In Desperate Need Of A Rebuild - A Nancy-Lorraine Story


May 10, 2018
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I'll be honest - I ****** up! I started my Truro save and was totally not into it within just 5 games of the season starting. My enthusiasm drained right out of me and I don't really know why...maybe because I was thinking about this one before I started the Truro one and I think my mind was wandering from the very start. So here it is...the save I should have started!

Welcome to the rebuild of Association Sportive Nancy-Lorraine. And boy are they in need of a rebuild! The club more commonly known as Nancy, is a French professional side founded in 1967 and are currently playing their football in the Championnat National - the third tier of French football. However, as recently as the 2007/08 season, they were finishing 4th in Ligue 1 and only just missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the season when they lost to Rennes and Marseille beat Strasbourg to leapfrog them into 3rd place.

That 4th placed finish was about as good as it was going to get for Les Chardons (translated as The Thistles), as they quickly became a bottom half side in Ligue 1 for the next 5 seasons and were eventually relegated to the second tier in the 2012/13 season. Three seasons competing at the top end of Ligue 2 saw them finish as champions in 2015/16 but they only managed a single campaign back in the top tier and were immediately relegated again. The club haven't seen Ligue 1 football since.

Ligue 2 was a struggle with the side regularly finishing in the bottom half and things went from bad to worse with another relegation in 2021/22 when they finished bottom of Ligue 2 after recording just 6 wins all year.

Being down in the Championnat National for the first time, most expected Nancy to cruise through the division and have a successful season. However, the reality was far from that and they only avoided relegation again by 3 points, finishing 13th!

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And that's where I join the club...a club completely on it's ar3e and in desperate need of a turnaround. My aim is to do just that and I have a vision I bring with me, a philosophy to implement...

1. Retain a strong core of French players throughout the squad throughout my time at the club, keeping foreign signings of non French players to a minimum - ideally no more than 1 per season.
2. Focus on bringing players through the club's youth setup by promoting one prospect from the U19s into the first team every season.
3. Keep the average age of the squad down by prioritising younger players (under 25) in the transfer market.

Now the above are not exactly rules as such, but more guidelines that I am going to try to stick to along the way. For example, if a fantastic 30 year old becomes available at a great price, I'm not going to block myself from signing them. However, in keeping in line with the philosophy I won't be going and signing 3x 30 year olds a season!

The philosophy I am looking to implement is very much one of my own as the board don't really have a strategy in terms of tactics or players. They just want a top half finish this season, leading to promotion back to Ligue 2 within the next 5 years.

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The board might not expect us to be much more than an established Ligue 2 side in the next 5 seasons, but I have some long term ambitions of my own and some targets I want to fulfil...

1. Gain two promotions to see the club back into Ligue 1.
2. Dethrone the mighty PSG and win the Ligue 1 title for the first time in Nancy's history.
3. Win the French Cup.
4. Complete and domestic league and cup double.
5. Win the club's first ever European trophy.
As I turn up to meet the squad on my first day at work, I'm impressed at our training facilities. Considering we were a top tier club in France not that long ago, I'm not surprised though, but I am pleased with what I have to work with in terms of facilities.

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Meeting my team gives me every reason to feel excited. I've got good numbers here and a solid amount of ability all over the pitch - if I can get the best out of these lads, there's every chance of a good campaign in my first year. Also, in line with my philosophy, it's great to see that all but 5 of my starting squad are French and only two players are over 30 years old.

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After looking over all of my players in great detail, this is where my tactic begins. A solid 4-1-2-3 Wide focused on playing out from the back, using the width of the pitch to build our attacks with a quick, short passing game.

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The thinking behind the back line is that the right back cuts inside in the inverted full back role to effectively become a back 3 centre back trio. The reason behind that is that I have my left back bombing on down the wing in an attacking type role, so he will be vacant defensively quite a lot. I decided on this setup at the back because first choice left back, Gwilhem Tayot, is a great crosser of the ball and has great acceleration for getting down the flank and pinging balls into the box.

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Shaquil Delos on the right is also a good crosser, but is very strong in the tackle and his decision making and I wanted to take as much of an advantage of this as I could by playing him in a more defensive role, so the inverted full back position suits. He's also a natural in that position and not the best dribbler, so I didn't see the point in getting him to hit the flank and take his men on when he lacks the ability to do so.

