Why Thierry Henry won’t get the Arsenal manager’s job

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Interesting note from Tony, who is at Heathrow airport awaiting his plane.  Apparently the Virgin Media internet connection has barred Untold from public viewing throughout Heathrow Airport as not being suitable for those passing through the airport.   Anyway, he’s smuggled a note to me, asking me to take over for a moment.   Hopefully he’ll have more luck in Korea but meanwhile he is working on another piece about Arsenal under Henry Norris on the Arsenal History site.  So you’ve got me instead.

Look at the little blogs and their pals in the mainstream media and what you will find is article after article attacking Mr Wenger.  Fair enough, they do like the herd instinct – although I do wish sometimes people who correspond with us might actually pause for a moment and contemplate why over 10 years ago this blog was called Untold.   Not Re-telling What Everyone Else Says.

That doesn’t mean that we deliberately publish views that are contrary to the majority but rather, if we agree with the majority we don’t bother to say it because everyone else has already said it.

Anyway, moving on…

Thierry Henry’s name keeps on coming up and up and up again as the possible next manager of Arsenal.

Thierry however comes with a number of problems, the most obvious of which is that he has not managed at all before and that can be a difficulty.  Certainly when the club has tried managers who have not managed before they have sometimes come unstuck.  Billy Wright was an obvious example.

Bertie Mee having not managed before won three trophies in two years and might be considered an exception, but he had worked with the players before he became the manager.  But we must remember that his management spell was one that ended in our almost being relegated (twice), and he also had some incredibly backward looking views, seeking to get rid of the youth teams, and make the reserves semi-professional.   He was also one of those “discipline is everything” men who utterly failed to adapt to changing times – hence he lost a number of players through his obduracy.

Tom Whittaker had not managed before, but he worked from 1925 to 1948 as a coach  under three Arsenal managers who won the league, so he did have a lot of experience and time learning his trade.  Anyone who worked under Chapman was most certainly a man with a bonus.

So reason one: he hasn’t managed before.

Then there is the fact that Thierry talks to the media.   What he said in the aftermath of the City game was very modest and everyday.  Something along the lines of “When I meet Arsenal fans, it’s often, ‘Why are we not winning the league?  The problem that Arsenal have, as a team, is consistency. You need to be consistent.”

There is nothing amiss in that statement really, but the fact that he should not have made it, if he has ambitions to be Arsenal’s manager, because the Star turned it into

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry BLASTS Gunners in brutal assessment of Arsene Wenger’s side

The fact is that you need to be able to handle the ceaseless criticism and attacks from the media if you want to be Arsenal manager, and Thierry doesn’t do that.  He might do well to look back at the attack on Mr Wenger during his first few weeks at Arsenal when crowds of journalists tried to trick him into talking about some appalling not to say disgraceful allegations about the manager.  He out foxed them, showing the board exactly how good he was at the PR side of things.  Thierry has not shown that sort of cunning in dealing with journalists and he really needs to distance himself and learn how to say, politely, “you are a lying scumbag and if you think I am going to give a quote that is of any value you should go and jump off the top board of a swimming pool without any water in it.”  Or something like that.

The third problem Thierry has is that he would be a manager with no experience while working alongside one of the most experienced management teams in the league.   As has been mentioned before on this site, the team that has been assembled is quite extraordinary, and the way it found a route out of the onslaughts over the January transfer window was something to behold.

Finally Thierry has no experience of being assaulted and attacked every day of his working life.  As a journalist he gets an easy ride. Organisations like Sky bow down to him.  As one of the most popular Arsenal players of the last fifty years he is adored wherever he turns up.   But if he were to get a few bad results early on, he would probably find it hard to cope with the assault from those he thought were his friends.

One of the things that kept Herbert Chapman at the club through four fairly dismal years at the start of his reign was that he was used to handling the press.  But even then Chapman submitted his resignation to Sir Henry Norris because of his total failure to deliver in those four years.  Fortunately Sir Henry turned him down and told him to get back to work.

