The Hesk has landed!
Following a period of uncertainty about whether we’d have the former England striker back in our lives — that’s seven goals in 62 international caps, so we’re using the term “striker” loosely here — he’s emerged . . . with Newcastle.
That is to say, Newcastle United Jets, of the A-League. In Australia.
We imagined a no-doubt-hilarious exchange with his agent, where Heskey excitedly bubbles about playing with Ben Arfa, Ba, and Cisse (though, perhaps, a perception of the up-front pecking order might emerge as soon as he says those names out loud), finishing with him exulting “Tyneside!” before his agent has to break it to him. (“But, you know, Emile, on the bright side, it’s spring turning into summer in that part of the world now.”)
But Heskey’s maybe the greatest thing that’s ever happened to the Jets. The Guardian reports that the initial run of Heskey #9 jerseys has sold out, and they’re ordering 5,000 more to meet demand. (Of course they gave him #9; he’s probably going to get the captain’s armband too.) The Guardian article does also mention that Jets coach Gary von Egmond ominously said that “he was hopeful that Heskey would arrive in Australia on Friday in match-fit condition.”
But the Jets are pumped. The Jets website boasts the awesome slogan, “It Is Time,” with Heskey doing a “Who has two thumbs and likes Emile Heskey?” pose.) In a recent Sky Sports interview, Heskey talked about how he hopes he and fellow jumper-to-Australia Alessandro del Piero (who’s off to Sydney FC) can make the A-League more relevant. And Heskey’s pumped about the beaches of Newcastle, which certainly beat the beaches of any of his Premier League stops.
Best of all, it gives everyone a chance to dust off their old Emile Heskey jokes, lovingly compiled by the Sun two years ago, even though we might get a current Heskey highlight (or lowlight) on some Sky Sports report at 3:30 am on Fox Soccer Channel, in between repeat airings of Being: Liverpool.
Welcome back, Hesk. We can’t wait to see what it looks like when you launch shots into orbit in the Southern Hemisphere.