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Maxence Carlier is the man at the heart of my defence and the centre back is probably the best player in the team! He's got the ability to pick a pass as well, so I opted for the ball playing defender role for him to make use of that.

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The central midfield trio have a ball winner in the deeper role - the job is simple - win back the ball from opposition attacking midfielders and get it forward to the more creative players as quickly as possible. Nothing fancy required here! The two guys ahead of him are an advanced playmaker...the creator through the middle of the park - find the spaces and spray the ball about as required. Teddy Bouriaud is picked for this role and looks like an impressive player for this level of football and he should shine in the Championnat National. He'll start game with a support mentality, but if we need a goal I'd be more than comfortable moving him to attacking and getting him further forward to impact the game further up the field if required.

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Next to the advanced playmaker is a mezzala role. Not a normal role for me to go for if I'm honest, but my reasoning is to proving more support down the right flank. The right back won't get forward too much and certainly won't be hugging the touchline in an inverted role and the right winger is set to an attacking winger position so will focus predominantly on getting wide and crossing the ball from the byline...that's going to leave me a gap that needs filling between the two right sided players and the mezzala role can slot in and fill that gap nicely.

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Lenny Nangis is the man in that right winger role. He's fast, he can dribble and he can cross...that's all I'm asking him to do! Get enough crosses into that box Lenny and you'll get 10-15 assists a year!

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The striker role could be subject to change. There is no denying that it is the position on the pitch where I have the weakest options available to me and probably my biggest cause of concern. The advanced forward role is best suited to Bouabdeli who is just about my first choice striker, but this role could easily become a deep lying forward position in this system, or a false nine, if I had players with the right attributes for it.

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In terms of improvements, there isn't a lot of room in the budget to do so. A minimal transfer budget is available but the wages are currently maxed out which is going to mean players would likely need to leave before any can come in.

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But according to the bookies, we will need to improve if we are going to mount a serious title challenge this year as they have us pegged for a 5th place finish and not a single one of my current crop is deemed good enough to make the media dream 11.

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Before I sign off from this update, we'll take a look at the development centre and according to my assistant manager, we have a few young talents to keep an eye on.

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Friday 18th August 2023

I have a situation developing with one of our most talented youngsters at the club. Lamine Cisse is only 20 years old and already looks like a good player, who will absolutely have an impact for us this season. However, he has recently approached me saying that he wants to explore his options when his contract expires at the end of the season and has absolutely no interest in signing a new deal with us.

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This puts me in a predicament as this has sparked interest from a whole host of Ligue 1 clubs and the bids of up to £90k have been flooding in, to which I have obviously rejected them to this point.

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However, the most recent bid I turned down from Nantes has upset the youngster and he now wants to discuss me not allowing his move away from the club.

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But a really positive conversation with the player, where I asked him to be patient with us as we have some exciting prospects coming through the ranks (of which he is one) to help us get back to Ligue 1, seems to have convinced him to give us another season at least. If I can't get Cisse to sign a new deal soon though, I will run the risk of losing him on a free at the end of the season.

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Our pre season consisted of 5 friendlies and there were some impressive performances as we remained unbeaten through the 5 games. Beating Ajaccio and drawing with Quevilly-Rouen are good results as they are both sides from the division above us, but the most impressive was our final friendly where we thrashed a Heracles from the top tier in Holland.

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The most impressive player of our pre season campaign was winger Lenny Nangis who bagged 3 assists and a goal and looked a constant threat in every game he played. I think Nangis is going to be so key for us this year!

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Before the competitive stuff was about to kick off, I had to choose my first captain for the club. I do love a centre back as captain and I had the perfect candidate in Gaetan Bussmann, who is one of our most experience players at the club!

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And just days before the first game of the season, we get the bad news that first choice right back, Shaquil Delos will miss the next few weeks with a hernia.

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Championnat National
Matchday 1

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Well that was the worst possible start to the season we could hope for. Defensively, we were terrible and Niort found it far too easy to score past us...that will have to improve if we are going to achieve anything this season! I think we struggled with their 4-2-4 tactic as once I'd made some tweaks we definitely came into the game a bit more and scored a couple of times to get ourselves back in the game, but the damage was unfortunately already done!

