Thierry Henry For Bournemouth Manager Job
February 19, 2021
Is Championship club Bournemouth reaching for the stars? Football pundits are in two minds about the current speculation surrounding Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry. The 43-year old Frenchman – formerly a celebrated striker for Arsenal and Barcelona, and FIFA World Cup winner amongst his many achievements – is being touted as the next manager of AFC Bournemouth. The possibility is whetting the appetites of many punters just now and the odds for Henry being next manager for the Cherries have moved dramatically from 25-1 to 1/ 2 with bookmaker William Hill during the past 24 hours, making Henry hot favourite to take over from caretaker manager Jonathan Woodgate.
After retiring as a player in late 2014, Henry joined the Sky team as football pundit before moving into management. He was appointed head coach of Major League Soccer team CF Montreal in 2019 after gaining experience with Arsenal youth teams, the Belgium national side and an ill-fated spell at Monaco. His two-year deal in Canada will finish at the end of the 2021 season, but he may well be tempted by the Bournemouth job, particularly as the team are currently 6th in the table and retain a realistic chance of returning to the Premier League next season.
Henry’s appointment would certainly provide plenty of va-va-voom in the Championship although pundits are concerned that he lacks sufficient managerial experience to operate successfully in the league. Speaking on Soccer Special, pundit and former Gunner striker Paul Merson is cautious about the prospect of Henry being appointed manager at Bournemouth, saying “He’s one of the best players to ever play in the Premier League, without a doubt, but it’s so much different managing in the Championship. It’s relentless. Personally, if I’m Bournemouth, I want to go with someone who’s been in this league before. The manager who comes in needs to know what this league’s about. Bournemouth need to go back up.”
The Cherries are currently eight points adrift of automatic promotion to the Premier League. On 3 February – following a 2-1 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday – the club sacked manager Jason Tindall, who was only appointed in August last year after the departure of Eddie Howe, with the club stating that “recent performances and results have fallen well below the board’s expectations”.
One man’s loss is another man’s gain and Jonathan Woodgate, who had started his new job as coach of the first team on 1 February, was appointed caretaker manager in Tindall’s place. Woodgate, formerly manager at Middlesbrough, has risen to the challenge and already the team has an impressive run of four match wins. Interviewed after the recent 1-0 win over Rotherham, Woodgate refused to be drawn on his chances of being appointed manager of Bournemouth, merely saying “I don’t know what is happening yet. I will speak to the Board and see where we go. It is a boring answer but I will take it one game at a time. That is the right answer”. Bookie William Hill offers odds of 9/2 that the Board will appoint Woodgate as permanent manager.
Other names thrown into the ring include Henry’s former team-mate Patrick Vieira who managed Nice before being sacked in December, with odds of 16/1 also from William Hill. John Terry, assistant head coach at Aston Villa, is a contender, with odds of 12/1 from bookie Skybet. And David Wagner is also tipped for the job. Currently, manager of Bundesliga club Schalke 04, Wagner was manager of Huddersfield Town for over three years and he may well be interested in a move to the Vitality Stadium. Skybet offers odds of 6/1 that Wagner will be the next manager of Bournemouth.
The final decision rests with the owner of the club, Russian businessman Maxim Demin. Following Bournemouth’s relegation last year, after five years in the Premier League, Demim made it clear that he remains committed to the objective of a swift return and certain events of the past couple of weeks demonstrate that he will not hesitate to take action in order to achieve that aim. The Board intend to make a swift decision regarding appointment of a permanent manager and it will be interesting to see how much weight they will place on candidates’ star quality versus solid coaching experience.