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Thread: Better Late Than Never

  1. #1
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    Better Late Than Never

    This is an idea inspired by Leicester City's remarkable 2015-16 Premier League title triumph. If for some reason you need reminding, the Foxes defied all odds (mostly around 5,000-1) to be crowned English champions for the first time in their 132-year history. This was after a summer of turbulence. Nigel Pearson was sacked, despite having masterminded an astonishing escape from relegation and was replaced by Claudio Ranieri. Ranieri was vastly experienced but his career was perceived to be in decline after a disastrous spell in charge of Greece. Most were underwhelmed by his appointment but he silenced all critics. You could also argue that my Championship Manager career is in decline too, as I have not been a regular on this forum for around five years. Some pundits may write me off after being in the wilderness for several years, so I arguably share some common ground with Ranieri. Can I go on to emulate his achievements, and perhaps even better them?


    For this challenge, the target is to win the title in each of the following countries:
    Brazil
    England
    France
    Germany
    Italy
    Spain

    I may add more if it proves to be easier than anticipated and I really end up enjoying the challenge but it's probably best to err on the side of caution for now.

    For each one to count, I must be at the club when the title is mathematically secured and have been in charge for at least 75% of the team's league fixtures for that season. Most importantly, in order to emulate Leicester's success, each title must be achieved with a team who has never previously won the top division in its country. I can't promise to find a Jamie Vardy or N'golo Kante on each occasion, or use pizza as my primary motivational source, but this should be a fun challenge to attempt.

    There have also been examples of fairytale titles against the odds in other countries. Hellas Verona surprisingly won Serie A in 1985, Deportivo had their moment in 2000 and Montpellier saw off the filthy rich Paris Saint-Germain as recently as 2012. For these three clubs, these were maiden titles like Leicester's this season, and to date, their only triumphs. Kaiserslautern also won the Bundesliga on the back of promotion in 1997-98 and Atletico Madrid's 2014 La Liga success, which broke the seemingly unbreakable Barca-Real duopoly, would surely rank up there as one of the great title victories of all time. Both teams had won titles previously, though.


    It's worth noting that there are some fairly big clubs in the aforementioned leagues who have yet to win the title (West Ham, Leverkusen, Villarreal and Palermo to name but a few). I could begin at one of those teams and make life easier for myself, but where's the fun in that? My quest would start in unfamiliar territory for me, as I would be managing in the lower leagues, and not in England.
    Last edited by CMAdventurer; 26-08-16 at 01:42 PM.

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  3. #2
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    This post will be used to keep track of which teams have won their respective leagues, and are therefore inelligible for this challenge. This story starts in 2015, so Leicester are not recognised as having won the league by the game but I'll still rule them out anyway to avoid any sort of controversy. And let's face it, their real life story was far more absorbing than any crap I could write (except maybe for Spurs fans)! If anyone else does a real life Leicester while this story is in progress, they will also be added to the list, as will any team who achieves a maiden title in the game. I'll hopefully provide a summary of all of the relevant leagues at the end of each season.

    Brazil:
    Spoiler!


    England:
    Spoiler!


    France:
    Spoiler!


    Germany:
    Spoiler!


    Italy:
    Spoiler!


    Spain:
    Spoiler!
    Last edited by CMAdventurer; 08-09-16 at 09:52 PM.

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  5. #3
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    Interesting . . .

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  7. #4
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    So many new stories starting. Looking forward to this one.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  9. #5
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    wont be easy, im following

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    Should be good!

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    Great to see you starting another story mate, I'll be following

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  15. #8
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    The grand tour.

    This is the only way to play, I'm in

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  17. #9
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    On The Road Again


    Saturday 11th July 2015 was the day for me to make my return to football management after a period away from the game. It had been the best part of five years since I was on a mission to win all of the world's greatest derby matches in a parallel universe. That did not end as I had hoped, while several times I had attempted to revive my managerial career, but to no avail. This would surely be last chance saloon for me, before I was consigned to the history books.