It certainly wouldn't have helped our defensive cause in the last game that I was forced to play a central midfielder at right back, due to the injury of Delos and no other right backs in the squad. That's not the case anymore though as I make my first signing for the club. Loris Nery was a free agent after leaving Grenoble and returns to Nancy for his second spell after playing 32 league games for us before in 2018-2020. A good signing that gives us more depth in a position where it was sorely needed.

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Ahead of my first home game in charge, we announce season ticket sales of 5,250 which isn't too shabby for a team in the third tier and bodes well for the future if we can progress back up the French football pyramid.

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Our home ground is the Stade Marcel-Picot and can actually hold over 20,000 fans so the foundations are there to get more fans in!

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Championnat National
Matchday 2

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Although it took a 94th minute goal to win this game, the performance was much, much better! Especially the defensive side as we limited Le Mans to just 2 shots on our goal in the entire 90 minutes!

Championnat National

League Table

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Obviously very early days and a long way to go!

Despite having a win on the board, the reason we only have 2 points is because we started on -1 for crowd disorder.

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Monday 25th September 2023

Championnat National
Matchday 3

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A couple of penalties saw us on our way before Benjamin Gomel came off the bench to score a 3rd and put the game to bed. Our first away win of the season is officially chalked up!

Our next opponents were known commonly as GOAL FC, which actually stands for Grand Ouest Association Lyonnaise! Despite it being their first season in the 3rd tier and being predicted for a 16th placed finish, they've made an impressive start, winning 2 of their opening 3 games and sit 4th in the table at this early stage.

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Championnat National
Matchday 4

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A tightly contested game but in the end we secure the 3 points. It was all very nervey all the time it was just 1-0 but late on in the game, we were finally able to relax after Teddy Bouriaud curled in a beautiful effort from 20 yards on 87 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.

Championnat National
Matchday 5

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Dijon are one of the best teams in this division so this was always going to be a difficult fixture for us. What is disappointing is that we barely threatened them at all and seemed to put up very little fight to go out and get something from the game.

And we lose a key player for up to 6 weeks as well! Lamine Cisse hasn't started the season in sensational form, but he will still be missed as a good squad player for the next few games.

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Championnat National
Matchday 6

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Kerfala Sylla was handed his first start of the season in central midfield and on 15 minutes, he had his debut goal, as he headed in from close range after a bit of a scramble in the box. Following that, it was striker Walid Bouabdeli who went on to star in the first half with a hat trick and we found ourselves 4-1 up by the half time break! We were unable to kick on and score any more in the second period, but it's a good win and a great way to bounce back from the Dijon defeat.

It was a 10.0 match rating for Bouabdeli which is a massive improvement after a pretty poor start to the season. Hopefully, he can kick on from here.

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One player that has worked his way into my starting lineup with some consistent performances is centre back Lucas Pellegrini. He's averaging 7.32 from the last 4 starts and that's good enough to keep the captain out of the team!

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So it's bitterly disappointing that he picked up an injury in training and will miss the next 3-4 games.

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Championnat National
Matchday 7

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A poor game all round with neither side impressing in any shape or form! Neither side deserved to win, so a draw is fair!

Championnat National
League Table

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We're doing OK, although not pulling up any trees. The two best sides in the league are already starting to pull away at the top and it will be tough to peg either of these two back this season!
A nice steady start, those two were always going to be tough as still have Ligue 2 players
Loving the idea of bringing them back up the leagues but always such a tough challenge trying to turn over PSG! That youth squad looks like you could really build something special and hit them targets you’ve set yourself! Looking forward to seeing how you progress!

Monday 6th November 2023

One of our local rivals are Sochaux and the fact they are expected to win the league this year would make our next game one of, if not the biggest game of the league campaign for us. And they would come into the game undefeated as well!

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Championnat National

Matchday 8

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Well our rivals are not undefeated anymore! What a performance and what a result that is for us! Nice to send the fans away happy and a huge win!

After our performance against Dijon a few games back (another of the top sides) where we were awful, I decided to try a different formation against Sochaux and it's fair to say the 4-2-4 worked an absolute treat! The idea was to overload them in their own half, putting intense pressure on their defence and defensive midfielders. Playing wingers would ensure we put plenty of balls into the box for the two strikers and an inverted wing back that will essentially come into centre midfielder would provide cover when the attacking midfielder goes forward to support the attack. Sochaux simply couldn't cope with the high number of attacking players we had in their 3rd whenever we had the ball!

