September 20, 2013
THE BIRTH OF #HENRYING
Social media puts goal celebration into another orbit
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Thierry Henry: “This morning, yeah, the guys showed me some of the pictures. It’s kind of funny at the end of the day. I have nothing behind the celebration, I know you guys were laughing about it but it’s true, I just needed a rest.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. – #Henrying.
After Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry scored the first goal in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC, the team’s captain did the unusual move of putting his right arm out against the goal post in a full body lean, putting his head down and crossing his right leg over his left leg. It was a bit unusual, especially given the euphoria that usually follows after a goal.
The muted celebration quickly became known as “Henrying” and began to trend on Twitter and Facebook on Thursday night, with fans imposing Henry’s celebration image in place of the Statute of Liberty and next to celebrities, ranging from a ‘twerking’ Miley Cyrus to Muhammad Ali.
The buzz about the celebration and the comic fallout has been a social media firestorm for the team and even Henry has become aware of it.
“This morning, yeah, the guys showed me some of the pictures. It’s kind of funny at the end of the day,” Henry said. “I have nothing behind the celebration, I know you guys were laughing about it but it’s true, I just needed a rest.”
The celebration was odd for Henry, who in the past has done everything from placing a finger over his lips to shush a crowd away from home and then to yelling and screaming in an impassioned fashion at his own supporters. Then there was a poignant celebration in 2010 during his first year with the team when only days after former Red Bulls teammate Carl Robinson lost his father, Henry marked his goal by dropping his black armband to the ground, and then motioning with his hands a spirit flying to heaven.
As with most social media storms, this all came together very quickly and underscores the quick thinking and vision of the Red Bulls social media department, considered to be the most cutting edge in MLS.
On Monday, fans on the team website voted the photo of Henry post-goal as the top image from the match, with more than 50 percent of the vote in a total tally that was announced the next day. Then on the team’s official Facebook account on Wednesday, the image was asked to be given a name, with the overwhelming choice being “Henrying.”
To see the impact this moment had, the Red Bulls Wednesday post on Facebook has gotten 455 ‘likes.’ For comparison sake, the previous post that day had 38 ‘likes,’ a Q & A with midfielder Dax McCarty. The next post was a game preview, that generated 43 ‘likes.’ In short, the impact of Henrying dwarfs their typical social media norms for the club.
On Friday morning, general manager Jérôme de Bontin appeared on Kick TV to talk about the phenomena with host Jimmy Conrad. The two then posed in an Henrying pose after the interview.
The official Red Bulls twitter account has retweeted 11 images related to Henrying, including fans posing in their own version of the celebration.
All this is quite a buzz, nowhere more buzzworthy than in the Red Bulls locker room.
Midfielder Tim Cahill, himself a social media maven with a large Twitter following, wants to see more of Henrying from his captain.
“It’s fantastic. With social media, with networking with the fans all around the world, Titi is one of the renowned athletes,” Cahill said. “Anything he does is definitely going to be an impact. I think if some of the lads get a few goals this weekend, we might throw that in the [celebration] as well.”
Don’t count head coach Mike Petke as one of those aware of the social media trend. Petke had to be informed by the media of the buzz around the goal celebration and the different avenues that the fallout has gone.
When he was shown on Friday afternoon the photo involving Henry and Cyrus, Petke could only chuckle and muster an “Oh my God, that is ridiculous.”
He seemed amused by it all but Petke wouldn’t admit to actually Henrying himself.
“I won’t talk about my personal life,” Petke said jokingly. “No, I’ve definitely not Henry’ed yet but that’s pretty funny actually. I will have to get that printed up and put in the locker room actually.”