Welcome back to season two of Le Méthode de Lemaire as Yves looks to build on the positive finish to season one. It wasn’t promotion as GOAL FC remain in tier four of French football however, the progression from the first half of the season to the second half was almost second to none. Catch up here if you need a reminder or if you missed the season one finale.
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.
In this instalment, it will be everything from the start of pre-season through to the mid-season point…so let’s begin!!
The Chairman Meeting
It was time for Yves Lemaire and chairman Jocelyn ‘Jos’ Fontanel to sit down and some things in place before the squad is welcomed back for pre-season. One topic that shadowed over the end of last season was the speculation of the club being up for sale. Over the off-season break however, Jos had a change of heart and made it known to the press.
Sitting in Yves’ office opposed to ‘the Cafe’ Jos made his intentions clear to Yves.
“Yves, I’m not going anywhere for now. After reflection you’ve convinced me to stay but I need success this season to work. As a board we want a top half finish but we both know what we really need.”
Yves looked Jos directly in the eyes. “We will not be in this division come season 2023/24, I will get this team promoted.”
Jos nodded at Yves showing his trust and said nothing more on the matter. Now, the important subject, the budget for players…
“How much money do we have for players Jos? I need a squad more of my own to succeed.” Yves passion began to ring out.
Jos didn’t have good news though. “We are 300k in the red, where do you expect me to get money from? There is nothing for transfers and no higher wage budget. I know you have set some players for release but you will need to sort out a few more.”
Yves shook his head, clearly showing frustration. “I mean what else can I do? It’s not really ideal but I’ll do what I have to do. I don’t mind getting rid of players who I don’t deem good enough anyway.”
The next subject was a club link in the form of a senior affiliate. Yves had requested this at the start of his tenure but Jos didn’t have his full trust in Yves at that point, so often turned him down. Now the pair have become friends instead of colleagues with high respect between them. Ligue 2 side FC Anney were brought on board. This will be used for loans and of course any affordable transfer listed players.
Transfers, the Squad & Pre-season Results
Mr. Lemaire had took on Jos’ advice and released six players. A further three first teamers were moved on in fringe striker Serge Tra, Steeven Ribery and Yad Lochereau-Pho had his head turned by Ligue 1 RC Lens but appeared back on loan for the season.
As the Championnat National 2 only allowed for five players to be named on the bench, Yves didn’t see the need for an overly big squad. Instead, he targetted areas he deemed to require depth or improvment.
The first was for a back up striker, Brazilian Yuri Souza was signed on a free after his release from last season’s league rivals Saint-Priest. Next in the door was goalkeeper Nathan Cremillieux from FC Lyon (sixth tier). There was a need for competition for the number 1 spot and the young keeper has the credentials to do just that.
Ex-GOAL FC player Jerrold Nyemeck joined the club, he left GOAL FC at the end of the 2020/21 season but found himself without a club in the current times. Yves trialled Nyemeck and was impressed with his versatility being able to play right and left back. Lastly, depth for the CAM role was brought in on loan from Dijon – Kevin Nzungu. This had benefits of all parties in terms of development, game time and squad depth.
Now that Yves had the existing players that he actually wanted, along with the newer signings he was happy with how the squad was looking for the season.
I’m sure there are names from last season that you all recognise, the change to the 4-2-3-1 back in January 2022 has opened pathways back into the first team for players like Thomas Amegnaglo who spent the second half of last season out on loan. There isn’t a weak spot at this point that Yves identifies however, performances and training will go a long way in who shapes the regular starting XI.
An average pre-season in Yves’ eyes, they beat the teams they should have, apart from Montceau who are in the the tier below. This was bad timing for Yves, he felt that this should have been a sure win and good momentum for the first game of the season.
“Boys, what was that? No desire, no want for the result and to me no interest! The U19s would have given them a better match! Today should have decided my team for the first game but let me tell you, none of you are safe.”
Safe to say, everyone needed to train to the best they ever had under Lemaire…
Championnat National 2 2022/23
August – November
As always the start of the season is game heavy and the team performed very well, especially compared to last season’s start. The thing with this tier is, teams who were contesting for promotion in one season could be fighting for survival in the next so it was all about focusing solely on the team’s progress for Yves and not worrying about anyone else.
