Most Gooners were excited last week when Thierry Henry was named favourite to take charge at AFC Bournemouth. It would have been Henry’s first managerial position in England, and logically a promotion from the Championship could be viewed as a huge step to being the next Arsenal manager.
Arsenal have proven being open to the idea of hiring a young coach. As much as I want Arteta to succeed, I believe due to his legendary status in North London, Henry would not tolerate a lack of standards.
I personally had a few more reasons to be emotionally affected by the idea of our greatest ever goal scorer moving to the South Coast. I had grown up in Poole, Dorset and moved back there as an adult. Bournemouth were my local club. I would attend a few Cherries matches with my Dad who remains an avid fan.
When I was at school, Bournemouth were everyone’s second team, a side you kept your eye on for their results. At the time though they were strictly a League One/Two outfit who always seemed to be struggling financially.
Promotion to the Championship (yet alone the Premiership) was surreal. The Fitness First was the same stadium where they would send people around with buckets, asking for money to donate to the club. So the idea that my Dad’s (he now lives in Greece) passion could now be managed by the greatest Gunner to ever live caught the imagination of my whole family.
In the end it was an anti-climax with Bournemouth announcing this weekend that Woodgate would stay in charge till the end of the season, despite a loss at QPR on Saturday.
To be fair to the Cherries, they never confirmed any interest in Henry. Like most things, the Frenchmen became the bookies favourite based purely on speculation. The latest rumours are that neither party felt it made sense to make this move with the season past it’s half way point.
Henry has always been honest with his ambition – he wants to one day return to the Emirates as our manager. Having failed to turn around Monaco’s misfortunes and having lost in the MLS playoffs, the ex-striker is smart enough to know that due to the fickleness of the sport, he really needs to get his next post in Europe a successful one.
The criteria of getting a club in 6th promoted might have been viewed as too much of a gamble or even unfair?
Henry (or any rookie boss) wants to give themselves the best possible chance of success. That means a pre-season and a transfer window, not picking up someone else’s scraps at the end of February, then being judged on 15 games.
It’s believed the Cherries board were also conflicted, some questioning whether the shortlist was based on what was best for on the pitch or a marketing opportunity? Henry would cost more than a Jason Tindall and it’s believed that if owner Maxim Demin made that kind of investment, he would want to give it the best chance to succeed.
If his club don’t make the top 6 (minimum) then expect interest in Henry to be more concrete, as the Montreal manager would have a whole summer to put across his ideas and would have the resources to build his own team.
Maybe now wasn’t the correct time?
When the time is right though, Henry will coach in England and when he does, start the countdown for Henry to become Arsenal manager…