Thierry Henry, Mikel Arteta and Michael Flynn: The most random WhatsApp group ever?


On Saturday night, Michael Flynn’s brave Newport County team saw their FA Cup run come to an end at the hands of Manchester City, losing 4-1 to the Premier League champions at Rodney Parade.

On reflection, the scoreline may well have been slightly cruel against the League Two side, who conceded twice in the final minutes of the match as City put the game to bed once and for all after Padraig Amond gave the hosts a glimmer of hope.

Few were expecting an upset, with Newport priced at 35/1 to get the win against one of the top sides in Europe, who now go onto face Schalke on Wednesday night in the Round of 16 of the Champions League.

Next up for Newport is a slightly less glamorous trip away to League Two strugglers Notts County at Meadow Lane, with the Welsh team looking to get their promotion hopes back on track.

What many people wouldn’t have known is that Saturday’s FA Cup tie brought together an unlikely reunion between a member in each of the team’s dugouts. Newport manager Michael Flynn and Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta both studied for their Pro Licence coaching badge alongside each other, becoming part of a WhatsApp group in doing so alongside some of their fellow students.

They include Arsenal legends Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg, as well as Liverpool’s assistant manager Pep Lijnders and Welsh Premier League coaches Andy Morrison and Colin Caton of Connah's Quay Nomads and Bala Town respectively.

Henry Arteta


It is perhaps the most random collection of members in a WhatsApp group of all-time, featuring a number of unlikely associates, but such is the world of football that the members of the group still keep in regular contact.

When Man City thrashed Chelsea 6-0 ahead of their impending clash against Newport, the WhatsApp group was pretty lively with comments aimed in Flynn’s direction ahead of what could stand in their way.

In the end, Flynn’s team put up a decent fight - better than what can be said of Chelsea - on the muddy surface at Rodney Parade and gave an insight into what it is like being in such a group.

"There were a few things after the Chelsea game - I think they were trying to do a bit of scaremongering," Flynn told BBC Sport Wales.

"We still have the WhatsApp group from the coaching course and we all bounce ideas off each other and share in each other's success.

"It's brilliant because there are people from all levels, whether it's bottom or top, and people out of work or in work.

"Everybody is respected in the same way and that's what our course was about - we can all learn from anybody."

Flynn looks up to Guardiola, sharing an exchange with the Spaniard before the game in which he addressed him as a ‘genius’. It was he, not City’s star-studded squad, that Flynn was most excited about hosting at Rodney Parade.

"Manchester City have probably the got the best manager in the world right now," he added.

"I think it means a little bit more that he is coming down to Rodney Parade.

"He has been to the Etihad many times and to beautiful stadiums all round the world - but he has never been to Newport.

"For him to come to Rodney Parade, and to share the touchline with him, is something I'll be very proud of."


It turns out there were plenty of links between Flynn and City over the weekend, as Wales assistant manager Owain Roberts explained.

"Mikel and Flynny did lots of work together as part of their course. I know Mikel, as was the case with all the candidates, has a lot of respect for the work Flynny has done at Newport.

"There is a lot of banter on the WhatsApp group, but they all look out for each other.

"If one of them has a good result, the others will congratulate him. If someone is going through a tough time, the others will show support and try to push him on."

Few people would ever expect Flynn to be associated with the likes of Henry, Arteta and Ljungberg, but the magic of the FA Cup helped reunite one of the more unlikely friendships in English football.

Bet £10 & Get £40 in Free Bets! ☘️
Paddy Power
New customers only, place a €/£10 bet on any Sports market - min stake €/£10, min odds 1/2 (1.5) & get €/£30 in free bets + a €/£10 free bet on in-play Horse Racing. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. Free bets are valid for 30 days and must be used on a Sports market. After the the qualifying bet has settled, €/£30 in free bets will awarded automatically & in-play racing free bet will be available to claim from the promo hub. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus


William Hill
New customers using DETTORI20. A maximum £1 can be stake at 20/1. Bets placed from 09:00 on 14/06/2019 until 14:30 on 18/06/2019. Returns paid in 4 x £5 free bets. Player & currency restrictions & terms apply.
Claim Bonus
🔶 Bet £10 on the first race at Royal Ascot & get £5 free for EVERY other race 🔶
New customers only (+18) • £10 deposit using promo code "RACE888" • Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) • Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free bet stakes not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method, withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply
Claim Bonus
☘️🎩 Bet £20 get £50 at Royal Ascot 🎩☘️
Paddy Power
New customer offer, place a single £20 (or £10 e/w) Sports bet in the 14:30 Ascot, 18th June and get a £10 free bet for each of the subsequent races on the Card. Deposits using credit/debit cards or PayPal only. Free bets are only valid for the specified race and are awarded when the qualifying bet has been settled. Free bet stakes not returned with winnings. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🚀 Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets!
New Customer Offer 18+. T&Cs Apply. Free bets non withdraw-able. Single & E/W bets only. Free bet stake not included in returns. 30 day free bet expiry.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits.Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits Stake. Time Limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
Grosvenor Sport
Only valid for new registrations to Existing members do not qualify. Bet must be placed using real money in combination with the Odds Boost Token. Offer applies to Sport bets only. Maximum total stake is £10. Each way bets are a maximum of £5 each way (£10 total stake). If you stake less than £10 you will forfeit the remaining amount of the odds boost token. 'Double the odds' refers to fractional odds only. For the avoidance of doubt, it is the profit from the eligible bet that is doubled. Extra winnings are paid in cash upon bet settlement. Customers have 60 days after registration to use the Odds Boost token. A maximum of 1 offer is available per person, household, IP, device, e-mail address or payment details. Members depositing with Neteller or Skrill will not be eligible for this promotion. Member bet limits also apply to Odds Boost token placement.
Claim Bonus
| New UK customers only | min bet £10 | match max £25 free bet | Min of 3 selections in accumulator | min odds per selection 7/10 (1.70) | Free bet stake not returned | Certain Markets/sports/payment methods restrictions apply | Qualifying bet must be made within 30 days | Free bet valid for 30 days | T&Cs Apply
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 👏🏻
New customers only, place a min €/£10 bet on any Sportsbook market at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) and we’ll give you €/£30 in free bets. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. See below for full T&C's.
Claim Bonus
🏆 Get a RISK FREE bet on any sports market up to £20 - money back in CASH if it loses! 🏆
Paddy Power
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
Claim Bonus
⚫️ £30 Welcome Offer! ⚫️
*New UK & Ireland customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £30. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Credit Card, Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 💪🏻
New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method & withdrawal restrictions apply & full T&C’s apply
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & Get £30 in Free Bets 🌟
New Customers Only. Deposit via Credit/Debit card only and bet £5 @ odds 2.0+ within 7 days of registering; Cashed out bets excluded. Get 2x £10 free bets, valid for set types (1 @ odds 2.0+ or greater) & a £10 casino bonus, wagered 40x to withdraw; Bonuses expire in 7 days; Geographical restrictions apply. Click for T&C?s. 18+|
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 💥
William Hill
New online customers only, min £10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 X£10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply
Claim Bonus
Get a Now TV Sky Sports Mobile Month Pass when you bet £5 at Kwiff
Claim Bonus
⚡️ Claim £5 No Deposit! ⚡️
Energy Bet
New players 18+ only. Must email to get bonus. Offer valid 19/07/18 – 31/12/2019. Subject to 7x wagering req. (within 30 days). Max. withdrawal £50. Further T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
When The Fun Stops. Stop.