Points were dropped against Andrezieux-Boutheon in a 1-0 loss and then a drab 0-0 draw with Bourg-Peronnas. Of course, our beloved manager hates to lose and takes his time to get over bad results but on reflection, he knew the team were getting the job done for the majority of time.
League wise it’s a great start, leading the pack and showing very good form. This kind of thing doesn’t make Yves smile though, he uses it as motivation for his individual goal of getting promotion. Come back at the end of the season if you want to see the great man show happy emotion.
Coming into October, the league games dry up due to the Coupe de France filling the gaps and it is also nearing the winter World Cup which causes disruption at even this level of football (I have no clue why either!).
For the three league matches that did take place, it was three slender wins but it was just what was needed as well as this would be the last league matches until the middle of January, due to the French winter break in late December.
Yves had called a quick team meeting instead of training after the Marseille 2 win and had an image of the league table on a projected screen.
“Boys, firstly no official training tonight you deserve a night off and this won’t take long either. I just want to put things into context for you. Season 2021/22 at this point, won 5 drawn 2 lost 6. 17 points and -3 goal difference. You all got that? Now, compare this to what’s on the screen.”
The squad let off some smiles and nods towards each other, with fist bumps going around between the players. They all then look back towards Yves with determined looks on their faces.
“Use this as motivation and drive forward now, when the league re-commences we must be potent and put every single team away!”
The squad clap Yves as his passion soaks through. They all proceed to go and enjoy their evenings however they wish.
Coupe de France 2022/23
The run ended in the eighth round for a second season in a row, however the last two rounds that GOAL FC appeared in were against Championnat National teams. Orleans was one of Yves clubs’ during his playing career, he still produced moments of magic for them but it was a frustrating spell with injuries for him. He also felt the fans didn’t truly appreciate his contributions at the club, often painting him as the bad guy.
It was a massive 3-0 win after a magical display from tricky winger Ibrahim Diarra. The press were keen to get a pitch side interview which Yves adhered to.
The Press Officer excitingly asked “Did that one feel sweet Yves, especially after your turbulent time at the club with the fans during your playing career?”
Yves looked unfazed. “Any victory is sweet but it was just business for us, we knew we could beat them and we did so, job done in my eyes. Thank you.”
Yves walked down the tunnel but he knew his arrogance would fire up the Orleans fans, which was music to his ears.
Player Training Issue
You may remember the name Jonathan Mambu from last season…but for all the wrong reasons. He was club captain at the time but it clearly went to his head with his lacklustre efforts in training. This season Yves removed the captaincy from Mambu hoping it would spark a change…
Jonathan Mambu’s training performances had been horrendous in comparison to the rest of the squad. Yves pulled him into his office numerous times until one day Mambu got brave with Yves, claiming the manager had criticised him too much.
Yves was not in the mood for it. “TOO OFTEN? ARE YOU CRAZY?! Last season captain, you train poor and barely play. This season no captaincy, you play more and still train poor! What am I supposed to do? Remember your contract is up at the end of the season, better still January is around the corner so what will it be? Sort yourself out!”
Yves then started again as Mambu tried to leave. “You remember Loic Bongue last season? Stopped training/stop showing respect? Look at him now, playing in the sixth tier with 2 goals in 12 games…the grass isn’t always greener y’know!”
Jonathan Mambu did indeed back down and instead of training poorly regularly, he became inconsistent with his training performances.
Whilst the ratings on the bad days improved, it still wasn’t at the required standard. Yves is clearly frustrated, it adds to the fact that Mambu is a talented player but if you don’t train well, don’t expect to play…what does the future hold for Jonathan Mambu?
Next time out it will take us to the end of the season, can Yves Lemaire & GOAL FC make it to the title or promotion? Will it be enough for Chairman Jocelyn Fontanel to stick around if they do? Finally, what will Jonathan Mambu’s fate be? A lot going on for sure so it will be a bumper ride that’s for sure.
Thanks as always for reading the blog, apologies for the delay in getting this out also. Other projects have taken priority but I should be able to crack back on with these blogs now! Take care all of you.