    My transatlantic flight passed without major incident. Once the formalities of security checks were over, I recovered my baggage and headed out into the commune that would be my home for the foreseeable future. It was not too far away from the west coast, so there was always the opportunity to spend the odd spare day by the seaside. Hopefully, the conditions would be far more favourable than those I was used to back home in Blackpool.


    My first impressions of the area were good and the locals certainly seemed friendly enough. At the heart of the small community was the impressive almost-thousand-year-old cathedral.


    Sadly, I was not dazzled in the same manner when I caught a glimpse of the football club's stadium when I eventually reached the destination.


    Upon entering, I was greeted by club president Michel Reculeau.


    Reculeau: Bonjour CMA, we have been expecting you.
    CMA: I thought so. When do I start?
    Reculeau: Not so fast, you have not signed the contract yet.
    CMA: It's a done deal, though, isn't it?
    Reculeau: Non, not so fast. You do realise I would be firing my son Frederic to let some nobody take charge, oui?
    CMA: Just look at my CV. I know none of it is on record but that's because it was all done in a parallel universe. It is some guy called SuperZan who allows me to travel between them.
    Reculeau: You never coached in French National division before though, not even in your so-called parallel universe.
    CMA: I've proved that I am adaptable. I have previously managed in Australia, Korea, Argentina, Greece and many more countries.
    Reculeau: But you still expect me to believe your crazy “parallel universe” claim?
    CMA: If people can believe that WWE is real...
    Reculeau: You're right! Welcome aboard!

    I signed on the dotted line and I was back in business. Before long, I was thrust straight in front of the local media.
    Journalist: Monsieur CMAdventurer, welcome to
    Spoiler!

    CMA: Merci, I'm looking forward to the challenge.
    Journalist: Do you accept that you were a surprise choice for the job? None of the bookies even considered you.
    CMA: What do the bookies know, except how to con people? Life's full of surprises and I don't intend for my appointment to be the last surprise of my career.
    Journalist: You have been away from the game for a few years now. How do you convince the doubters that you still have what it takes to succeed?
    CMA: Has football changed in five years? When I was in business last time, the aim was to get a bunch of eleven overpaid arseholes to kick a ball into the opposition net more times than their bunch of eleven overpaid arseholes kicked it into ours. I haven't checked the rule book recently, so that tactic could be outdated now. I think my track record shows that I was quite successful at doing this.
    Journalist: What are your expectations for the coming season?
    CMA: The president has told me that retaining National League status for next season is acceptable but I'm more optimistic than that. I think this season is a golden opportunity for all teams at this level to push for promotion, with the restructuring of the leagues to take place. That means four teams will be promoted this season, rather than the usual three. Let's grab it with both hands.
    Journalist: During your last stint in football management, you occasionally set yourself some baffling restrictions. For instance, when you managed Barcelona, you insisted on winning El Clasico by fielding a team consisting purely of former Real Madrid players. Will you be doing the same with Lucon?
    CMA: Just managing a team I'd never ing heard of until about two days ago in a league I've never previously managed in is a restriction in itself. I have not met the players yet, but no doubt they'll be a load of crap.

    Once the interview was over, Monsieur Reculeau took me on a tour of the club, with the first stop being their trophy cabinet.


    Or as they call it at this club, a cabinet.

    I also learnt a little about Lucon's not-so-illustrious history. Founded in 1924, the club has spent the majority of its history in the lower leagues, with their elevation to the National division coming in 2013. There's not much more to be said, really.

    Now time to meet the squad...

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  19. #10
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    You'll be glad to know after 5 years the aim you've said is still in operation

    I hope you're not expecting too much from the squad either

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  21. #11
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    In one of the parallel universes, I confidently predicted that you would start at Vendee Lucon.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  23. #12
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    Ouch - helluva challenge!

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    Squad and Staff Analysis


    I attended my first training session and in fairness, the squad was not as bad as I was expecting. My lack of experience at this level meant that I was unsure of what sort of standard was required, though. All I could do was compare the squad with some other teams in the same division.