Arsene Wenger got over the “What does he know about English football?” comments by getting the team moving up the table quickly, and bringing in utter masters like Patrick Vieira.  Tom Whittaker did it by winning the league in his first season, as did George Allison.

Maybe the media wouldn’t crucify Thierry immediately, and he would have this superb backroom team that has just come together.  But he would have very little time, because the media and the anti-Arsenal want a story straight away, and by and large they are the dominant writers on the football pages these days.

So four reasons why I suspect he won’t get the job.  But maybe he doesn’t want it anyway.  After all he knows very well what the media and Arsenal Fan TV and the rest are like.

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19 Replies to “Why Thierry Henry won’t get the Arsenal manager’s job”

  1. Great players rarely make good managers/head coaches. Usually,the best ones were mediocre players, like Chapman, Whittaker, Mee and Wenger. (Graham was a very good player, although he admittedly had a very different mindset as a manager).

    As you said, Billy Wright was great player and beloved as an all-aroundngpod person, but not a good manager. Don Howe was an excellent right back and one of the best assistant coaches ever, but couldn’t do the business as the top man.

    Tony Adams has been a horrible flop as a manager. So has Gary Neville. Alan Shearer certainly didn’t get a fair shot For his first try, but it’s got to say something that no one has offered him a second try.

    And as for Zinedine Zidane, as long as Real Madrid’s bank is open, the manager may be the least important person there. Zizou is a figurehead.

  2. Henry is no where near ready to replace Wenger. It’d be a ridiculous appointment.

    What is clear that a suitably experienced replacement needs to be considered and should have been already if the board don’t want the club to endure a preseason of uncertainty.

    I think Carlo Ancelloti would be an excellent choice.

    I just hope Wenger is able to leave on a high with his dignity still in tact. Starting with a much better performance on Thursday night. Weather permitting.

  3. Regarding Thierry and the media.

    When he joined SKY he had a chance to at least attempt to try and stem the tirade of abuse against Arsenal, and Wenger in particular, a man I would of thought he would class as a friend, yet rather than that he became part of the problem.

    Basically he sold his soul.

    As a friend of Wenger he should be ashamed.

    As an idol to Millions of Arsenal fans he should be ashamed.

    I will never forget what a fantastic player he was for us and will forever be grateful for the wonderful service he gave us.

    But as a man I lost all respect for him years ago, and certainly wouldn’t want him in charge.

  4. uncle Mike. you said zidane is a figure head, this is a coach who won back to back Champions league trophy, before he became Madrid’s coach they were playing so badly they had to sack benitez and the change was instant. And the beauty of it is that he refused to buy players anyhow, it’ll be wrong to call him a figure head as he turned things around for a club that was underperforming under Benitez. let’s not allow our passion for this great club cloud or judgment. cheers

  5. Carlos Ancellote is consistently being linked to succeed Arsene Wenger as the new Arsenal manager to the extend that he has moved to London to monitor the situation from there according to media reports.

    However, we all know very well that Le Boss is not a manager that succumbed to pressure to give up his job when it comes to managing Arsenal without a fight to stage a comeback and holds on to his job he’s has held on to for 22 years. The catalogue of managers including Klopp who had attempted to steal Le Boss job without success are many. And I don’t believe Stan Kroenke will sanction any move by the Arsenal board to relieve Le Boss of his job at the end of this season. Not even when Le Boss strengthens his job continuation case by having an eleven Premier League games winning streak starting with beating Man City in the PL on Thursday night at the Ems which if these eleven Arsenal last PL games come Le Boss way, the possibility of Arsenal forcing it’s way into the top four finish this season could still be achieved. And a Europa League Cup win that’s still on the horizon for Arsenal which I believe they will not miss to win but if the Uefa match officiating officials will not do any anti-Arsenal referring against Arsenal in the remaining 7 games Arsenal will have play in the competion to win the Cup as referee Craig Pawson and his linesman cleverly did anti-Arsenal referring against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley last Sunday to deny Arsenal in a Cup final where the application of the VAR on two contentious issues was deliberately overlooked by the PGMO match officiating officials in that Wembley Cup final match.

