It’s been a few months consisting of the good, the bad and the ugly for Thierry Henry.
The good: Finishing in third place at the 2018 World Cup as assistant manager of Belgium, narrowly missing out on a place in the showpiece final.
The bad: Being heavily linked to the vacant Arsenal manager’s role as one of the Kroenke family’s top picks, before missing out to the experience of Unai Emery.
And the ugly: Having to contemplate working with John Terry as his No2 (heh) when Aston Villa came calling about their own managerial vacancy. Nobody deserves that level of professional punishment, do they?
But it’s all come together for Henry in the last few days and his career as a full-blown manager finally has lift-off. Over the weekend, it was confirmed Mr Va Va Voom would be returning to the club where it all began for him, Monaco, this time as their new superstar manager.
It’s a move that has a nice glint of symmetry about it: at the club he was given his playing debut by his soon-to-be mentor Arsene Wenger, he returns to make his first steps into management.
It’ll be genuinely fascinating to see how Henry gets on dealing with the countless intricacies of football management with the spotlight firmly on him in the south of France. And his desired career path makes it all the more interesting.
Titi has never hidden the fact he wants to become Arsenal manager one day – he even told Graham bloody Norton all about it back in 2014 – and he’ll need to shine in France to keep that dream alive.
Given both his Monaco deal and Unai Emery’s Arsenal contract expire in 2021, that opportunity could present itself in as little as three years.
So it’s vitally important Henry hits the ground running as quickly as he used to on the pitch.
Fortunately for the Gunners’ record goalscorer, we’ve devised a simple plan he can follow to make sure he stays on the right track all the way to the Emirates Stadium dugout.
All he needs to do is these six things…
1. Qualify for the Champions League every season
This is an integral requirement for any Arsenal manager and Henry simply must show he’s capable of doing it at Monaco.
Sure, winning the occasional domestic cup is all well and good, but that doesn’t pay the bills at the Emirates. Actually, let us put that another way: that doesn’t pay for giant new Texas ranches for the club’s American owners.
More cash for more foreign farmland will keep your future bosses happy Thierry, so demonstrating you’re capable of sitting at Europe’s top table is utterly essential.
Feel free to get knocked out at the last 16 stage every year, mind.
2. Ensure all top players run down their contracts
Where’s the fun in having a player tied down to a boring long-term contract, when instead you can let them have the club well and truly over a barrel in the last few months of a deal?
Arsenal are a club filled with traditions, but their newest is somewhat odd. In recent years, the Gunners have constantly found themselves punished by contractual mismanagement – whether it’s Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Alexis Sanchez departing to fierce rivals, or Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil eventually signing ludicrously inflated deals. Of course, Aaron Ramsey is the latest player in this particular game.
Monaco may have auctioned off €750m of talent in the past four years, but there remains class on the pitch that will continue to attract suitors from across the continent.
If Henry completely forgets/doesn’t bother with tying them down to new contracts, he’ll be ticking another box on the Arsenal manager application form.
3. Get the upper hand on Patrick Vieira
There is every chance that when the Arsenal job eventually does come up again (surely it won’t be another 22 year wait, will it?), one of the main competitors Henry will have for the role will be his dear friend and former captain Patrick Vieira.
Fellow Gunners legend Vieira took the Nice job in the summer, so it makes it all the more intriguing that the two Frenchmen will be going tête-à-tête in Ligue 1 for the foreseeable future.
That starts with a showdown in Monaco on 8 December.
If Henry can prove his worth against a former teammate who boasts far more managerial experience than him, he will surely go into pole position between the two.
4. Beat Tottenham at all costs
Thierry Henry’s record when facing Tottenham Hotspur as a player is a very proud one. In 11 meetings, Henry came out on the winning side seven times, never losing, and bagged five goals along the way.
You can take the player out of the North London derby, but you can’t take the North London derby out of the player, as that famous football saying goes (ahem).
If Monaco were to face Spurs in any guise, whether it be in Europe or pre-season, Henry simply cannot afford his club losing against them. God knows Arsenal fans have experienced that enough against their bitter rivals in recent years.
5. Invest in a sleeping bag coat
Zip or no zip, any manager who wants to be taken seriously at the Emirates needs to be able to pull off the comedy overcoat look.
We’re yet to see Emery’s credentials in this department, but surely Henry – a man far more in tune with the world of fashion than most football managers – will make any farcical amount of winter insulation look good.
This would be a bonus for Arsenal’s all-important bank balance too, given the club knock out replicas for £100 a pop and everyone will want a slice of Henry’s fashion. Double tick.
6. Get Arsenal Fan TV’s seal of approval
Having the fans on side from the moment you’re appointed isn’t vital to a successful career at a club, but it certainly helps. Even with Henry’s untouchable legend status at Arsenal, that won’t necessarily make him the right managerial choice in fans’ eyes when the time comes.
So given Arsenal Fan TV reckon they speak for the worldwide fan base, Henry will need to get the channel’s seal of approval if he is to be offered the chance to sign on the dotted like at his beloved club.
After all, what chance does anyone have if not even Troopz reckons you’re a true boss man, fam?
Then again, impressing this motley crew of ranting oddballs won’t be an issue if Unai Emery gets his way and they’re shut down under his watch…
Bon chance, Thierry!