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Henry Stays Put.... for Now

AFC Bournemouth appoint caretaker Woodgate as interim manager until the end of the season...

Thierry Henry not yet destined for Europe...

Someone with experience to get them back up to the Premier League we were told. Then blinded by luminaries a big name looked likely...

In the end they went for neither.

Instead Bournemouth appointed caretaker manager Jonathan Woodgate (as interim manager until the end of the season), who was brought in by previous boss Jason Tindall as assistant on February 1st, just two days before Tindall was dismissed.

Woodgate’s managerial experience is one season at Middlesbrough, for whom he also played. As manager he won 9 out of 41 games.

All of this appears to be good news for CF Montreal. Should Thierry Henry now remain with the Quebecers, the Montreal project already one year in the making, now looks like being able to continue.

We may never know how close Henry was to landing in the hot seat at Dean Court, or even if he spoke to Dorset’s only English league club formally, but certainly something went on. There’s rarely smoke without fire.

For whatever reason the parties never went forward together. And given there’s fifteen league matches left of this season and Woodgate has been in charge for the last five games, today’s confirmation of his appointment is probably the most practical option for AFC Bournemouth.

The saga has been an interesting and anxious one for many CF Montreal fans, none of whom would have cast a thought to developments on England’s south coast when Woodgate was installed as caretaker manager to succeed the sacked Tindall. It wouldn’t even have been in their consciousness.

Queens Park Rangers v AFC Bournemouth - Sky Bet Championship
Jonathan Woodgate speaking with the press after Bournemouth’s 1-2 defeat at QPR yesterday. His interim appointment quashes speculation suggesting Thierry Henry was about to leave CF Montreal for England.
Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

Names such as Patrick Vieira, David Wagner and John Terry were touted, then on Wednesday, seemingly out of nowhere up popped the name of Thierry Henry. The bookies promptly installed Henry as hot favourite and front-runner for the job.

Sky Sports reporter Mark McAdam tweeted “AFC Bournemouth have spoken to Thierry Henry as they close in on appointing a new manager. The Bournemouth board have been locked in meetings and interviews throughout the last two weeks as they look to replace Jason Tindall”.

That tweet was subsequently deleted inside just half an hour and replaced with “Thierry Henry is someone the Bournemouth board would like to speak to as they step up their search for a new manager.”

But the cat was out of the bag, with the Mirror reporting the Bournemouth board are recommending to the club’s Russian owner Maxim Demin that Thierry Henry should succeed Tindall.

Something was clearly going on...

The English tabloid then went on to say: ‘Should the board get approval from owner Demin, they hope to approach Henry’s club, Montreal Impact, for talks for the Frenchman to take over.’

Reportedly, that official approach to CF Montreal finally materialized on Friday, although if true it’s not known whether it was met with rebuke or agreed to.

In the meantime, Kris Temple of BBC Radio Solent also confirmed that Henry was top choice for the AFC Bournemouth hierarchy, and former England international Karen Carney acting as a pundit on the BBC’s excellent Daily Football Podcast claimed she’d heard, “... he’d [Thierry Henry] blown them away in the interview process”.

But after Friday’s reported official approach to CF Montreal, things fell quiet. Then some late movement in the betting market occurred ironically in the wake of Bournemouth’s 1-2 defeat at QPR yesterday.

Ironic as it was Woodgate’s first defeat in five, yet his odds shortened dramatically and Henry’s began to drift. And perhaps ironic also, since as late as pre-match against QPR, Woodgate declared he hadn’t been interviewed for the job.

And of course then, this morning, as everyone now knows, Jonathan Woodgate was confirmed as the interim manager of AFC Bournemouth until the end of the 2020/21 Championship campaign.

CF Montreal will be happy with the outcome. After its controversial name-change and re-brand, Henry’s departure would have come at precisely the wrong time, coinciding also with assistant coach Patrice Bernier opting to relinquish his role to pursue media opportunities.

Perhaps the Montreal club were at all times throughout the process comfortable, confident that their man was going nowhere.

I’d be surprised if that were the case, but we may never know.

Check out the latest The Ball Is Round Podcast. Recorded Wed 17 Feb, we cover the Henry/Bournemouth situation and other Montreal soccer news...
Every Week - The Ball Is Round...

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