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Championnat National
Matchday 9

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I can't even begin to stress how annoyed I am that we follow up the excellent Sochaux win with a defeat!

Championnat National
Matchday 10

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Much better and it was important to get back to winning ways. Although we have lost 3 times this season already, it is at least a positive that we have immediately won right after each defeat.

Coupe de France
Fifth Round

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An emphatic victory over lower league opposition sees us progress in the cup!

Championnat National
Matchday 11

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Back in the league, our inconsistency is highlighted as we can only manage a draw away at FC Rouen. These are the sort of games we must win if we are going to challenge for promotion this season.

It's obvious where our issues lie at the moment. At home, we are a dominant force, winning all 5 league games. However, away from home we've only come out victorious in 1 of 6 fixtures!

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Coupe de France
Sixth Round

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Despite the fact we had drawn lower league opposition again in the cup, I was worried that an upset could be on the cards due to our poor away form. And based on the first half performance, I was right to be, as we went into the break 1-0 down! However, a good kick up the backside and a change to an attacking style of football saw us come out and dominate the second half and get the job done with a scoreline that probably flattered us in the end.

Championnat National
Matchday 12

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It's another point, but it's another poor result against a team we should be beating. Nimes are 16th in the league and absolutely battered us here...not good enough!

Championnat National
League Table

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We are holding on to 4th place but the top 2 remain ahead of the rest and Sochaux are a whopping 11 points ahead of us already. Things are very tight in behind us and we will need to have our wits about us as a couple of bad results could easily see us drop right down the table.
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Wednesday 3rd January 2024

Championnat National

Matchday 13

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We are really poor at the moment and this again was another awful result. Marignane are bottom of the division, with just a single win to their name so there really are no excuses for not winning this game!

Coupe de France

Seventh Round

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We continue to progress through the cup against lower league opposition and smash home another 5 goals in the competition, which now means we've scored 16 times in 3 cup matches!

Championnat National
Matchday 14

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This was 4th vs 3rd in the table, so it's a massive win for us and one that saw us leapfrog them in the league as well. Walid Bouabdeli definitely hasn't scored as many goals as I'd have expected this year and has been largely inconsistent, but credit where it is due and he was the game changer here coming off the bench at half time to score twice in the second half and lead the come back.

Championnat National
Matchday 15

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A nice away win, even if I did expect it against the side second from bottom in the table. Is Walid Bouabdeli finally hitting some form?!

Meanwhile, let's hope this years youth intake turns out to be as promising as predicted!!

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Coupe de France
Eighth Round

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Another lower league side despatched in the cup with a very dominant performance, even if the scoreline doesn't reflect how in control we were for the entirity.

In the ninth round, the Ligue 1 sides finally enter the competition, but we were lucky to avoid them all and will again play a side from the regional divisions. There are only two all Ligue 1 ties coming up, one of them being Lens vs PSG.

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Championnat National
Matchday 16

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Let's just talk about THAT goal from Walid Bouabdeli. The ball was floated in from a deep free kick towards the Red Star was headed out and Walid followed it outside of the box...he let it bounce once and then on the turn with his back to goal he half volleys it right into the bottom corner from 22 yards! WHAT A GOAL! Unfortunately, it wasn't a winning goal as Red Star scored a late equalizer to nick a point but we'll take it considering we had to play a large part of the game with 10 men and Red Star were predicted to finish above us this year, so are a strong team in this division.

Twenty games into my managerial career and my acumen for an attacking style of football has been highlighted in the media! 49 goals in 20 games is actually **** impressive!

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Championnat National
League Table

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We're up to 3rd in the league but still trailing well behind the top two who look like they are set to fight it out for the 1st place everyone just playing for 3rd?!

Friday 2nd February 2024

The January transfer window is now open and it could be an interesting few weeks for me as I have had approaches from no less than five of my players over the past 3 months saying they want to explore their options at the end of the season when their contracts are I have decisions to make as to whether to cash in or allow them to leave for free at the end of the year?! The players are Lenny Nangis, Lucas Pellegrini, Shaquil Delos, Gaetan Bussmann and Lamine Cisse.

