A tough start to managerial life for Yves Lemaire was all to be seen in the first half of the season. The winter break couldn’t come sooner as Yves knew himself, something had to change or things could get uneasy for him.
His ‘5 phase’ philosophy was key to getting the club up the leagues but as this was his first time implementing this, had he misjudged it all?
The ‘5 Phase’ Philosophy
Before Yves decided to come into management, he designed his own philosophy which is based on 5 phases of club progression. His aim was always to start low down in the tiers and GOAL FC will be the club where the philosophy is implemented.
PHASE 1 – Status – This essentially is to get the club to professional status by whatever it takes tactically or financially.
PHASE 2 – Stability – After going professional, this is to bring stability to the club in Ligue 2.
PHASE 3 – Implementation – To identify with an attacking style of play to become more competitive within the league.
PHASE 4 – Control – To win promotion to Ligue 1 using phase 3 and to become established within that league.
PHASE 5 – Dominance – This is the final step, become a title and cup winner, then target European success as well. Become a force within French Football.
These will be tracked and essentially ticked off once complete, it is a step by step process however, Yves aims to complete all of this at GOAL FC and will do whatever takes for it to happen.
As mentioned there was a winter break, however Yves had called the players back into training on the evening of Christmas Day! His wife was livid “Yves, why today of all days? Why not tomorrow or the next day?!” Yves remained straight faced and said “I trained on this day throughout my career, you should be used to it now. Plus, the kids will be tired by then. This is about commitment from the team, I need something back from them.”
And it was exactly that, Yves felt the team weren’t giving him everything so he done this to see who was committed to his cause…but more problems were just around the corner.
January Transfer Window 2021/22
Loic Socka Bongue Fallout
Bongue was a striker at the club who demanded playing time but ultimately didn’t produce when given the chance. After an honest chat with Yves, it was ascertained that they did not see eye to eye as Lemaire told the striker, he had to prove himself to get back into the team. Bongue reacted poorly and ended up going to the press twice in a matter of days…
Yves was irate, the disrespect he felt was on another level. After this embarrassment, Bongue was ordered to train with GOAL FC 2 (Reserve side) as punishment but then things got worse.
Bongue then had an argument with GOAL FC 2 manager Jean-Michel Picolet after a problematic training session. Yves couldn’t believe it and took matters into his own hands at the training ground in the canteen. “Hey Loic, tomorrow train with the under 19s and we’ll see who is a big man after that!” Yves storms out before Bongue could respond. Safe to say however, it wasn’t over yet.
Player Liaison Officer Jeremy Locatelli peeps his head around Yves’ office door. “Yves, he is not here, he is not here with the under 19s or any team.” Yves immediately looks up at Locatelli and makes a big demand. “Get him here tomorrow at 9am, then this will be over for good!”
And indeed it was over, as along with the Chairman’s blessing Yves terminates Bongue’s contract, then demands him to collect his things and never step foot on club soil again.
The next training session, the boys look slightly nervous after hearing and seeing some of the carry on. Yves addresses the team before the warm up commences. “Evening boys, I know it’s been tough these last few days but let this be a lesson to you all, if you do not trust the process or think you deserve a place in the team without putting up the stats, you will be going the same way. It doesn’t matter who you are, no-one disrespects our beautiful club…clear?” The squad nods in acknowledgement. “Okay, great. Now let’s go play football.”
One New Face
With the toughness of not being able to manoeuvre much in the transfer market due to the lack of funds, Yves just wanted a new option in central midfield. Dipping into the loan market, Noam Bonnet joined on loan from Lyon with no payments required on the deal.
Youth Intake 2021/22
After receiving a report a few months back of a projected excellent intake for the club, Yves remained optimistic but the time had come for the intake of the new prospects.
Yves was livid and immediately called Head of Youth Development Elvis Dufraiche to his office. As soon as Dufraiche had stepped in, Yves was off on one. “Are you bloody serious?! WHAT IS THIS?! This is not excellence, it is crap. Who is coming to the first team here? Probably none of them. I don’t understand this or you, excellent projection, terrible reality! Now get out!!”
