Turmoil, uncertainty, relief, and excitement are the very few thoughts and emotions that have flown through the systems of Aston Villa supporters since their Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham in May.
Fast forward to today, a month from being threatened with administration, Villa now have the third richest owners in English football and reports in the media suggest that the under-fire Steve Bruce is set to be replaced by Thierry Henry as manager.
Villa’s new Billionaire majority shareholders, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, are expected to meet Bruce on Wednesday where the promotion-winning expert could be given the chop in favour of Henry, who is yet to prowl the managerial touchline in an angry fashion. This news has divided opinion amongst the Villa Park faithful.
On one hand, the old-school Bruce failed to win promotion with one of the most experienced and expensive Championship squads the second-tier has ever seen. Whilst, the fresh-faced Henry would be walking into a team that has been severely depleted since that Wembley defeat and could be weakened even further if star man Jack Grealish opts to join Tottenham in the Premier League.
Added with that, Villa still have to comply with Financial Fair Play, which means potentially losing more key players and having to play more youngsters for the forthcoming season. It could be argued that the more modern Henry pips Bruce on those fronts, but with the club still needing stability, both on and off the field, the temptation could be to stick with the safe and experienced hands of Bruce.
As seen with many new owners in the past, Villa’s fresh voices will want to stamp their authority on the Midlands club. It won’t be a surprise if making a bold change will be their sign of intent. On the other side, if Henry does take over, he will be taking risks of a big magnitude.
The Arsenal legend recently quit his punditry role at Sky Sports to pursue a career in management. Henry is still assistant to Roberto Martinez at Belgium, who finished in third place at the recently concluded World Cup. But none of that will have properly prepared the former France striker for life as a manager, regardless of where he ends up.
Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have already dived into the deep end following their appointments at Rangers and Derby, respectively. Henry may well be diving from a higher height if he decides to join Villa.
One thing is for certain, Henry’s managerial road is just starting. But has Bruce’s road to leaving Villa Park just stared?