The Impact of Henry

Or lack thereof

Bournemouth apparently didn’t get their man. Yet.

After five days of speculation that Montreal NoImpact manager Thierry Henry was about to re-locate from the Island of Montreal to the south coast of the Island of the United Kingdom, the Cherries put the breaks of all the speculation by confirming that caretaker manager Jonathan Woodgate would continue to take care of Bournemouth until the end of the season.

That means that Henry is still Montreal’s manager, in reality, if not in spirit.

But, Montreal Realtors aren’t knocking down the Frenchman’s doors just yet. The speculation in England is that this decision is based more on Henry suggesting that he wanted a full season to work his magic at Bournemouth, rather than coming in for the stretch run only.

That’s the positive spin, anyway. Someone more cynical than I might suggest that a manager that has failed at Monaco and barely made a dent at Montreal would probably not want to risk failing for a third time at Bournemouth, who are right there on the cusp of the promotion playoffs right now. It’s better to wait to let Woodgate screw it up and then come in without the same pressure next August.

One problem – if he even sees it as such – is that he’s under contract with the NoImpact.

And, that’s the problem for Montreal.

In fairness, we haven’t heard from the man himself yet (Looking forward to the NoImpact training camp opener press availability. That should be fun). Possibly this was all just made up, but it’s hard to imagine that there wouldn’t have been a firmer denial (or any denial) by the professional soccer team that plays in Montreal, if that was the case.

So, let’s assume that Henry was playing footsy with Bournemouth and that he’s interested in getting the hell out of Montreal as soon as possible. It’s hard to understand what the benefit to Montreal is by keeping him around, if that’s the case. Maybe to get a little bit of allocation from Bournemouth to break his contract? That’s a bit like sticking with a romantic partner that’s cheating on you so you can demand to keep their PS5 when they move out.

When Montreal hired Henry in November 2019 the move was seen as a bit out of the blue, but probably worth the risk. Henry had next to no managing resume, but, you know, he was Thierry Henry. That celebrity, it was thought, would give the then Impact a bit of a boost in the local market and might make player recruitment a little easier.  There were questions about his ability to do whole coaching thing, but he could grow into that in Montreal. There was limited pressure on him to immediately succeed, after all. He would have time to grow with the team there.

So, it seemed like a good fit.

Flash-forward 15 months and many of those positives have failed to materialize. Part of that’s not his fault. The pandemic eliminated the possibility of attracting more fans to the stadium and affected recruitment. He failed to deliver on these fronts, but there was still time to reverse that.

In terms of the “whole coaching thing,” well…y’all watched the NoImpact last year, right?

Again, still time to fix that. Except, it appears that he’s no longer interested in doing so.

It’s here that the Montreal professional soccer team needs ask itself if it have any self-respect. If this story is true then why would Montreal want him back? They still can’t take full advantage of his celebrity and, as a manager, what evidence, exactly, is there that he’s any good? At all?

The NoImpact are a long-term fix. Is one more distracted season from the great former player and current sub-par manager really the best option to still be leading this club?

If he wants out, let him go. Then go find someone that may not be as sexy, but might actually be committed to Montreal.

Finally, Bournemouth would be wise to look carefully at his motivations, as well.