    One area that does not require any immediate strengthening is the goalkeepers. Anthony Martin looks like one of the best keepers in the league. He has good handling and agility, although his decision making does sometimes let him down. Paul Nicholas should be an adequate understudy, while a third goalkeeper, Florian Bague, was transfer listed, in order to raise some funds.

    In my opinion, by far the weakest area in the squad is defence. Some of them look out of their depth, even at this level, although there is one clear exception in Loic Guillon. He may be 33, but will no doubt be at the heart of the defence, and looks to be a strong contender for the captain's armband. The other two natural centre backs Jeremy Messiba and Arnaud Farras are mediocre at best and I am certainly going to be shopping for a partner for Guillon. Mathieu Chemin can play at the back or as a defensive midfielder and right now, I'd use him at the back, as we have better options in midfield. He is determined to succeed, but I will still be looking for better.

    On the right side of defence, Jonathan Ringayen will provide us with an attacking option with his superb pace. His is also a really good team player, although his determination is worryingly low (I would have thought that teamwork and determination were somehow related but clearly not). This might prover to be his downfall. Quentin Lecoueche is probably worth keeping for now for his versatility (he can play all across the back and in midfield) but I doubt he will play an integral part. Thierry Njoh-Eboa can also play in defence and midfield but he's absolutely crap. He does have decent pace which is a relief, because he can't bugger off soon enough!

    Midfield looks more promising. Jason Buaillon and Sackre Gbohou can both play the anchor man role. Although there's not much to choose between them from looking at attributes, Gbohou is rated as a much better midfielder by the player comparison function, so Buaillon will probably be first choice as holding player. Mohamed Larby could be a useful backup, while Nathan Bulteau is perhaps one for the future.

    More attack-minded midfielders include Charlie Charrier, who can play on the left, in the centre and can deputise as a forward. He should get a few games, as should Ludovic Ajorque (on loan from Angers for the season), who is the most creative player in the squad. He could thrive as a playmaker. Julien Valero could challenge for a starting position but although he enjoys the physical side of the game, some of his technical attributes are lacking. Thomas Delanoe is an emergency backup at best. And then there's Guillaume Insou, who I don't rate at all.

    Midfield is deprived of width on the left side but there are four right wingers available. Unfortunately, none of them look up to much, with Ahmed Mogni arguably the best of a bad bunch. Yohann Heyman is crap and the wrong side of 30, so I think it's time for him to move on. Mathias Llambrich and Edouardo Sory Bathily both have age on their side but will probably not feature in my long term plans.

    There are eight forwards available that I haven't mentioned and there's a real mixed bag. Let's get the dross out of the way first. Cedric Ruault is now 33 and it looks like he's seen a better day. With strength 4 and stamina 7, I doubt he would make it out of the tunnel if (God forbid) I ever have to call on him. David Steppe does not meet the standard I require either. With such a worrying lack of pace, he'd probably take most of the 45 minutes in each half just to make it into the penalty area. Brunel Kiandamika will add to the club's income on the shirt sales front (if for some reason there's any demand for them) but on balance, he's probably best transfer listed. Some of his crucial attributes for a striker are acceptable but his all round game lets him down and his attitude is not good enough for my liking.

    The forward who most caught my eye on arrival was Pierre Germann. He is pacey, strong and decent in the air, so could prove to be a defender's nightmare. Just his finishing lets him down but with this game seemingly content to you over with a superkeeper every other game, what difference does it make? Karim Achahbar, on loan from Guingamp, has pace to burn and I may use him as an impact sub. Anas Zahrawi might also play a part but I don't think he will be a regular.

    Finally, to the curious case of the final two strikers: Jordan Mignon and Jordan Mignot. Both could be contenders to start but I do worry about Mignon's lack of determination. If both being strikers and having identical names bar one letter isn't weird enough, they both have the same date of birth! Doing a quick google search, I found that Mignon is a real life Lucon player but I can find nothing on Mignot. The evidence leads me to believe that there must have been some mistake by the editing team but if that's the case, why do they have different attributes? I think I'll keep them both for now. The prospect of all the confusion is too good to resist.

    Here are the profiles of some of the key players:
    Spoiler!


    Now to the backroom team. I have a tasty-sounding assistant in Stephane Masala but his determination is shockingly low (which appears to be a major weakness in the squad as well). Frederic Sauve, Julien Gatefin and 75-year-old Kevin David should do an apt job at coaching the players for now. There are only two scouts on our books and after seeing some of the rubbish on display earlier, I was fully expecting Stevie Wonder to be one of them. Instead, we have Mohamed Cantona (no relation to Eric) and Tony Do. They could do with some support. In the physiotherapy department, Baptiste Martineau and Damien Legal should deal with the sick notes effectively enough.

    I had much to ponder, so I went out for a walk to consider my options. I had barely left the ground when I heard some guy shouting at me in a Scottish accent. I saw him approaching in the distance and I initially thought I was being stalked by some talking rhubarb and custard. It turned out he was just wearing a Partick Thistle shirt.
    Stranger: Mr CMAdventurer, remember me?
    CMA: You look and sound familiar.
    Stranger: The name's Kingsley.
    CMA: No, doesn't ring any bells, sorry.
    Kingsley: You probably still remember me under the pseudonym “The Eejit”, but I'm not anymore.
    CMA: Of course I remember you! We've had a few spats before but it's still great to see you. What have you done in recent years?
    Kingsley: Not much, just been Sir Alex Ferguson and then I managed in Japan. I'm now managing Crapi, er, Carpi in Italy and I'm not allowed to choose my own formations. I also have to sign players from a certain country, which are both determined by random draws. Have you got any Swedish sweepers?
    CMA: You're not the only one managing a crappy club. And no Swedes at all, I'm afraid. There's always a right winger from Comoros if you need one, though. Ahmed Mogni is on loan from Paris FC but I doubt you'll be desperate enough to sign him for a Serie A team.
    Kingsley: Knowing how evil my boss is, it'll be just my luck to get them next. Anyway, I'm not scouting for players right now. I'm only here to wish an old friend good luck with his new job. It will be tough, but I know you can do it.
    CMA: Thank you very much, how kind of you. I've only just started, though. How did you know I would be here? News of my appointment came as a huge surprise to the media.
    Kingsley: Because I am psychic. I used to work for SuperZan and he paid my wages in psychic power.
    CMA: Alright then, if you're psychic, would you mind telling me tonight's lottery numbers?
    Kingsley: Mate, life is a lottery. It is not for me to interfere with the destiny of others. Have a nice day!

    Kingsley walked away with a smug look on his face. I was livid and I instinctively reached out for his neck with both hands, squeezing as hard as I could. After a few moments of panic, Kingsley stopped and I let go. His body lay motionless on the floor. Didn't ing see that coming, did he?

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  27. #14
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    Better Late Than Never

    Dark end to the Kingsley meeting!

    Haven't looked a squad profiles yet but seems like you have enough to work with and hopefully some interest in the dross

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  29. #15
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    What?! So I don't even get my comical deaths anymore it's Kingsley?!

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  31. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    What?! So I don't even get my comical deaths anymore it's Kingsley?!
    Be careful what you wish for.

  32. #17
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    But in another parallel universe, Kingsley still lives. Comoros ! I hope not. I don't even know where it is !
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  34. #18
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    Making my Mark

    The clash with Kingsley may have been an unwelcome distraction but I could not afford to let it knock me off my stride. Clearing up the mess would be someone else's problem. I had a job to prepare the team for the new season and with only £85k in the bank, I would have to trim the squad if I was going to improve it significantly. We had 31 players on our books, which was more than enough in terms of quantity, but my focus was firmly on improving the quality.