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Coupe de France
Ninth Round

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A solid display from my lads as we continue to make our way forward in the cup, although we can't deny we've been lucky to only play lower league opposition up until this point. Surely a more difficult fixture awaits us now?!

There are only 8 teams outside of the top two leagues still in the competition at the last 32 stage, so we've done well to reach this far. However, it will now be a monumental task to progress any further as we face Ligue 1 side, Montpellier in the next round!

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I mentioned before the cup game about the situation with a few of my players wanting to explore their options and we've now seen the first casualty of that situation as Lamine Cisse will leave the club at the end of the season to join Ligue 2 side, Concarnoise.

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I tried to offload the player through the 'sell now' option to see if I could grab any sort of fee for him at all (asked for £100k), but his new club don't have any funds available so looks like he will at least see out the rest of the season for us.

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Championnat National
Matchday 17

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We started really poorly and lacked concentration as we went 2-0 down in the first half hour. However, a goal from Lenny Nangis just before the break put us back in with a shout. In the second half we were the better side and eventually found that equalizer with 3 minutes to go to get a deserved point in the end.

Championnat National
Matchday 18

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For the 2nd game in a row, we fight back from 2-0 down to earn a point! I just really wish it didn't take for us to go two goals down for us to actually wake up and start playing!

That grit and determination though is making us extremely tough to beat and we've now gone an impressive 14 games in all competitions since our last defeat!

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That run could be about to come to a sharp end though as we prepare to take on Montpellier in the cup. They would come into the game as hot favourites, although we are given an outside chance by the bookies of pulling off an upset.

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Coupe de France
Tenth Round

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What an effort! I really thought we'd nicked it when Kerfala Sylla gave us the lead with just minutes of the game remaining! But it wasn't to be and an injury time leveller saw Montpellier take it to a shootout and they were more clinical from the spot without a single miss and we're out! A valiant attempt from my lads though and I'm proud!

New signing and it's a real exciting one! Youssef Chermiti has joined us on loan for the remainder of the season from Everton and he is easily better than any of our other strikers at the club! The 19 year old could have a major impact down at this level and I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table!

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Championnat National
Matchday 19

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Nice to get a bit of revenge over Niort for that opening day of the season defeat we suffered at their hands. Not the greatest debut for Chermiti as he was subbed off with a 6.3 match rating, but I'm still confident he will come good.

Championnat National
League Table

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It's so frustrating that Dijon and Sochaux are so ****** good this year! I mean, Dijon still haven't even lost a game this season!!

Monday 18th March 2024

Championnat National

Matchday 20

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Talk about a game of two halves! We were excellent in the first 45, taking a 5-1 lead into the break and absolutely cruising! However, the second half was a complete shambles and we very nearly threw away a guaranteed 3 points three quarters of an hour!

Championnat National
Matchday 21

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After being 4 goals up at half time in our last game at half time and nearly throwing it away, I was definitely nervous with just a 2 goal lead at the break here. However, a change in delivery for my half time team talk and telling the lads I expected no complacency from them seemed to do the trick as we came out and played just as well in the second period, adding a couple more goals on our way to a comfortable victory.

The result extends our unbeaten streak in the league to 12 games. During that run, we have only managed to keep one clean sheet though and do seem to lack elements of concentration when we have our noses in front.

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It's no surprise that our poor defensive record is being highlighted by my head performance analyst as he drills down into the areas we are worse than the league average.

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Our next game could well be one that threatens that streak more than any other. Dijon are top of the division and haven't lost a league game all season!!

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Championnat National
Matchday 22

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BOOM!! Dijon can kiss goodbye to their invincibles season because my boys were mustard here!! (Did you see what I did there)

Championnat National
Matchday 23

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I'm pleased to have followed up the Dijon result with another win, but thanks to their 90th minute goal, we still can't keep a clean sheet!

Championnat National
Matchday 24

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We were pretty bad in the first half here, but bucked our ideas up for the second and went on to take another 3 points.

When I took over the club, I stated that part of my philosophy was to focus on the youth development, so I'm delighted with this year's intake which offers up some decent prospects.