Safe to say Elvis Dufraiche may be worried for his future with his contract up at the end of the season…
Championnat National 2 2021/22
Tactical Change – 4-2-3-1
That’s right, Yves third tactic already this season! This was the work of the winter break as now he was aware of the regular players in the squad, that he could work around them and benefit them where it counted most. Emphasis on the right is used as top scorer Arnold Lemb plays this side but there is always support for the inside forward on the opposing side with a mezzala and left wing back there to cover any void when cutting inside.
Defensively it low risk as they look to play out quickly and not mess about on the ball but will this be third time lucky for Yves tactically?
January – May 2022
A much better run of form sees some winning consistency from GOAL FC with the attacking trio up front & on the wings in Malick Assef, Yad Lochereau-Pho & Arnold Lemb seem to be flourishing under this system.
A couple of losses in there to Frejus-Saint-Raphael & AS Monaco wasn’t ideal with their timings but at the same time, 2 losses in 13 games compared to the 6 losses in 13 games at the start of the season shows great progress. In terms of the table, GOAL FC had made a miraculous recovery as well.
Up into fifth place and two points off of a promotion place with 4 games to go! An amazing recovery from Yves and the team! For context, Reserve sides cannot get promoted even if they win the league so if you take out Lyon 2 & Marseille 2, it is a 3 horse race with Saint-Priest & Frejus-Saint-Raphael. How did they next two pivotal games pan out though?
Nerves may have settled in as a 2-2 draw with Martigues who are in the bottom half wasn’t what was needed and Hyeres FC nearly caused more issues after getting 2 goals back when Yves’ men were 3-0 up!
Advantage Frejus-Saint-Raphael at this point as a favour would be needed from elsewhere regarded but Yves had to face Saint-Priest in one of the last two games and he rallied behind the boys. “They beat us last time but look how far we have come since then, whatever happens boys I’m proud but let’s keep up our side of the bargain and finish with our heads held high!”
Yves’ squad reacted gaining that pivotal 1-0 win over Saint-Priest before beating Toulon with the same score line. 6 points was the maximum but did things go GOAL FC’s way elsewhere?
Frejus-Saint-Raphael secured the promotion place and with make their way to Championnat National but GOAL FC will remain in the fourth tier next season. Considering how the season started though, it was a fantastic recovery to third place and Yves will be hungry for promotion next season!
The Future of GOAL FC
In the latter part of the season a lot of rumours started whirling around the club and local press about a potential takeover.
However, Chairman Jocelyn Fontanel quickly came out to try and put the fire out of the rumours due get rid of the press attention.
During the speculation, Yves was very much aware but did not look into it much due to the team’s constant progression up the table. When the news came out that it was just supposedly speculation and Mr. Fontanel had quashed it, Yves didn’t want to bother with it at this time. A few weeks later though, the circus around it began again.
The rumours came out that Mr. Fontanel wanted to step aside but France-Football reported again it was just speculation. Yves was well aware that a takeover could see him lose his job, he had grown a lot respect for Mr. Fontanel and this time it was Yves calling a meeting at ‘the Cafe’.
They shook hands and sat together whilst waiting for their coffees. Yves got down to business. “Mr. Fontanel, what is happening? Will you sell the club?”
The chairman looked down at the table and sighed. “Yves my friend, you can call me Jos (short for Jocelyn). To be honest whilst we’re still in Championnat National 2, it costs a lot. We’re not getting enough fans in right now and the sponsorship doesn’t cover all the wages.”
Yves looked slightly upset but didn’t show it fully. “Boss, we can fix it, let me bring you promotion next season then the money will improve in time, I know it!”
Yves’ passion shone through but Mr. Fontanel had to do what’s best for himself as a businessman. “You’re infectious Yves, your passion for this club and football is wonderful but I have to do what’s best for me financially. Y’know I would love to by this cafe and live a simpler life. One thing though, I will only sell the club to the right person for the right offer. I won’t jeopardise the future. As for you, keep doing what you’re doing, you are the key to progression here.”
After some small talk, Yves and Mr. Fontanel share a hug, shake hands and leave in their own cars. All Yves can think now though is, what will this summer and next season look like?
Yves Lemaire will go into the off season and see what happens in terms of the takeover but regardless, he focuses on next season with the team. Will the summer allow him to bring in players more to his liking or will it be another tough summer where he has no choice but to work with the players he has?
Thanks all for your time reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the first season. Whatever happens with Yves and the takeover, the save will carry on! Take care out there.