Fans left incredulous as AS Monaco suspends Thierry Henry

A former France international and football great, who had played for AS Monaco and was ready to make his mark as a coach. What could possibly go wrong? Turns out, quite a lot.

On Friday, Thierry Henry was sacked by Monaco after just three months in charge.

The club replaced him with former coach Leonardo Jardim.

Henry has struggled since his appointment as the Ligue 1 side’s coach — overseeing just five wins in all competitions, a record which has left the club in the relegation zone.

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“It is with great sadness that I part company with AS Monaco,” Henry said in a statement. “Despite the struggles and difficulties that we encountered along my short journey, I have still thoroughly enjoyed my time at this wonderful club.

“My ambition and philosophy from the day I joined will always be that the CLUB comes first.

“I strongly believe in this squad of players and that the team with all the recent new signings is now in a better shape to tackle the second part of the season and to go on a wining run and fulfill its full potential.”

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‘Crisis’

Jardim has signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Monaco, which faces Dijon on Saturday.

He was sacked in October after an awful start to the season having previously overseen one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.

Jardim led a youthful side to the 2017 Ligue 1 title and a UEFA Champions League semifinal in the same year.

Monaco’s knack of delivering success and developing players who were then sold on for hefty transfer fees to Europe’s top teams has come badly unstuck this season.

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“Our club is going through a very challenging period,” read a statement from CEO Vadim Vasilyev. “I am ready to admit that I personally bear the responsibility for this.

“We have to acknowledge that during the summer transfer window, we sold too many key players and, despite considerable investments, mistakes were made with respect to their replacement. This did not allow us to create a new, competitive team. The decision to dismiss Leonardo Jardim was also premature.

“I want to express my gratitude to Thierry Henry for accepting this challenge and trying to lead the team of his former club during such a difficult period. He would have probably needed more time to implement his plans. From our perspective, unfortunately, we do not have this time. We need to act without delay.”

“We do believe that our players will gain momentum and that, together with Leonardo Jardim as the manager, ASM will be able to overcome this crisis.”

‘We look like idiots’

As the club has stumbled from one coaching appointment to another, Monaco’s fans have been left incredulous by the club’s precarious position as it battles relegation.

“We look like idiots,” lifelong fan Romain Harent told CNN Sport on Friday, responding to news that Jardim was returning just three months after being sacked.

“Everybody agrees Jardim is a great coach, probably the best in the league. To be honest, I think he should have never left the club.”

Nonetheless, Harent is surprised the club had acted so quickly and suggested Henry should have been given more time.

“We just changed our coach for the second time this season, isn’t that a bit too much?” he said.

“I am one of those who thinks 20 games is not enough to blame Henry.”

Monaco did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Player conflict

Henry’s last league game ended in an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at home to Strasbourg and the World Cup winner was forced to apologize after directing a foul-mouthed rant at opposition defender Kenny Lala.

Henry’s media conference ahead of Saturday’s match against Dijon didn’t create an impression of a club pulling together in troubled times.

“We need guys who want to save the club, who don’t think about themselves. We’re going to war,” Henry said.

Second from bottom, Monaco has won just three league games this season, picking up just 15 points.

“Everybody knows we’re in a very bad place. A lot fear we might be relegated,” Harent said.

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Do great players make great managers?

Henry isn’t the first player to have struggled making the transition to manager.

Most recently, eight-time English Premier League winner Gary Neville was sacked after a disastrous spell as Valencia coach.

However, Henry’s compatriot Zinedine Zidane has proven great players can make great managers.

The Real Madrid legend took over Los Blancos in 2016, winning three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles.