Rafael Márquez and Tim Cahill (for a second time) but there was no feeling of belonging or real fight in the MLS - not like there was on a Saturday afternoon at The Den.

Three days later, Tyrone told Erik Solér and Hans Backe that he wanted to leave and rejoin Millwall for their first training session next week. The management pair reluctantly agreed to let Tyrone leave on a free transfer.

As soon as he saw the signs for Bermondsey in the taxi from the airport, Tyrone felt at home once more. By 12PM, he had signed an initial two-year contract at Millwall with an option to extend it by one year. By 1PM, Millwall had announced his return on all channels, much to the delight of the Lions’ supporters.

With midfielder Hamer Bouazza joining Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus this summer, Tyrone Henry selected the number 8 shirt for his return spell at The Den.

Seb: I think you've hit the nail on the head so far, he's never been in a position to achieve immediate triumph, much more that he has had to work to get here. It seems like he's having his final hurrah back at Millwall, though! ;)
Scott: Would've been back to the Championship, and I think a lucky escape with what was to come with Oyston in the later years. He's back in England, though, thank god!
A return isn't always successful but lets hope for Tyrone this one brings back anything close to what he achieved the first time round with the club.

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