Oct 22nd, 2018, 03:17 PM

Timing could not be more perfect for Thierry Henry

By Camille Davis
Image Credit: sconosciuto
Image Credit: sconosciuto
Thierry Henry is finally home

L’Equipe announced that Ligue 1 club, AS Monaco, named Thierry Henry their newest manager on October 13, 2018 after sacking former manager Leonardo Jardim who struggled to help the team break from relegation status. 

Henry the va va voom! 

If you know this phrase, you know I am talking about the one and only Thierry Henry. My brother and I grew up only 15 months apart. Being the eldest he controlled the television because he overpowered and bossed me around, which upset me most of the time. But there was one thing we always agreed on; watching Thierry Henry.

A magician on the pitch, Henry could brilliantly turn some of the most out-of-the-ordinary plays into goals. He glided with the ball at his foot and played the game not only with heart, but with an intelligent eye and mind. My favorite goal of Henry’s took place against Manchester United in October 2000. He had an amazing first touch which positioned the ball to allow him to strike a perfect volley.

And voilà, quel but! Perfectly placed in the top right corner of the net.

Henry made loving the game too easy, watching him play in any game instantly brought the level of the game to new heights. My brother and I were always curious to know how many goals Henry would score, or what insane play he would have in each match. 

Image credit: flickr.com/joshjdss

Henry has always had a special place in my family, as if he were my second brother. His name quickly became a household favorite. I had always hoped he would one day get the opportunity to impart his knowledge of the game to young footballers later in his lifetime.

He finally did, he is back home!

Henry is finally home after leaving his boyhood club, AS Monaco, in 1999; and of course, he is arriving with a stellar football resume. Some of his accolades include a 1998 World Cup title, a 2000 European Championship title, and he is the leading goal scorer in the history of the French National Team.

During his career in the Premier League, Arsenal reported that Henry holds the title for the most goals overall (228), most premier league goals (175), most overall European goals (42), and most UEFA Champions League goals (35). Transfermarkt lists the many other outstanding accolades Henry holds.

Recently, whenever a vacant position in any managerial role came up, tabloids mentioned Henry’s name as a near front-runner for manager. Though considered a novice when it comes to his managerial resume, Henry’s status and honors have certainly warranted him a deserving role as a potential impactful manager in Europe.

During his most recent role as assistant manager with The Belgian Red Devils, Henry helped the team reach their first ever World Cup semi-final match this past year. Henry understands football and has the power to impact players in a variety of ways.

According to Sky Sports, Thomas Meunier, an ex-footballer under Henry during his stint with the Red Devils said of Henry "He was a player and he has an advantage on the other coaches who didn't get a professional career." Meunier then went on to say "Psychologically he knows what to do. He knows how to speak to the players."

While with Belgium, no other manager had such a substantial resume. “He is the most decorated staff member, with a Champions League and five league titles to add to those honors with France. He presents an image of charm, wit, intelligence, and flair.” Reported The Guardian in July 2018.

Joining the Ranks of his Fellow 1998 Coéquipiers

Many of Henry’s teammates from the 1998 world cup championship team have also joined the managerial club. In a recent Business Insider article, they note where the famous 1998 World Cup winning Bleus are now.

Didier Deschamps, the caption of the 1998 world cup team, is the current manager of the French National Football Team.

Zinedine Zidane was the former manager of Real Madrid whom he helped vanquish three champions league trophies among other league trophies.

Patrick Vieira former national and club teammate of Henry is the current manager of OGC Nice in Ligue 1.

Laurent Blanc was a former manager of the French national team and former manager of Ligue 1 powerhouse, Paris Saint-Germain.

So, Henry certainly comes from an amazing group of teammates whom he can always rely on for any managerial support, many of whom have also  vocally supported Henry's recent appointment.

Deschamps said to the The Daily Mail, “'Thierry is ready, he has done everything for this moment. He is ready and full of enthusiasm. He has everything to be a good coach.”

Former Arsenal teammate William Gallas also spoke to The Daily Mail. “When he was a player, he knew every player in Ligue 1, Ligue 2 and the national levels so he's somebody who really is interested in football whether it be in France, Europe or the rest of the world. He just needed the right opportunity to coach.”

Henry might not be able to get Monaco to finish in the top four of Ligue 1, but his reputation and his name alone will certainly attract any players to want to join Monaco either during the winter transfer window, or certainly during the summer transfer window.

Why Henry's Appointment is an important step in Black Managerial Representation in Europe's Top Football Leagues

Image Credit: Image Credit: flickr/Ronnie Macdonald

With Henry as the new manager of AS Monaco, the French Ligue 1 has set the bar high for black managers. Ligue 1 currently holds the most black managers in all of Europe’s five strongest football leagues. Despite Henry’s appointment, this statistic is important for a number of reasons.

The Daily Mail brought up the “Rooney Rule” which states “At least one candidate from an ethnic minority background will be interviewed when the next England manager is appointed.” Also, during the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup, there was only one black manager in charge of the Senegalese National Team.

It is as if room for black managers is being cut, or that black managers are not interested in throwing their hat in the ring because they feel they won’t get the final call.

In Europe’s top five football leagues, the disparity between its black players is fairly significant. For example, in the English Premier League, Chris Hughton is the only black manager whereas the number of black players on each premier league team is relatively high in number. However, now, Ligue 1 has two (previously three) top black managers, and this shows great progress.

Current Ligue 1 managers are Patrick Vieira of OGC Nice, and now Thierry Henry of AS Monaco. Although he just departed during the first week of November, Ligue 1 also had Antoine Kombouaré as manager of Guingamp,