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Winger, Aron Budd, looks to be the most exciting of the bunch, although I would hope his mental attributes might improve a bit over the next couple of years.

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Championnat National
Matchday 25

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We weren't the better side here, but manage to come away with a point anyway, which is a good result away from home against possibly the best side in the league.

Championnat National
League Table

Forgot to do the screenshot!

Dijon look like they will be uncatchable this season, but with 9 games to go we do have an outside chance of maybe closing the 6 point gap between Sochaux and ourselves. It's an outside chance for sure, but it is a chance.
Really enjoying this at the moment. Making me excited to play the game once I release the 13/14 retro database :D

Monday 22nd April 2024

Championnat National

Matchday 26

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Epinal are one of only 3 sides to beat us this year, so it was nice to reverse that result here. Mamadou Camara scored his 7th and 8th league goal of the season, but should have had his hat trick when he was handed the ball to take our late penalty but his shot was saved to deny him his third goal.

Camara has been pretty amazing for us this season and has 9 goals and 12 assists in all competitions. He will return to Lens at the end of the season when his loan deal expires and he'll be sorely missed.

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Championnat National
Matchday 27

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A game we really should have won and we drop 2 points in our race to chase down the top 2. It might even be the final nail in the coffin for us.

Especially as Sochaux and Dijon just keep on winning! An 8 point gap is just too much I think we just 7 games remaining.

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Time to take a look at the best wonderkids in world football and it's Barcelona's Gavi that is the most highly rated of the lot.

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Championnat National
Matchday 28

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Another late goal costs us points and we really need to improve on our concentration in the latter stages of games.

This has been a far too common headline after our games this season!

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It's fair to say that striker, Walid Bouabdeli, has taken a back seat from the starting 11 since the loan signing of Youssef Chermiti and he will now play no further part this season after picking up a spine injury in training. Whether I deem him good enough to be our main striker again next season remains to be seen and there is a chance he may have pulled on the Nancy shirt for the last time.

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Championnat National
Matchday 29

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Another two lates goals conceded, but luckily we'd got the job done well before that and it's another 3 points on the board.

Only one of my players made the shortlist for the French National Player of the Season - a list that is dominated by Dijon and Sochaux players making up more than half of it.

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Championnat National
Matchday 30

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A clean sheet....a ******* clean sheet!! Haha! Although we shouldn't get too excited - it was against the side propping up the division who have only scored 20 goals all season.

Championnat National
League Table

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The win over Marignane actually confirmed their relegation and they are the first team to face the drop this season. With just 4 games remaining, we are now clearly the best of the rest, but those top two have just been too good this year!

Friday 31st May 2024

With 4 games to go, we are at least in the promotion race discussion. However, our chances are virtually non existent from this position!

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Championnat National
Matchday 31

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We can only try our best to keep the pressure on the top 2 right to the very end and we did that here with another win.

Championnat National
Matchday 32

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Gutting to throw away a 2-0 lead against one of the sides who have already been relegated! Not good enough and that could be any chance we had of promotion entirely blown now.

What's even more gutting is that Dijon have lost their last two games and seem to be having a mild wobble right at the death. So if we'd have held on and beat Villefranche then we would have actually been within 3 points of the 2nd placed side! As it happens, we've actually massively let them off the hook!

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Championnat National
Matchday 33

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Our penultimate game of the season results in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Bit of a ding-dong battle as we went 2-1 up to 3-2 down and eventually finished up level.

Championnat National
Matchday 34

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It wouldn't be right if our season didn't finish with us throwing a 2 goal lead.

Drawing our final game of the campaign does mean that we have strung together an impressive 25 games unbeaten in the league!! And back in January, I changed my tactic and created a 4-3-2-1 which seems to have done the trick for me in the second half of the season! Here is that tactic.

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Championnat National
League Table

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The top two have proven to be streets ahead all season, but we can take plenty of encouragement from the fact we were then 10 points ahead of all the rest. It bodes well for a good season next year and hopefully we can push one step further and gain promotion to Ligue 2.
Gutting to not get promoted but was a tough ask and bodes well for next season. Just got to get the right players in now and go again


Ligue 1 Champions = PSG

Ligue 2 Champions = Guingamp (Bordeaux promoted)
Championnat National Champions = Sochaux (Dijon promoted)
Coupe de France Winners = PSG

Champions League Winners = Manchester City
Europa League Winners = PSG

Europa Conference League Winners = Aston Villa

It was a good season for us really, as we put together a half decent cup run and only finished behind two sides in the league that were fully expected to get promoted.

