CF Montreal Sporting Director Vassili Cremanzidis confirmed yesterday that Wilfried Nancy is a viable candidate to succeed Thierry Henry as club coach.
Talking to TSN690’s Joey Alfieri, Creamzidis said, “I’d be lying if I said Wilfried wasn’t one of the candidates for the job. I think over the years he’s had a lot of experience at our club. He knows the players, also the young players and he’s learned from several coaches. Wilfried has worked with Thierry Henry, Remi Garde, Mauro Biello and several other people he was able to learn from as well.
“He’s got some very interesting things tactically. Wants to play football the way we want to play in our organization, so he’s got a lot of things going in his favour. Of course the lack of experience of being a head coach to a first-team is something that doesn’t work in his favour, but if we feel he is the right guy we would have no problem putting our confidence in him.”
But Nancy clearly has external competition, with Cremanzidis alluding to having ‘a few serious candidates’ for the position.
He and Olivier Renard were inundated with hundreds of emails and texts beginning from the minute Henry’s departure was announced and feels the attractiveness of MLS plays into the high levels of interest from abroad.
And although the Frenchman’s departure was unexpected, the assistant sporting director described how he and Renard always have thoughts in mind when it comes to finding replacements, similar to what they do with players. “It’s about being prepared and ready to take the next big decision should something happen unexpectedly.”
“We narrowed it down to a handful, but now even less than that in terms of really serious candidates after speaking with many people. We’ll make a decision soon and we’ll follow from there,” said Cremanzidis.
“We are now deep in the process with a couple of people, but there is no timeline yet for any announcement. It will be as soon as possible, but there’s no rush. The first people to know will be the players.”
He explains this by justifying the criticality of the decision in that while pre-season and the immediate future is important, getting the right person in over a multi-year period is the over-riding priority. Patience and due consideration with the process are key requirements, ‘so a couple of weeks, or a week here or there, doesn’t make much difference’.
Apart from Wilfried Nancy’s, most of the interviews have been conducted via phone, Zoom, or Teams video-conferencing by himself and Olivier Renard, with consistent consultation with the president (Kevin Gilmore) taking place.
Vassili Cremanzidis says the club needs to have someone aware of the travel and other unique challenges which MLS brings, but that person doesn’t necessarily have to be the head coach.
This may give a hint to the way he and Renard are thinking and clearly leaves the candidature open to those from outside north America. Should such a scenario play out, Nancy in a role of assistant, could become a more influential figure. A problem that potentially could arise though, is a foreign-based coach who wants to bring his own back-up man or team.
On stability, Cremanzidis says, “You always prefer to have stability, and it’s not always been the case at CF Montreal, nor was it when I was in San Jose before, either. I’ve been in the league for nine years now and I think I’ve worked with ten or eleven head coaches.
“But ideally if the right candidate comes along and he’s interested in staying here for a longer period of time, then yes, it’s good to have 2, 3 or 4 years... at a time. But if someone gets a shot and it’s a year or shorter, because things didn’t work out, that’s just how it is sometimes.
“We do expect someone to be here for two or three years, but if results are not there, then things are going to have to change.”
Check out the latest The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 18). Recorded Wednesday evening the TBIR team discuss the general state of CF Montreal in the wake of Thierry Henry’s departure and recent Re-branding/Renaming...
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