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Whatever happened to the player who was immortalised by Thierry Henry in 2004?

Jonathan Fortune will forever be remembered as the player who was nutmegged with a back-heel that went in to the back of The Highbury net in 2004. So where is he now?

First of all let me just remind everyone of what I am referring to in regards to Thierry Henry.

The 10th February 2004is the date and Arsenal are hosting Charlton Athletic at Highbury when Dennis Bergkamp picks up the ball 25 yards out from goal. The Dutch master slides the ball down the right into the path of Jose Antonio Reyes. When Reyes gets the ball out wide ride right for Arsenal he cuts back on to his preferred left foot and pays a ball in to Thierry Henry who appears to have nothing on. The Frenchman has his back to goal and a Charlton defender all over him. But this is Thierry Henry and in a moment of jaw-dropping brilliance he decides the best course of action is to try a backheel through the legs of his tight marker. Unbelievably the ball has enough propulsion to beat Dean Kiely and ripple in the bottom corner of the net for a moment of majesty from Monsieur Henry.

In case you don’t remember it here it is…

Yet what reminded me of this moment of footballing bliss from over nine years ago; well reading recently about the man who was marking him Jonathan Fortune.

Fortune played over 100 games in the Premier League for The Lactics after making his debut in the 2001-02 season and was a regular in the team before his career at The Valley petered out.

A troublesome knee injury was also causing him bother and his time at Sheffield United was a relatively unhappy one before re-signing for Charlton who were now in League One but another injury soon interfered with his return to London and he was released in the summer of 2011.

A year ago he returned to professional football after fully rehabilitating himself and stayed with Exeter City until the end of the season when League Two side Barnet signed him and gave him the captaincy.

This was supposed to be the start of a rejuvenation but after manager Mark Robson was replaced by Dutch legend Edgar Davids Fortune found himself on the bench once again before deciding to leave in January.

So where is he now?

Currently Fortune is playing with Chatham Town of the Ryman League Division One North under the management of his former youth-team-mate at Charlton Kevin Watson.

In a bid to keep fit he has decided to play for the non-league side for the time being and even featured as a STRIKER in a 1-1 draw with AFC Sudbury in February.

His manager Watson had this to say on the deal:

"It works both ways. It’s beneficial to him and us and when he arrived, it brought a lift to the players. He comes with a big reputation because of what he had done in the past. There has been pressure on him throughout his professional career but he’s come here to enjoy himself and to play with more of a free spirit."

It does seem he may always owe his most famous moment in football to a true ‘free spirit’ in the form of Thierry Henry.

image: © Sean Jackson

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