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Overall Squad Stats

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The New Arrivals

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The Best 11

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Club Awards

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League Awards

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We gained nearly 12,000 extra social media followers this season after our decent campaign. In terms of the supporter base, a few fair weather fans have been replaced with those int he family section.

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Commercials & Finances

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The budgets for next season aren't too bad, with the wage budget getting a hike of about £4k and quarter of a million quid being made available in the transfer budget too. I can work with this and I'll definitely need to as I have a few players unwilling to sign new deals and look set to leave the club.

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One of the best bits of business I could get done has already been done though as Lenny Nangis signs a new deal with the club, backtracking on his decision earlier this year to explore his options at the end of his contract.

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As we enter the Summer, there are persistent rumours flying around the club about a potential takeover. I hope that this is resolved before the squad come back for next year's pre season one way or the other.

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Friday 2nd August 2024

In line with my philosophy to promote at least one player from the youth squad to the senior squad each season, this year's chosen player is 18 year old central midfielder, Moussa Toure.

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My first signing of the Summer was to bring in a new goalkeeper. He's a bit older than I would have liked at 33, but he is at least French. Baptiste Reynet joins on a free transger and is a slight step up on Martin Sourzac, who I wanted to replace this Summer as we conceded a lot of goals last season and I think he was partly to blame as a relatively mediocre keeper.

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My second signing wasn't a freebie but was cheap as chips. Jason Pendant is a really good left back for the National and is actually classed as a good Ligue 2 player so he's a really good coup for us! Great signing!!

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Unfortunately, he won't play any of pre season and the first few games of the new campaign either after picking up an injury in our fourth day of training!!

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As June turns to July, it's that time when all those with expiring contracts are released and there is a clearout of 16 players this year to go!

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But most of them are youth players which means we still have decent numbers in the first team squad. Obviously, two loanees will soon go back to their parent clubs, but we have some new free transfers to come in that I had previously pre-arranged contracts with.

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The first player to join is the replacement for last year's star midfielder, Mamadou Camara, who was only here on loan. Kleri Serber has been at Toulouse for the past 4 years but could only make their 2nd team last season and is looking to revive his career. He meets my criteria of aiming for French players and is only 25 as well. The perfect signing in line with my philosophy.

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Next through the door is another central midfielder in the form of Nacim El Hassani. Only lined up to be a fringe player and add squad depth, but the 24 year old has potential to break into the first team with some good performances. Again, he's French and I was able to sign him up on a relatively cheap wage.

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My next signing wasn't entirely in line with the aim of French players under 26, but was too good to turn down. Gianluca Barba looks to be a very good midfielder and will play a key role in our season ahead I am sure.

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But the final of the four new additions is back in line with what I am aiming for across the squad core. 26 year old Frenchman, Dylan Chambost, boosts my options in attack and can play down either wing or through the middle. He looks like an exciting player for this level and with good crossing, dribbling and passing ability, I am expecting a fair number of assists from him this season!

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The only problem I do now have after all the new additions is that I am over the club's wage budget by £5k per week, even after transferring all of our transfer budget over as well.

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I would have loved to add another striker to the side, but can't afford a permanent signing, so instead had to settle for a loan deal. 19 year old Swiss prospect, Janis Luthi, is the man who comes in from Young Boys for the season and he looks to have some good attributes all round and should do well for us!

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There will soon be a new addition to the backroom staff as well, as the board have approved my request to add a set piece coach!

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With the wage budget situation being so bad, it left me no choice but to sell one of our prized assets. Benjamin Gomel had already approached me this Summer to say that he will be exploring his options at the end of the season when his contract expires, so I decided to cash in now and managed to get £600k for him from Sporting Gijon.

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The sale did allow me to make the necessary adjustments to the budgets though to ensure I was within my limits.

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Saturday 14th September 2024

With the departure of Benjamin Gomel, I desperately needed to bring in an attacking wide player to replace him. Lyon's 21 year old, Sekou Lega, is that replacement and he looks to be a great talent and a very suitable replacement for one of our star players. I'm excited about this kid and he has the potential to be our new star man this season!

