The new year is about sloughing off the old and in with the new. So why, in the first weekend of 2024, are we talking about Jordan Henderson?
Because this writer, and many others, are reveling in the “misfortune” of the news that the disgraced former Liverpool captain is apparently no longer happy in the desert country of Saudi Arabia that he left Merseyside unexpectedly for in the summer.
The Mail reports exclusively that Henderson is very unhappy and has struggled to settle in the new country and the league, despite the massive weekly wages he’s receiving from their government. He’s, of course, not the only former player that is reportedly unhappy with the choice they made to move east, with Roberto Firmino allegedly looking to return to the Premier League as well. The midfielder allegedly told teammates that he was considering other options before leaving for holiday during the break.
Henderson has struggled not only adjusting to the lifestyles of Saudi Arabia, but performing in the heat and humidity, and to crowds of roughly 7,800 fans in a 35,000 capacity stadium. This has probably contributed to his new club’s record, with Al Ettifaq unable to find a win in their last 8 matches before the Saudi Pro League’s winter break. Matt Hughes at The Mail also reports that “the abuse [Henderson] has received for moving to Saudi in the first place, which has been criticised as an allegedly betrayal of the LGBTQ+ community, has also taken its toll.”
The other former Liverpool captain that kicked this whole thing off, Steven Gerrard, is facing criticism himself for the team’s performances, as well as his own backroom problems with his assistant Ian Foster resigning to take over Plymouth Argyle. The two were instrumental in pulling Henderson away from Liverpool and if Gerrard is sacked it would firstly stack the schadenfreude feeling and secondly, be a blow to waning Henderson. 13 of the 18 Saudi clubs have already changed managers, so there is no patience already for bad performances, and Gerrard is surely feeling close to the cliff’s edge.
Returning to the Premier League would also help Henderson maintain his spot in the England National Team under Gareth Southgate, with the Euros on the horizon for this coming summer.
All of this to say that this writer, once one of Henderson’s most ardent and vocal supporters, has no sympathy for his “plight” and will only be more disappointed when he ends up at Newcastle to further sully his reputation (and this time with his hometown club of Sunderland). If it weren’t unprofessional, I probably would’ve put a crybaby gif in here somewhere and labeled it Hendo.
When you choose to compromise whatever moral platform you create for yourself in pursuit of “life changing” payouts, you cannot expect sympathy from those who told you it was a bad idea.