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'They're still bitter': 43-year-old given Celtic job warning as speculation intensifies

Few clubs can boast as sizeable an Irish fanbase as Celtic, and that could present something of a problem for Thierry Henry.

Legendary striker he may be, but the former Arsenal man is viewed with little affection by Irish football fans following his handball in the 2009 World Cup qualifying playoff between France and the Republic of Ireland.

Officials failed to see the forward control the ball with his hand, and amid complaints from the Irish defence he set up William Gallas for the winner.

It’s an incident that remains raw for cheated supporters, and with Henry now considered a candidate for the Celtic job it could be one some supporters will struggle to overlook.

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Appearing on the Robbie Fowler Podcast, Henry refused to rule himself out of the running for a role that has been vacant since the departure of Neil Lennon in February.

That was the same month in which the Frenchman opened himself up to a new challenge by leaving MLS side Montreal Impact, but Republic of Ireland legend Ray Houghton expressed reservations about Henry taking the reins at Celtic Park.

Houghton, who was born in Glasgow and went on to play for the likes of Liverpool and Aston Villa, told Record Sport: “Celtic obviously have a huge Irish fanbase and they are still bitter over what Thierry Henry did in because you don’t get any bigger than playing in the World Cup.

“And it’s hard to take when you’re cheated out of it with a handball as opposed to being beaten by the better team over the two legs, so that’s why the supporters have always been very unhappy and the players as you get few chances to get to World Cups.

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“Only the owners can say whether they would take what happened previously with Ireland into consideration and if that’s justification for him not to get the job.

“Owners of football clubs have to make the right choice for them and believe the person they’re bringing in is the one who can make a change.

“As for Ireland and their fans – they’ve have got bigger problems right now just trying to win a football match. But there’s no doubt fans have long memories.

“There’s more for them to worry about right now but Celtic fans want to see someone coming in with Rangers coming back.

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“They want to see someone coming in who will take the team forward and names will be emerging all the time. There will be certain names put in the frame they will either be happy with or they won’t.

“But for me the owners have to be the ones who make the decision because they’re putting their money in and they have to go with who they believe is the right man for the job.”

 

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