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I then reinforced our centre back options with the loan signing of Fallou Fall from Reims. The squad continues to get stronger with these additions and I feel we are setting ourselves up nicely for the season ahead.

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It is two of our new loanees that are widely seen as our best two players and are amongst the bookies favourites to be the player of the season!

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Although none of our players make the media dream 11, which I find kind of odd considering we are second favourites to win the title behind newly relegated Pau.

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Apart from a minor blip against Paris 13 Atletico, pre season all went to plan and was capped off with a win over Aberdeen that I didn't expect.

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With our prior captain leaving the club this past Summer, it was time to appoint someone new into that role and I have made the bold decision to give the captaincy and vice captaincy to two of my new signings.

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We have been handed a tough game for the opening day against Red Star, who are one of the other favourites for the title this year. Both fixtures ended in draws last season!

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Championnat National
Matchday 1

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A major statement to kick things off and we put the whole division on red alert that we mean business this year! I said I had high hopes that Sekou Lega would shine through as our star man this year and his debut resulted in a man of the match performance bagging 2 goals and an assist here!

Championnat National
Matchday 2

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The result didn't reflect our dominance here, but a win's a win and that's 2 from 2!

Championnat National
Matchday 3

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A pretty drab match in which both sides offered very little. First dropped points of the season, but probably a fair result based on the fact both sides were poor.

Championnat National
Matchday 4

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More dropped points as our problems of conceding late goals last season might just still be there! Laval were one of the relegated sides from Ligue 2 last year though so it might not be the worst result away from home.

Championnat National

League Table

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An unbeaten start to the campaign leaves us in 5th place whilst newly promoted side, Paris 13 Atletico, have had an immense start to their season winning all 4 and lead the way early doors.

The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that there is something for 3rd place this year, which is frustrating for us as it's where we finished last year and got nothing. This season, the team that finishes 3rd will get a shot at promotion.

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Friday 18th October 2024

Championnat National

Matchday 5

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Our third draw in a row and this form is not good enough if we want to mount a serious title challenge this season. We must improve and start getting some wins on the board.

The Le Mans match saw us lose our keeper and captain for the next 6 weeks which really isn't ideal at all!

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On a more positive note, we have now gone an incredible 30 league games unbeaten!

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Championnat National
Matchday 6

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Another ******* draw! We threw a 2-0 and a 3-1 lead here as well, so it's fair to say the lads got a b0ll0cking at full time!

Going into our next game with Boulogne, we had an opportunity to set a new Championnat National record for the longest unbeaten streak in the competition's history if we avoid defeat!

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Championnat National
Matchday 7

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The pressure of the record seemed to get to us and we can't get over the line as a disastrous defensive performance costs us our first league defeat for quite some time! The only real positive to take from this game was the fact that youth academy product, Moussa Toure scored his first two senior goals - both bangers from outside the box!

How quickly things from change. With just one result, we go from a 31 match unbeaten streak to not winning in 5!

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And with our defensive performances coming under question after conceding 8 goals in our last 2 games, things get worse as I lose my best performing centre back for the next 4 weeks!

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Championnat National
Matchday 8

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Total rubbish! We only managed a draw with a newly promoted side that haven't won a game this season! Things are really bad at the moment!

Championnat National
Matchday 9

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Pau are the title favourites so we were expected to have a game on our hands. What is disappointing is the manner of the defeat...we may have lost 1-0 but looking at the match stats probably shows everyone it should have been a much bigger scoreline in Pau's favour as we offered very little.

Championnat National
League Table

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Winning just 2 of our opening 9 games is simply not good enough and sitting in the bottom half of the table means that if things don't improve soon, then the pressure will quickly start mounting on me. We need to turn things around and quickly.
Monday 23rd December 2024

It really looked like we had turned a corner when we won two of our next three league games. However, that was about as good as it was going to get and a winless streak of 6 league games and crashing out of the cup was too much for the board and I am sacked with us languishing in 15th position in the table. Defensively we have not been good enough and after spending the Summer strengthening out midfield and attack, I seemed to neglect the back four a little and I've ultimately been punished for it.

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So the save and story comes to an end. Thanks for those that followed, liked and commented. I'll be back with something new!