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Aston Villa fans should be careful if Henry replaces Bruce

Richard Marsh | 24 July 2018

New owners are making immediate impact

Christmas appears to have come early for Aston Villa fans. In fact, all of their Christmases have arrived.

Billionaires Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris have taken a 55% majority share in the club. Sawiris is reportedly worth £5.2bn, while Edens co-owns the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

They’re expected to complete the takeover at a later stage in a move which would make Villa the third-best financial supported club in England.

But Villa fans shouldn’t be getting too carried away just yet.

Bruce out, Henry in?

This isn’t like the Abu Dhabi Group’s purchase of Manchester City in 2008. Villa are mired in the Championship and are financially hamstrung right now too.

And therein lies a problem. Getting out of the Championship isn’t easy. And it could be even harder if the new owners’ first move is to replace Steve Bruce with Thierry Henry.

Bruce knows the Championship inside out, and after a slow start, he had Villa playing some of the most effective football in the league as they finished fourth.

And that was with all the difficulties going on behind the scenes. His 47% win ratio is the best of any Villa manager since 1934, too. Bringing in Henry is a big risk.

The Frenchman has never managed a club before, and his most recent role wasn’t in club football, having been assistant to Roberto Martinez with the Belgium national team.

Villa’s recent history list littered with disastrous managerial appointments too. Think back to Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde and Roberto di Matteo.

Betting suspended on Henry

Will Henry be another flop? Coral traders have suspended betting on the Frenchman becoming the next Aston Villa manager.

There’s no doubt he has spent plenty of time learning the ropes with Belgium and Arsenal, but that’s nothing compared to managing in the cutthroat world of the Championship.

If Henry hasn’t got what it takes, he’ll be found out.

There’s 12/1 about Villa winning the league this term, but the new owners can’t fully finance or influence the club just yet.

So expect both the club and their imminent rookie manager to spend this season finding their way, before a proper Championship challenge next time around.

These are exciting times for Villa supporters, but it remains to be seen how the new owners run the club. Their first move is certainly a bold one, and time will tell if they called it right.

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