It’s no surprise Thierry Henry has been sacked as Monaco manager, we should all just be grateful he wasn’t given the Arsenal job.
During the summer there was a real groundswell of opinion that Thierry Henry should be welcomed back at the club as their new manager to replace Arsene Wenger.
It didn’t matter that it would mean replacing Arsenal’s most experienced and successful manager with one with zero experience; pundits, fans and, reportedly, Josh Kroenke, all wanted the Frenchman.
Thankfully, common sense won out and the job went to Unai Emery but the same cannot be said of Monaco who have sacked him after only three months in charge.
He needed more time, they said, something they don’t have given their position of 19th in Ligue 1. It wasn’t as if they weren’t in trouble when they hired him, but it seems they expected him to work miracles from day one. If they didn’t, why give a manager who needs time a job where he won’t get it?
I don’t think anyone expected Henry’s managerial debut to go quite as badly as it has, a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Strasbourg the last straw. But there was nothing to indicate it would go well, either, unless you think a few months putting out cones for Roberto Martinez is enough experience to take on a top European job.
Thierry Henry wants to be Arsenal manager. Of that, there is absolutely no doubt.
Not only has he said it repeatedly, while also mouthing platitudes at the same time about not disrespecting the current manager, he also had his pals at Sky Sports push that agenda too.
If Arsenal asked for his help, he said, he would, of course, have to say yes.
Except that’s not really true, is it?
“Listen, I’m a competitor, you don’t back down from a challenge,” Henry said.
“We are hypothetically speaking before people jump ahead of everything, [but] I have never backed down from a challenge since I was young.
“If you love a place and they ask — I repeat, they ask — for help, you are always going to say yes
“If I had listened to people who were talking about where I was going to be, I would not have been here.
“When I arrived at Arsenal, they said to me, ‘Why are you outside of the box, you will never score goals?’ with my position being on the left or whatever it was. You don’t back down from a challenge, you always think that you can.
“When I came back to play for Arsenal, everybody, all my friends were saying, ‘It can only tarnish your legacy, why are you going back there?’
“If you love a place and they ask — I repeat, they ask — for help, you are always going to say yes. What I am saying to you is again, we are talking about hypothetical thoughts.”
Arsenal not only asked Henry to return but offered him a coaching position.
A private club, as Henry should know, they had one stipulation – that he give up his role as a pundit on Sky Sports that often saw him have to criticise the very club he would be working for and the players he would be interacting with on a regular basis.
Henry then took up an assistant role with the Belgian national team. Not a club side, but a national one that meets far less frequently and comes with much more free time for, well, punditing, I guess.
When I told my teachers in school I wanted to be a journalist, they told me it was too hard an industry to get into and to choose something else. I opted to leave school instead and bum around in dead-end admin jobs for a few years. Then I decided I was going to go for it.
I spotted an ad from a magazine looking for a salesperson, figured they might need some other staff, phoned them up and sold myself. I told them I had no professional writing experience but plenty of admin knowledge and was happy to be the general office dogsbody for half the pay I was currently earning (ie £80 a week) if the editor would give me a chance to write.
It didn’t matter that I knew nothing about architecture and it was an architectural magazine. I wanted to write and I wanted guidance from someone who knew the industry and I was willing to make sacrifices, in terms of both time and money, to make that happen.
Henry claims he wants to be a top manager, but what is he doing to show he deserves the role or even that he is desperate to get it?
He seems to believe that because he was a playing legend that gives him some sort of right to top positions, but it doesn’t work like that. Or, at least, it shouldn’t.
The world’s best GP can’t become a surgeon just because she fancies a go at the job. She has to undergo further training, gain valuable experience under the guidance of those who have been doing it for years, and show some sort of desire to be good at the job.
Henry may well go on to be a world-class manager, but there is not one single thing you can point to with any certainty that says he will.
I also get the sense that for Henry this is less about learning a trade than it is about his own ego and that never, ever ends well.