Obviously, Henry saw loads of success as a footballer, being one of those historical, household names that most people would recognize. But one thing that shouldn’t go without noting is his managerial potential. He has been an assistant to Roberto Martinez at Belgium for a little more than two years now, really beginning the transition from legendary player, to grabbing that first role as a manager. He’s worked with forwards such as Romelu Lukaku, and Eden Hazard, to dominant midfielders in Kevin De Bruyne, and now, maybe the likes of Jack Grealish? Here’s what I’m thinking.
There are a few things that have peaked my interest here, that I have to pass along to you all so that you can see what I’m seeing. First, he was “heavily” linked to the job this past summer, but obviously those rumours were not entirely true, as the new owners came in and Bruce kept his job. We covered a lot of the initial talk, back in July, but things are very, very different now at Villa.
As I said earlier, Henry is a name that is known, and well-respected throughout the world by most, and that is just what Villa need right now. From the obscene 'cabbage-gate' with Steve Bruce on his last outing, bringing in someone like David Moyes would just put him in a horrible spot, right off the bat with fans. Someone like Henry comes in, and fans would surely back him initially, and cheer his name, rather than harass from the stands. That’s step one for Villa. Getting someone who’s respected.
Next, going off that respect, he would get that in the locker room from the players. Some of the things we don’t see from the outside looking in is how these training sessions are ran, what is said between the players, to the manager, etc. Someone like Henry would be an idol to the likes of Kodjia, Tammy Abraham, Jack Grealish, I can go on and on. What this squad needs is someone to take the egos, and find a way to put them together and make them ball on the field. In the right positions, of course.
This brings me to my next point. One of the hardest things it seems for Villa, is to get the right lineup out. From Grealish playing on the left, to having two, absolutely class, loan wingers on the bench, Henry should know where each player would maximize their potential. We have arguably one of the best sides in the league, so it’s about time we start attacking like it. If we could find a way to get Tammy, Kodjia, Grealish, El Ghazi, AND Bolasie on the field at the same time, without completely ignoring the defensive needs, I don’t see any team in the league stopping us from scoring at least twice a match.
Now that I’ve gone on about why Henry would be a good fit, I’ll acknowledge why people could be skeptical: His experience. Especially in a league like the Championship, Henry has little to no experience with the beast that is this league, and the fight for promotion. Some may think appointing him is 'throwing him to the wolves', but with the quality that we have at the moment and the history behind Aston Villa, is that true? If we all expect and hope for promotion, would bringing about a fresh start with a fresh, new manager be the worst idea?
Thierry Henry would have us playing good, attacking football, that we really only saw from that promotion push last January through May, and that’s when the club was at it’s best: fans backing the side, and helping us push forward and upwards, and we were so close. The football that could come along with Theirry has the potential to be something special, and we’ve already seen with Steve Bruce that a 'proven manager who knows how to win promotion' might try to do that not playing the most attractive football, and that did not win the fans over, or win us promotion.
If Henry were to take over and we won promotion, he might just leave to a better job anyways?
Yeah, maybe, but so what? If we go up playing an attractive style, try to tell me that wouldn’t attract managers left and right to our club (if Henry were to even get up and leave a club he got promoted with). This is all a hypothetical, and something that I seem to be in the minority of for genuinely thinking it would work for us, but we’ll see if and when we get to that point.
If Henry is appointed, I’ll sure as hell hope for the best, and back him ‘til the death, as I hope others would. But, even if not, regardless of who the new manager is, I’ll do the same. I just have a sense of serious potential that is sitting there boiling, waiting for a chance from Thierry Henry.