18 days have passed since AFC Bournemouth sacked manager Jason Tindall.
Despite only being with the Cherries for 48 hours, AFC Bournemouth installed Jonathan Woodgate as caretaker manager.
At the time the official club statement read…
“This decision has been taken while the club’s board of directors identify and conduct full and thorough due diligence on suitable external candidates ahead of an interview process, with the aim of confirming a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible.”
The clear and rather obvious inclusion of the phrase “external candidate” more than inferred that Jonathan Woodgate was not going to be in consideration for the role on a permanent basis and in fact right up until the pre-match press conference for the Queens Park Rangers game, Woodgate was still informing the local media that he had not been interviewed for the job or even been given any assurances that he would remain at the club under a new manager.
Jon Woodgate has reiterated he has not been interviewed for the #AFCB job.
— Alex Crook ⚽️🎙 (@alex_crook) February 19, 2021
Instead, AFC Bournemouth appeared to be chasing the attentions of World Cup winner and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
Henry’s link to the role at AFC Bournemouth came into sharp focus on Wednesday when he quickly became the bookies favourite for the job after being given high or even no odds previously.
Sky Sports reporter Mark McAdam tweeted that “AFC Bournemouth have spoken to Theirry 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.”
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) February 17, 2021
But the metaphorical cat was out of the bag. With the Mirror reporting…
Mirror Sport understands the Cherries board are recommending to owner Russian businessman Maxim Demin, that the 43-year-old Arsenal legend succeeds Jason Tindall who was sacked two weeks ago.
The choice for Demin is understood to be between Henry and former Huddersfield boss David Wagner.
But the club’s hierarchy are huge fans of Henry and see him as the man to improve their fortunes.
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.
Kris Temple and BBC Radio Solent also confirmed that Henry was the top choice of the AFC Bournemouth hierachy.
🍒 #AFCB manager update:
We understand that Thierry Henry is on a final shortlist, which also includes David Wagner. #AFCB are keen to talk to Henry, but would require permission from his current employers, MLS side Montreal.
Reports that he’s been offered the job premature
— BBC Radio Solent Sport (@solentsport) February 17, 2021
Karen Carney acting as a BBC pundit claimed that Thierry Henry “blew them away in the interview process”, however that claim came before reports that AFC Bournemouth had actually approached Major League Soccer side Montreal, for permission to officially speak to Henry.
"Henry Blew Them Away in the Interview Process!" – Karen Carney (BBC Sport)#IMFC #AllezMTL #impactmontreal #Montreal #Impact #MLS #CanadaRED #CFMTL #CFM #Henry #ThierryHenry #afcbournemouth #CanadaSoccer https://t.co/9wMLsSD25b pic.twitter.com/MVDrcMK5aQ
— Paul Vance (@PaulVance63) February 18, 2021
That request came on Friday, things had gone quite quiet for 24 hours until the formal request was reported.
🍒 #AFCB manager update:
I understand that @afcbournemouth have, this afternoon, formally requested permission from CF Montréal to speak to their manager, Thierry Henry.
Now awaiting a response. pic.twitter.com/JPHnXe0Kgi
— Kris Temple (@kristemple) February 19, 2021
But then, things fell quiet again until some late movement after the 2-1 away defeat to Queens Park Rangers in the betting odds.
It was Woodgate’s first defeat in five, as he had previously picked up victories over Birmingham City and Rotherham United in the Championship and reached the FA Cup Quarter-Final with a win over Burnley.
Performances had lacked much excitement or identity, but the results were welcomed following four consecutive league defeats under Jason Tindall.
Surely Woodgate hadn’t done enough to earn a job he claimed he hadn’t interviewed for following a disappointing defeat?
But it was looking that way as Thierry Henry’s odds began to drift and Woodgate fell to very short odds before a brief moment when betting was suspended.
On Sunday morning, Jonathan Woodgate was confirmed as the new manager of AFC Bournemouth until the end of the 2020/21 Championship campaign.
Is Woodgate the right choice?
AFC Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake told afcb.co.uk…
“Jonathan’s professionalism and leadership has impressed the board of directors since taking on the role of caretaker manager in difficult circumstances.
“The team’s performances and results have improved under his stewardship, and even our defeat at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday was a display which deserved a better result.
“As we head into a crucial part of the season, stability and clarity is of paramount importance for everyone at the club.
“With that in mind, and having concluded an extensive search for a new manager, we believe Jonathan is the best candidate to lead the team for the final 15 games of the season.”
My main issue with this is what it means long term. If by some miracle we get into the play offs and win them then we’re obliged to keep Woodgate who I think we can probably all agree is not a good long term solution.
Fail to win promotion and we’re a much less attractive proposition for any potential manager than we are now. Equally any new man has not had 3-4 months to assess the squad and will be coming in cold.
Not to mention that it’s clear to everyone that Woodgate was not the boards choice. I thought our board’s incompetence couldn’t reach new levels after the JT appointment last summer, but we’ve somehow managed it. – Join the conversation, click here.