    Several players were transfer listed immediately and most of them attracted attention. Goalkeeper Florian Bague was the first to leave, for a modest fee of £20k to Bloemfontein Celtic in South Africa. Brunel Kiandamika and Edouardo Bathily generated a further £75k each, departing for Colo-Colo and Teramo respectively. Winger Yohann Heymann dropped down to a lower French division, with his sale pumping £70k into the kitty. Thierry Njoh-Eboa, who I described as “absolutely crap” in the last update, somehow convinced fellow French National side Beziers to table a £35k bid for him, which I gleefully accepted. If I thought their coach was mental, it was nothing compared to the Kaiserslautern boss, who offered a whopping £190k for David Steppe! What a big club in Germany (albeit only in the 2. Bundesliga) sees in him that a tinpot French club doesn't is beyond me, but I'm not complaining.

    I now had a more than decent budget to play with but my first signing was actually a free transfer. Adama Coulibaly may be 34, but he can play at left back or in the centre of defence and is better than most options that were available before. I then agreed a deal with another club in the same division, Dunkerque, to take left back Gregory Terriere on a season-long loan. A high portion of the transfer budget that I had built up by shifting out the dead wood (£275k) was used to lure unsettled Brighton right back and midfielder Adam Chicksen to France. It remains to be seen whether he can adapt to the French culture but he looks to be worth a punt.

    It was just these three defensive signings that were negotiated. I would certainly have liked another striker, maybe another midfielder or two, but everyone I targeted either demanded wages that the board refused to allow or rejected us completely. I had at least sorted out the biggest priority and I felt we had enough to work with.




    There were changes to the non-playing staff too. I demoted Masala from assistant to coach, which paved the way for Englishman Tony Dawes to become my new number two. I also went abroad to add to the scouting team and three new ones were brought in. They were American Jovan Kirovski, Russian Vladimir Bestchastnykh and Bolivian Jaime Moreno, with a combined 205 international caps. Former Man Utd trainee Paul Tierney was also added to the coaching team.

    So, to our opening game away to Orleans. One week before the big kick off, there was some devastating news for one of our players.


    Chemin was never going to play a major part after I revamped the defence anyway. For my first team selection as Lucon manager, I opted for a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Jason Buaillon operating as the sitting midfielder. Chicksen was recovering from a knock suffered in training, so Jonathan Ringayen would get his chance to shine. My other two signings both featured from the start, with Coulibaly partnering captain Guillon in central defence. I selected Jordan Mignot, rather than Mignon to partner Germann up front. We were going out to try and win the game.


    Both sides struggled for rhythm early on. The first half chance went to the hosts as Julien Delonglee shot was never troubling Anthony Martin. Our first opportunity was created in the 26th minute as Mignot slipped a lovely ball through to Germann, who was too wide to shoot, so he crossed the ball back for Charly Charrier. Unfortunately for Charrier, he was on the stretch, so failed to hit the target but we were showing signs of promise when we got our passing game going. Back came Orleans and some intricate play between Romain Armand and Ousmane Sidibe led to Loris Arnaud rattling the crossbar, with Martin stranded. Mignot was the next to try his luck for us but he also failed to hit the target. Just as we looked set to go into the break all square, Ajorque picked out Buaillon, whose first time cross was met delightfully by Sackre Gbohou and we had lift off!


    It was not a first half for the purists but this is a results business. We had restricted Orleans to few sightings of goal, so I told the lads to carry on what they were doing but also to move the ball more quickly. That's exactly what we did as we began the second half determined to put the game out of their reach. Mignot latched on to another pass from the superb Buaillon and he made it one crossbar rattled each. The danger was far from over as Charrier was first to the loose ball but the pressure from the Orleans defence caused him to steer the ball wide. It should have been 2-0 but moments later, it could have been 1-1. Jean-Eudes Aholou's speculative effort was clawed away by Martin and thankfully, Ringayen was on hand to mop up the danger. Germann forced a save from their keeper and Gbohou went close to his second as we upped the ante. Nine minutes from time, Buaillon's corner was met majestically by Charrier and we had the security of the second goal!


    There was no way back for the home side, as we had restricted them to few chances all evening. No doubt some of the media had been relishing the prospect of my return to football ending in complete failure. I had masterminded the perfect start and it would keep them quietish for the time being at least. Just six days to go until I make my home debut against Bourg-Peronnas, who also won their opening match. I can now look forward with optimism rather than trepidation.


