As a moment of brilliance from Thierry Henry ensured his side would lift a trophy at the Emirates Stadium, the bittersweet significance was lost on no one. Henry's feat and the success of the New York Red Bulls were rewarded with cheers; Arsenal's players were shamefully assailed by boos as they made their way off the pitch.
Yes, Arsenal's very own pre-season tournament, the Emirates Cup, managed to simultaneously become a celebration of the club's past and a condemnation of its present.
A yearning for the good old days, embodied by the returning Henry, was transformed into something altogether more vicious as his glorious late through-ball sparked panic, resulting in Kyle Bartley putting the ball into his own net as Arsenal conceded yet another lead and were again deprived of a piece of silverware, however insignificant.
Having indulged in Mexican waves, a phenomenon that Early Doors has no time for whatsoever, Arsenal's supporters, in the loosest sense of the term, displayed the fickleness all too easily associated with the modern football fan by booing their team off.
Yes. Booed off. In a pre-season friendly. After dominating. And following a mistake by a kid. Stay classy, Emirates Stadium.
Doors knows Arsenal fans have plenty of reasons to be upset - top players leaving, a scarcity of high-profile signings, ticket prices on the rise, the continuing presence of Manuel Almunia - but this seemed a particularly pathetic reaction, informed by a strange sense of entitlement. How dare these players not win a pre-season tournament that is largely inconsequential, eh?
When ED tracked down Bacary Sagna in the bear pit known as the mixed zone - an unforgiving arena in which journalists are herded behind metal barriers to watch as a succession of millionaires pretend to talk into a phone - he said he could empathise with the supporters, particularly given that the Emirates Cup is a competition curated by their own club.
"I can understand that [booing], because this is our cup," a sanguine Sagna said. "We organise it. They are a bit frustrated because they want us to win something for them."
No doubt some supporters' frustration was informed by the failure to see Henry in an Arsenal shirt once again as, remarkably, the striker had planned to appear for five minutes in the most celebrated random Arsenal appearance since, well, Jens Lehmann's wholly unexpected match against Blackpool last season.
Henry, adding another entry to the ever-lengthening list of reasons to dislike FIFA, said "weird rules" prevented what would have been easy to write off as a self-indulgent vanity project that would have distracted from the serious business at hand. However, it would have gone down superbly well with a support overcome with a wave of nostalgia that would make even the producers of 'I Love The 1980s' wince.
Charming, dashing and, of course, a quite brilliant player, Henry always has the red half of North London eating out of the palm of his hand on any occasion he returns to the club - whether as a player with Barcelona in March 2010 or as a guest of honour.
The Emirates Stadium throbbed with rumours that he would once again don the club shirt, while the emergence of a Red Bulls training shirt from the tunnel provoked a bout of head bobbing to rival a meerkat colony as fans jostled for a possible glimpse of the man they still idolise.
But while Henry is a figure feted at every turn, this idolatry also confirms that since his departure for Barcelona in 2007, Arsenal have struggled to find heroes to fill his place. Those sepia-drenched memories only drive home the realisation that recent years have been so lean for the Gunners.
Because while Henry was the returning hero, lapping up the adulation afforded him during a particularly prolonged lap of honour, his very presence on the pitch ensured Arsenal's current players suffered by comparison.
When Henry produced a clever backheel in the box after only three minutes, it was impossible not to be reminded of that audacious goal against Charlton. When he stood over a dead ball, sizing up a free-kick that forced Wojciech Szczesny into a diving save, the mind meandered through the memories of set-piece goals against Roma, Chelsea and Charlton again. So many memories, so many trophies.
"It was kind of weird," Henry said of what felt almost like a testimonial match at times. "The fans were cheering me when I got the ball, cheering when I was on the side. So I am clapping and playing at the same time. But it is what it is. You know the love I have for the club and the understanding I have for the fans here."
Those Arsenal fans saw their love reciprocated. While Henry was prevented from wearing the Arsenal shirt again, during his lap of honour he enthusiastically tied two scarves around his neck to inspire hearty cheers.
Sadly, though, the sound still resonating some hours later were those embarrassing boos that greeted the final whistle. Perhaps you get the team you deserve.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This game is very important because we then have a really short time to prepare for the next qualification games. But having an international days before the Premier League season starts is still a stupid idea. FIFA decided this. I remember it was the same two years ago against Holland in Amsterdam." - England manager Fabio Capello is a bit nonplussed by the scheduling of his team's friendly against the Netherlands a week on Wednesday. At least the three remaining competitive fixtures this year will be the last qualifiers the Italian coach will ever have to trouble himself with - he'll have quit by the time trips to Moldova, Poland and Montenegro come around in their World Cup 2014 qualifying group.
FOREIGN VIEW: "People talk a lot about the transfer market but at the end of the day everything is just like it was at the start. Have Manchester United put in a bid for Wesley Sneijder? I don't know and I don't care, but it's not unusual for great players to be in greater demand. I'll say it again: all too often rumours are spread for months and then, when it's all over everything is exactly as it used to be." - Internazionale head coach Gian Piero Gasperini reveals he is just as tired of all the summer transfer speculation as Early Doors.
COMING UP: There will be more pre-season fun this afternoon with live coverage of Valarenga v Liverpool (17:00). The transfer window news ticker is already churning out rumours, hearsay and news of done deals, and later on today Paul Parker will be filing his latest blog.
Away from football, England look to press home their advantage on the fourth day of the second Test against India. Follow live coverage of the action at Trent Bridge from 10:30.