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In the mag: Thierry Henry exclusive! Plus Rangers, Rocastle, Mascherano, Maradona, Chopra, Appleton and more

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First a message from our editor, James Andrew

Two issues ago, we ran a list of the 100 best players in Premier League history – and unsurprisingly, Thierry Henry emerged from it as our worthy No.1.

It’s not normal practice at FFT to feature the same figure twice in a short space of time, but occasionally exceptions have to be made. When we were offered the chance of an exclusive chat with Henry – an interview almost one year in the making – to discuss his career in management so far, we decided our knowledgeable readers would forgive us more of the Frenchman (sorry, Spurs fans – even you). 

As ever, he didn’t disappoint. It’s been no stroll for Henry in the dugout to date, but he spoke to us eloquently about his challenging stints in Monaco and Montreal, how he still draws inspiration from Arsene Wenger – and above all, why the desire to manage Arsenal burns within.  

At the other end of the spectrum, we bring you revealing pieces with Lincoln boss Michael Appleton and ex-striker Michael Chopra, who each open up on their struggles with depression and addiction respectively. In another varied issue, meanwhile, you’ll find great tales from New York, Glasgow, Argentina and a (sadly) slightly less sunny Southend.  

Finally, I’m delighted to say you’ll bag a free Euro 2020 wallchart with next month’s mag. Time to get excited...

Thierry Henry: the manager

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Henry made Arsenal fans the envy of football over eight years in north London, but little has gone his way in the dugout to date. The Gunners great talks FFT through his battle as a boss – and why the dream of coaching his beloved club will never die

Javier Mascherano: You Ask The Questions

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The Argentine great responds to your fine posers on West Ham weirdness, his Liverpool regrets, winning the lot with Barcelona – and very awkward injuries. 

Next-gen gaffers

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Henry isn’t the only legendary player trying his hand at management. From Derby and Doha to Sao Paulo and San Sebastian, icons of the game are cutting their teeth aiming for more glory...

Rangers: the great return

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It’s taken a decade for Rangers to regain supremacy in Scotland, after demotion to the fourth tier and a long, punishing path back. But with Stevie G in charge, the Gers are on top – ruining Celtic’s dreams of 10 in a row

Maradona: the afterlife

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El Diego found mutual love in a hopeless place when he took over struggling Gimnasia in September 2019, defying his doubters to rejuvenate both himself and the ailing Argentine outfit. Since the legend’s death in November, however, things just haven’t been the same in La Plata

Michael Chopra's gambling hell

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He was a self-confessed Peter Pan who struggled to grow up – and it almost cost him everything. The former Newcastle, Sunderland and Cardiff striker speaks to FFT about the gambling problems which blighted his playing career, and how a move to India helped to turn his fortunes around

David Rocastle remembered

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Rocky Rocastle wasn’t just a fantastic footballer – to those within Highbury’s hallowed marble halls, the Lewisham maestro represented something much greater. FFT celebrates the life and career of a Gunners hero with those who knew him best, two decades on from his tragic passing aged only 33

Michael Appleton's mad rise

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His brutal apprenticeship would have scared off most budding managers – but Michael Appleton’s baptism of fire just lit the fuse. As Lincoln dare to dream of second-tier football for the first time in 60 years, he tells FFT of a gruelling journey full of dark places, awful owners and a belated bashing from Fergie

Dennis Tueart and the Cosmos

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In 1978, Tueart swapped Manchester for the Big Apple when he joined the New York Cosmos’ glitzy circus. The NASL giants lived fast and died young, but his memories of Jagger, Beckenbauer and pool parties with Pele made for quite a ride

Going Upfront...

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Chelsea great Michael Essien tells us about coaching life in Denmark with Nordsjaelland, almost joining Manchester United... and getting rejected by Burnley

PLUS, musician Tom Grennan remembers life as a Luton Town youngster, Glenn Hoddle picks his greatest games, we recall Leeds' fixture pile-up from hell, Pascal Chimbonda chats French canals, Jose Luis Chilavert goes for presidency in Paraguay and United City FC rule in Asia.

In the Players Lounge...

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Brad Friedel adores bus anarchy, Gianluca Zambrotta chats Chelsea, Carlos Carvalhal discusses the toilet paper at Sheffield Wednesday, while ex-Red Mohamed Sissoko remembers the time he spurned Barça.

Going Around The Grounds...

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Our new section for the Football League, non-League and Scotland is headed up by Richie Wellens: the ex-Blackpool and Leicester midfielder is aiming to steer Salford to a fifth promotion in seven seasons, having led Swindon to League Two glory in 2019-20.

Elsewhere, columnist Ian Holloway reveals the harsh side of management, we visit Southend for no fun by the seaside, Sunderland are in focus for Best & Worst... and we end in Hereford for an actual bull in a china shop. 

We also bring you our regular quiz, and more of the best stories from Planet Football. Don't miss it! 

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