Vain gamble for Villa?

Thierry Henry spectacularly linked with Villa job

The financial crisis which threatened to consume one of England’s great clubs appears to have eased off for now. Billionare duo Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens may have averted economic ruin in the short term but they now face a big decision.

Steve Bruce is another regime’s man. If history tells us anything, they don’t last very long. Despite Bruce claiming he had “cause for opptermism” following his Friday meeting with the top brass, it now appears that the new owners have their eyes on a new man.

Chalk and cheese

Theirry Henry is the name currently on every Villa fan’s lips. The former superstar player turned assistant manager of Belgium, has recently turned his back on a cushy studio career in order to cut his teeth in club management.

Villa could well be his first stop. If there is truth to these rumours, it would be one hell of a story.

Henry would turn plenty of heads if he were to replace Steve Bruce. The two men couldn’t be more different.

One a gritty defender, who has moulded his teams in his own robust image. The other was a world class, era defining forward who will no doubt wish to bring in a different style of football to the Midland club.

For some, this will be seen as a savvy, albeit left of field appointment. It may just be mad enough to work.

Tough job

Villa are a big, big club. They should be pushing for a top six spot in the Premier League, not languishing in the second tier. No side is guaranteed success but Aston Villa can still draw players in with the gravity of their name.

Coupled with the coup of landing a stellar name like Henry, Villa could become a very attractive proposition indeed.

He has connections and pals everywhere. Generations of young players grew up idolising him and would jump at the chance to work under him. It could well be the start of better times at Villa Park.

Then again it could backfire horribly. Henry is an inexperienced coach to say the least. His playing career will have given him nothing in terms of a comparative experience to life in The Championship.

It’s a 46 game slog contested between a real mixed bag of sides. Some, like Derby County, Bristol City and Norwich City try to play a bit, some adopt a more direct, combative approach. Either way it’s a monster of a league which can be a real nightmare to escape from.

Henry is a student of Wenger and Gaurdiola. He played at the very highest of levels for his whole career. A proven winner, but untested in these challenging waters, it really is a sizeable first job to take up.

If the Frenchman is to be successful in such a tough league then he will likely have to adapt his approach. An all out attacking, possession focused style will not always be possible. If results begin to suffer fans will appreciate the style a whole lot less.

Whether or not he could keep the steel that got Villa the play off finals would be interesting to see.


If Henry were to take on the role, he would also have a task on his hands in keeping the likes of Grealish and James Chester at the club.

Villa are about to begin a third season in the second tier and some of their better players will no doubt wish to try life back at a higher level.

Henry would have to persuade them that he is the man who can guide them there and improve them as footballers.

With PremierLeague predatory club’s prowling Henry will have to manage a situation entirely alien to him.

Learning on the job.

Steve Bruce is not everyone’s cup of tea. However his sides are tough to beat and his record is excellent when you take in to account the club’s he’s managed.

He offers a steady hand and a clear image of playing. Henry cannot provide this. At such a young age, he would be learning on the job at Villa.

With the stakes so high as the parachute payments dry up, the question for Villa’s new owners will be whether its a risk worth taking.

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