    So, I think we need to pray for Arsenal and keep praying for them to succeed to surmount all opposition against them as they strive to win the remain eleven PL game and seven ELC games to possibly qualify for the UCL through the League and also win the ELC to double qualified for the UCL next season and to also win a big Title this season too.

  6. The reason Henry wouldn’t get the job is his lack of experience.
    However, the last I heard was that Dennis Berkamp was unemployed.
    He has the experience from Ajax and the respect of the fans.
    Him alongside The Atletico Madrid manager would be incredible. One a master of defence, the other a master of attack.
    Both would be able to bring in world class players and I think it would be a win win situation.

  7. I personally don’t like the way Henry left Arsenal, he took a big extension signing on fee, played a few games because of a back injury then joined Barcelona for a cut down fee.
    He came back on loan as a bit of a has been.
    He was also given the chance on the coaching staff at Arsenal but chose (for a decent salary) to work for sky fair enough.
    But he made the choice and as good a player and legend he was he has burnt his bridges for me.
    Bergkamp for me and Keown or Dixon as defence coach.

  8. No Nitram i lost respect for him when he failed to finish it in Paris after poor Ljunberg was running for 3 people that night. Yes thank you for scoring 3 and 4 against Blackburns and liverpools but when we really needed him….well he showed petit cojones. The clubs top striker bricking it in front of Valdez, not Buffon. He then went to Barca so the messi and co win it for him and wrote us a letter in the Sun..

  9. @ken1945,
    I too have great respect for DB10.
    The problem is his refusal to fly. A major hazard when so many games these days are overseas. 😉

  10. @Hunter 13

    Henry played nine finals with France, Arsenal and Barcelona – didn’t score a single goal in any of them.

  11. Looking at the recent transfers, Tony is right, these are not your typical Wenger buys.

    The next manager won’t be one of the usual suspects.

  12. As I mentioned on a previous thread, i’d like to see someone with some connection to the club. I agree with most here on Henry. Great player. Period. What’s really disappointing is to see Vieira managing one of City’s many clubs and Arteta sitting next to Guardiola. Got the first handshake after the Cup win. They should be in Arsenal Red and either coaching one of Arsenal’s sides or on the bench. This is one of my rare criticisms of AW. They both expressed a desire to earn their badges and AW turned them down. If the board needs experience choose Patrick, if not, Mikel Arteta. Like @ken1945 and others, I’d love to see DB, but as nicky pointed out, he doesn’t fly. Except on the pitch, lol. I’ll support the next manager and the club as I always do. The disrepect to Arsene Wenger by the fans and media is disgusting. The ‘fans’ (they aren’t supporters to me) should look at the body of work, dignity and respect that he has exhibited in his time here. Re the media, I seriously doubt that any of them has achieved in their respective careers what Mr. Wenger has in his. It might be fun to write about one of them in the last year of his/her contract and review the merit of their work during the contract. But they’re contracts and terms are not public knowledge are they? Might be illuminating if we had a look. I’m talking about you Mr. Wilson & Ms. Lawrence, et al.

    As Sir Chips says “We will always be a self-sustaining Club”. If you can’t understand and get behind this idea, please take your ‘fandom’ elsewhere. You’re not a supporter.

  13. I think whoever comes in after a few months will be thinking how Arsene managed to deal with the media for 21 years without hiding like others have done.

  14. City have had several Arsenal players & have picked their brains & copied most of Wengers systems. The Arsenal intellectual property has been stolen by several clubs but Arsenal do not seem to pursue this theft. It has made for better football & several teams have improved because of it. Chelsea were amongst the first when Cole defected to get an insight into the systems. City were more rampant & had ex Arsenal players in every position including sadly in the dugout for the Final. Arteta must have been a key source of information to Pep and it is no surprise that he was the first to be congratulated.

    Arteta might be the one that Arsenal will turn to as he has had good exposure to success.

  15. Menace
    I hadn’t looked at it that way. Thanks for the observation. They don’t pursue it like they don’t pursue the PGMO thieves. I’m not sure why. It’s always puzzled me. The Mourinho’s of the world get one bad call & they moan to the PGMO & the press endlessly.

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