Cooney and Black

I wonder how Gary Neville took it when he learned that Sky Sports are paying Thierry Henry £4 million a year – that’s roughly £3 million more than Neville is trousering

Thierry Henry

bynigelclarke

IT beggars belief that Sky Sports will pay Thierry Henry £4 million a year and £24 million over four years to become their latest expert pundit and global ambassador.

I wonder how Gary Neville feels. He is by far the broadcaster’s best armchair expert, and yet he gets almost £3 million less.

Henry was a great goal-scorer, that is beyond dispute, but I have seen nothing from him that suggests he will make an equally talented television expert.

He speaks too quickly, is not clear and concise enough, and lacks the lucidity necessary to press home points under pressure.

Once again, television appears dazzled by the cult of personality.

Henry’s goals made him an Arsenal legend, and he was one of the best finishers the game has seen.

But he has already said he will not be talking about players’ haircuts, or the shirts and boots they may wear. In other words he will not contribute to controversy. ‘I will not be having a go at anybody’ is his claim.

People rightly talk about the great player he was – 228 goals for the Gunners – and the fact that he won every honour worth winning.

Not so widely flagged up is when he deliberately hand-balled playing for France against the Republic of Ireland in the 2010 World Cup qualifier, which led to a goal and defeat for the Irish. They subsequently missed out on the finals.

But Sky, who do appear to get most things right in their total domination of televised football, clearly believe he will give their coverage a massive boost. That remains to be seen.

Maybe as a travelling ambassador Henry will have flowers strewn in his path, but to answer honest questions about top teams, which will include Arsenal, it remains to be seen if he has the courage to front up when asked for his opinions.

Being a great player doesn’t mean it will be an easy transition to the pundit’s chair. Ask Alan Shearer.

While you sometimes wonder if Sky should use subtitles on their Gillette Saturday show, especially when Charlie Nicholas and Paul Merson are in full flow. Sky’s last ex-player pick, Gary Neville, has been an unqualified success.

His call on Man United v. Liverpool as the Red Lion versus the Dog and Duck was quite masterful. So, too, was his co-commentary when Chelsea beat Barcelona to reach the final of the Champions League.

If Henry can get halfway close to him, then Sky’s decision will have paid off handsomely. Somehow I doubt it.

 
 
PICTURE COURTESY OF: Joscarfas

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