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  36. #19
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    I demoted Masala from assistant to coach
    How did you manage that ? I'd never get away with offering a lower grade job.

    Paul Tierney There's a blast from the past

    Always good to start with a win, especially away from home. Sounds as if your boys played well, so signs are good for a successful season. Do you have to win the top league with Lucon, or can you move to another club which hasn't won the league before ?
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  38. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    How did you manage that ? I'd never get away with offering a lower grade job.
    I just offered him the role of coach and he accepted. He would have been shown the door if he hadn't. I've done it plenty of times before and I'm amazed how often they appear to accept.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Do you have to win the top league with Lucon, or can you move to another club which hasn't won the league before ?
    I haven't set any firm rules on this. If I see a more attractive job proposition, I'll seriously consider it. It could take a while to win the top division with Lucon but I've decided that I won't be applying for any jobs just yet. Right now, I feel like I want to at least take them into Ligue 1 but I'll see how things pan out first.

  39. #21
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    Just made my start reading and a very interesting first base.

    Could be an interesting ride!

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    A Sign of Things to Come or a False Dawn?

    Spirits in the Lucon camp soared after the superb controlled display against Orleans. I warned against any complacency and I could not learn too much about the squad after one good result. We still had another 37 league games to fulfil, so the focus was firmly on my home debut against Bourg-Peronnas. The opening day victory appeared to sway the opinion of the Stade Jean de Mouzon faithful in my favour and I was given a warm reception by our supporters.


    The side was unchanged and we picked up from where we left off, with Charly Charrier hitting the post early on. My initial assessment of Anthony Martin was that he was one of the best goalkeepers at this level and he went a long way towards justifying that just a few minutes later. Patrice Dimitriou's stinging drive was pushed away and Martin was alert to the rebound, denying Pape Sane what looked like a certain opener. After this escape, we never looked back, as Mignot's half volley from Ajorque's cross nestled in the back of the net. Mignot almost had a second three minutes later but his effort was parried. However, Charrier saw the rebound land invitingly at his feet and it was 2-0. We continued to dominate and Charrier made the points safe just four minutes after the interval. The icing on the cake came when substitute Julien Valero converted a fourth, after being found by another superb Ajorque pass. Ajorque was not on the scoresheet, but his performance was outstanding and was deservedly awarded the man of the match award. I said he could be our playmaker and with two assists in this match, I may be vindicated. 4-0 was how it finished. With two wins, six goals scored and none conceded, we were top of the league and I could not have wished for a more positive start.


    Next, we visited Epinal and Pierre Germann's early goal gave us the lead, although we were pegged back just after the half hour mark; our first goal conceded of the season. How would we deal with this setback? By scoring three more times of course. Mignot bagged a brace while in between, Charrier kept up his record of scoring in every match. For the visit of Strasbourg, who had also made a great start to the season, Adam Chickesen was handed his Lucon debut in place of Jonathan Ringayen. He played very well, and he needed to because Strasbourg were more than a match for us. Things looked good for us after Jason Buaillon fired us into the lead inside ten minutes but the visitors quickly levelled. Loic Guillon restored our lead on the stroke of half time but Strasbourg refused to give up. The second half was relentless and the next goal was always going to be crucial. Both sides had chances and Martin made a couple of excellent saves towards the end to keep us ahead. With time running out, who else but Charly Charrier made sure of the points when he finished off a sweeping counter attack, and we were flying!

    Things were going well. Too well, in fact. Any thoughts of us steamrolling the league were swiftly dispelled by Chambly, as we lacked sharpness and were soundly beaten 2-0. I demonstrated to the players that I could be like Fergie and I told them that they were crap. Now it was a test of our resolve and we had to prove we had the mental strength for a promotion challenge in front of our own fans. Beziers were perhaps not the ideal opponents on paper, having made a very solid start. Nevertheless, they offered no resistance and we ran out easy 4-0 victors and it could easily have been double figures. Their cause was not helped by the dismissal of Moroccan international Redah Atassi after just 33 minutes but we were already one up and cruising by then anyway. The returning Thierry Njoh-Eboa had a game to forget for Beziers. I told you he was crap! Karim Achahbar and Jordan Mignot's virtual twin Jordan Mignon both registered their first goals of the season.

