Thierry Henry’s managerial career is not off to the best start. The former Arsenal legend took over at AS Monaco in France’s top division back in October, with the club in the relegation zone following the firing of former manager Leonardo Jardim. Henry’s task was straightforward, if not easy: keep the side up in Ligue 1.
On Thursday, just three months after hiring Titi, the brain trust at Monaco decided that he was probably not the right man for the job, and suspended him immediately from his duties as manager. The statement announcing the suspension was short and sweet:
AS Monaco announces that it has decided to suspend its duties as coach of the first team Thierry Henry from this day and waiting for a final decision.
Franck Passi will train the professional group this Friday.
On its own, this is not surprising. Under Henry, Monaco went 2-7-3 in the league, for a total of 9 points in 12 matches; they had previously nabbed 5 points in nine league games under Jardim this season. So, a slight improvement in points per game but still not acceptable for a team that is fighting for its first division life.
Monaco’s squad has been depleted since the club’s foray into the Champions League semifinals back in the 2016-2017 season; all of the young players who played big roles in that success (Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Fabinho, Tiémoué Bakayoko, and especially Kylian Mbappe) got poached by the biggest clubs in England and also Paris Saint-Germain, leaving Monaco to fend for itself with a much weaker side. You could say that Henry was put in a no-win situation, and did about as well as you could expect.
Henry didn’t do himself any favors with his erratic managerial style, though. According to Transfermarkt, the new coach used nine different starting formations in his 12 games in charge, swapping formations pretty much every game with no real success. Meanwhile, new January signings like Cesc Fàbregas and Naldo didn’t provide immediate results, with the team picking up just two points in three matches this month.
Henry also didn’t help his case over the weekend when, after a 5-1 loss to Strasbourg, he told opposing defender Kenny Lala that he had a “whore of a grandmother” in a heated argument. Henry would later apologize, saying he was using “the language of the streets,” but no matter; it was just another embarrassing bit of news for a club dealing with potential relegation.
Off the field, Henry decided to deal with first-team players supposedly caring more about their transfer value than the team’s success by banishing a sizable chunk of the squad to the reserves.
It was always going to be easier for Monaco to just replace Henry than to follow through with exiling half the squad, and so, while they haven’t officially fired him—Thursday’s action is just a suspension—it’s a matter of time.
Who will replace Henry if he is in fact fired? The most intriguing option comes from a report from Sky News, saying that Monaco’s leaders might just reload their save and try again with Jardim; perhaps they realized after Henry’s disastrous tenure that it was the squad and not the manager to blame for their historically poor start to the campaign.
And Henry, well, he will likely be welcomed back with open arms to the pundit class, where he was a part of one of the funniest soccer television reactions of the last few years:
Update ( 1/25, 3:52 p.m.): It’s official, Monaco has fired Thierry Henry and replaced him with Leonardo Jardim: