In October 2018, Thierry Henry is preparing to make the leap to the Rock by taking charge of AS Monaco. In his luggage, the Frenchman wants to bring Julien Stéphan, then unknown to the general public. Stade Rennais refuses to release Guy Stéphan’s son and will give him the steering wheel of the Breton club at the beginning of December, with the result we know. But what if Stephan had followed Henry to ASM?
By Adrien Hémard-Dohain
What if Julien Stéphan had followed Thierry Henry to Monaco?
December 3, 2018: Gourvennec replaces Lamouchi In December, Olivier Létang loses patience and fires Sabri Lamouchi, as a final decider of the Europa League group stage draws near against Astana. The decision of the Rennes president surprises, but the name of the successor comes to reassure everyone: it is Jocelyn Gourvennec, just back at Guingamp, who arrives at Roazhon Park. He commands the executioner of the 2014 final, the second that Rennes loses against Guingamp.
February 27, 2019: Rennes eliminated in the Coupe de France Following the quarter-finals, the clash between Stade Rennais and AS Monaco resulted in a sad draw. It was finally with a shot on goal by Sofiane Diop, a former local, that Thierry Henry’s players qualified, without shining. Julien Stephan sips in the shadows, but leaves to greet his former players and teammates. A few days after the blow and elimination against Betis (0-4), Rennes de Gourvennec is heading towards a sad end to the season, without the slightest trophy. Once again, the Bretons line up.
May 7, 2019: Harry Kane punishes ASMDix Days after their Coupe de France victory over PSG thanks to a late goal from Sofiane Diop, AS Monaco is coming down from their cloud. The semi-final second leg of the Asemists Champions League turns into a nightmare, after Thierry Henry responded to the insults of the fans of the Spurs and slapped Harry Kane. From the stands, Titi watched Julien Stéphan achieve the feat of coming back from 3-3, against a cruel penalty from Harry Kane, after a handball from Andrea Raggi. Monaco leans in and sees the final pass before his eyes. Cruel for a team that came back from nowhere in chickens thanks to the Henry-Stéphan duo, before pushing the Old Woman towards the exit in the eighth, and extinguishing the extravagant youth of Ajax in the quarters.
March 7, 2020: A historic derby Since the start of the season, AS Monaco have been running at full speed, apart from their early elimination in the Coupe de France against Saint-Etienne at the end of January. Still in the Champions League race, Henry’s men sit top of Ligue 1 ahead of PSG. But the gap is narrowing as the Parisian machine revs up in early March. After a draw in Nice, the Monegasques are only one point ahead. They don’t know it yet, but the Covid will make them champions of France 2020, despite Jean-Michel Aulas’s lobbying to win the championship.
July 2020: Tony Parker leaves ASVEL Close to Thierry Henry, Tony Parker has been spending more and more time on the Rock since his friend’s arrival at AS Monaco. At the end of the first confinement, during which the two men multiplied Skypers like everyone else, Thierry Henry offered his great friend to come and settle in the Principality to take charge of the Roca Team of Monaco, instead of ASVEL, which in In any case, there is a risk of falling into the lap of OL. Tired of Aulas’s attitude towards the resumption of the championship, Parker accepts and takes charge of the basketball section of the princely club. On Twitter, the president of OL fumes: “@TonyParker great champion, but not yet a great leader. Bcp to learn @MichelDenisot @GervaisMartel #Vraisreconnaissentvrais”.
January 2, 2021: Thierry Henry at the PSGA After two Champions League semi-finals in a row with AS Monaco, but also a 2020 French champion title, Thierry Henry is the fashionable coach on the Old Continent. Side by side with ASM in Ligue 1, PSG have just fired Thomas Tuchel during the holidays. The Qatari leaders fall in love with the 1998 world champion, who arrives in the capital without Julien Stéphan. His assistant is retained by the Monegasque board until the end of the season. A profitable choice as ASM will finish second, in the wheel of Henry’s PSG.
May 23, 2021: Leclerc triumphs in Monaco After the cancellation of the 2020 edition due to Covid, the most glamorous of the Grand Prix returns, in a Principality that does not stop shining on the pitch and that begins to make a name in court. Uninhibited and intoxicated by this Monegasque victory, Charles Leclerc took pole position at the wheel of his Ferrari. And since we didn’t overtake on the streets of Monaco, and since his car remains intact at the end of Q3, the boy from the country finishes a race on his streets for the first time. Better: it is imposed. Between that and AS Monaco’s new victory in the Coupe de France, Julien Stéphan’s first trophy as number one, Rock is celebrating.
May 28, 2022: Macron and Mélenchon in unison The Champions League final organized at the Stade de France turns into humiliation. Henry’s PSG, led by the Messi-Mbappé-Neymar trio in symbiosis throughout the season, collides with the collective force of Klopp’s Liverpool, under the gaze of President Emmanuel Macron, and his Prime Minister Jean-Luc Melenchon. Thierry Henry’s call to vote “Everything except Marine Le Pen” tilted the presidential election, especially in the West Indies. Winner with 52% of the votes, Macron had no choice. But this Parisian defeat offers the two adopted Marseilles a first moment of complicity in front of the cameras. The Emir of Qatar is offended. But whatever.
August 6, 2022: Racing celebrates its return to L1 after two difficult years in Ligue 2, following relegation in 2019 at the end of the Laurey era, marked by a defeat in the Coupe de la Ligue final against PSG (stomped by Guingamp, orphaned by Gourvennec in the semi-finals), RC Strasbourg returns to Ligue 1. After proving Luka Elsner’s bet and finishing 16thme from Ligue 2, the Alsatian club entrusted their fate to David Guion, who relieved the team. La Meinau shows its best colors for this comeback, marked by a gala poster against the triple vice-champions of France. On the opposite bench, Julien Stéphan begins his second full season at AS Monaco, after leading the club to two second places. When Thierry Henry, fired from PSG, returns to Arsenal, the former assistant politely declines.