    Amiens then inflicted our second successive away defeat as two early goals set them on their way. We did so well to get it back to 2-2 but then they stole the game, which knocked us off top spot. We could always rely on our home form, though, as Valero and a double from Mignon gave us a routine victory against Chateauroux. The away day blues were ended at Les Herbiers thanks to strikes from Charrier and Mignon, before we thrashed Avranches 4-0 at our place. They had to play for 81 minutes with a man disadvantage and this time, Mignon continued to justify his selection with a hat-trick. He could have had four but he missed a penalty (and scored another). Dunkerque were the next visitors to fortress Stade Jean de Mouzon and shocked us by scoring first. It was our sixth game in front of our supporters and just the second goal we had conceded. Germann and Mignon scored either side of half time to turn the game on its head. Dunkerque thought they had snatched a point late on but the linesman correctly cut short their premature celebrations. Their gaffer refused to accept reality, though, and was sent to the stands for his protests. Nine wins out of eleven but it was not all good news, as we lost Loic Guillon to an ankle injury. Our physios estimated that he would be absent for at least a month.

    It was time to take a break from league action, as the League Cup commenced. It was back to where it all started, with a trip to Orleans. It was top v bottom in the French National and with promotion the clear priority, I decided to rest the majority of our first choice eleven. Changes to the starting line up had been few and far between up until this point and the first 45 minutes was a clear message that I should stick with that policy. 2-0 down, I brought on Charrier and Mignon in an attempt to rescue the tie and the latter quickly pulled one back. The damage had been done though, and we were out at the first hurdle. “Never mind, we can concentrate on the league now”, I said, which is of course the classic bullshit that managers come up with when their side exits a cup competition.

    A more familiar starting eleven was restored for the league trip to Consolat Marseille. You would never have known it early on, as again we went 2-0 down very quickly. This time we showed more resilience, with Farras and Germann squaring the match. Both sides had their chances but they were not converted. Just as it looked like we had earned a credible draw, Achahbar cut in from the left side of the penalty area and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner. It was a goal worthy of winning any game and winning this one from 2-0 down made it extra special.


    Early strikes from Germann and Charrier looked to have set us on our way to another home victory against Sedan, who were doing well in the league. We were dominant and could have scored more but they capitalised on our profligacy just before the break with a stunning double blow. First, Ajorque sliced into his own net, before Flavien Tamou's cross was headed in by El Hadj Seck for a totally undeserved equaliser. The momentum had been stolen from us but that's what you get for not taking your chances. The drama was not over for the half, as veteran Jonathan Zebina was dismissed apparently for eyeballing Mignon. Yes, that's a sending off offence in the Champman world! With Sedan's joy being short lived, we came out in the second half with renewed purpose and Buaillon soon restored the lead. Germann added two more to take our home goals tally up to 25 in just seven games, and with a 100% winning record to boot.


    Then came an utterly pathetic performance against Bastia, where we failed to have a shot on goal and were deservedly beaten 2-0. Unfortunately our previously formidable defensive record seems to have gone a bit tits up since losing Guillon but hopefully he should be back in a couple of weeks. We sit pretty at the top of the National League, with a ten-point cushion on the promotion places, but only a couple of points above second and third. They just happen to be our next two league opponents, starting with a visit from the Parisians, before taking on Colmar at their place. Sandwiched in between is the start of our French Cup campaign at Bourg-Peronnas.


  42. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to CMAdventurer For This Useful Post:


  43. #23
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    Started very well, attack in particular is on fire!

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  45. #24
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    Already 10 clear of Dunkerque, it looks like a 3 horse race is developing. Getting some good and consistent performances from some pretty average players. Charrier looks like he is ready to move upto the next league.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  47. #25
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    Looking good but still very tight of course.

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