The first half of the season was a fast start which gave Yves Lemaire and his GOAL FC side a seven point lead heading towards the halfway point of the season. With an eighth round exit in the Coupe de France, this allowed the focus to be solely on promotion. If you missed the mid-season update, check it out here!
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.
Now, before the league results and form is viewed, of course there is the topic of the January transfer window however, there is nothing to show for this. Let’s meet Yves and Chairman Joceyln ‘Jos’ Fontanel at the renowned meeting place of ‘the cafe’.
The Transfer Window Meeting
Whilst the team were winning games, strikers Malick Assef & Youri Souza were struggling in front of goal, which had moved the responsibility on to the wingers unofficially. Yves wanted a goal scorer and had to make the request.
“Jos, I need a consistent striker that can score 10+ goals in the second part of the season. A free signing won’t do it, we need quality here.” Yves was no less than direct with this.
Jos knew the team needed this but also knew the reality. “I agree Yves, both our current strikers can’t find consistent form but all I can give you is the £8k that is available in the transfer budget…even that is a stretch for us.”
Yves had a look of frustration on his face. “£8k? I can’t get a good goalscorer with this. If we are still bad with money and get promoted, we’ll be in even more trouble as the squad will need big improvements.”
Jos couldn’t give much hope, just honesty. “If we get promoted, we worry about that then. Focus on the current time and carry on doing the good job that you are with this squad. I don’t completely care who scores right now as long as we go up. But work with these strikers and bring something out of them if you can. I know it’s tough but this is lower league management, take the good with the bad.”
Yves acknowledged Jos and left the Cafe. This meant no January signings and he could only hope the squad doesn’t faulter because of it.
Championnat National 2 2022/23
January – February 2023
Following the long winter break, the return to football was largely successful for Yves and GOAL FC. The team overcame tough fixtures against Lyon 2 (2-1) & Monaco 2 (3-0) and also survived the tricky Andrezieux-Boutheon (2-1). A singular loss came against strugglers Hyeres FC (0-1) who were manager-less at the time, which made it even more frustrating for Yves as they should have put them away.
In terms of goals, it was the wingers who stepped up once again, in particular the experienced Arnold Lemb and young loan prospect Yad Lochereau-Pho being in potent form.
The loss didn’t upset proceedings as the gap at the top was extended to 9 points with all the reserve teams of the big French clubs following behind.
March – May 2023
This is where things really pick up, so fasten the seat belts because it’s about to get real!
Of course you would consider GOAL FC favourites at this point but things got a bit a shaky form wise. Important wins against Martigues (3-0) & Bourg-Peronnas (1-0) however, there was four points dropped against teams who should have been put away in Aubagne (1-2) & Lyon-La Duchere (0-0). Was it nerves? Maybe so but then the main step was taken after a match against OGC Nice 2…
As Reserve (2) sides cannot get promoted this means the closest contender for promotion was fifth place Andrezieux-Boutheon but as the gap is now too big, GOAL FC ARE GOING UP!!! Championnat National will be Yves next challenge but there was still one more task at hand in going up as champions…
There wasn’t one game left but the 1-0 win over Toulon has made GOAL FC CHAMPIONNAT NATIONAL 2 CHAMPIONS 2022/23!!! Yves has done what he set out to do this season!
Elation from the great man as he almost breaks down in tears knowing they couldn’t be caught. He screams “Yeeeeessss!!!” as he comes back in to the dressing room and jumps around with the boys. Once settled, it was time for the classic Manager’s speech.
“Boys we have done it, what we wanted and what we set out to do. It’s all you guys too, I just decide how we play and train but this season this group have carried it out, I’m so proud of you all. But let us finish the season strong and show our domination…ALLEZ, ALLEZ, ALLEZ!”
With that there was still five games to complete but how did they go?
The team still played well, winning four out of five as Yves demanded the team finished strong. Although, on this one occasion he allowed the 2-0 loss to Marseille 2 to slide after the confirmed success of the season. However, the team know that these kind of free passes are few and far between.
Striker Malick Assef seemed to find form in the last two games, scoring three goals but it all seemed a little too late as Yves really had to think about his striking options for next season.
The end of season table showed for great viewing as GOAL FC won the league by a more than convincing 22 points! The most goals scored and the least conceded shows how far the team have come since season one, preparations for the Championnat National will mean no summer holiday for Yves Lemaire.
Within the last update, it was documented that winger and former captain Jonathan Mambu’s training performances were a concern for Yves Lemaire, for a second season in a row. Yves had noted the consequences of being sold or released if it carried on and there was some improvement after this chat but then things began to slip again…
Yves tried to be patient and warned Mambu three more times but then it got to a point when enough was enough. Yves called Mambu into his office and didn’t even let him sit down before starting a tirade of words.
“Jonathan please, we cannot keep doing this. You’re a fantastic player but you must train harder and properly. You are not guaranteed anything in this team without hard work.”
Mambu did not react well questioning the occurrence of criticism. Yves then brought down the gauntlet of threatening the transfer list, Mambu’s betrayal then took place.
With one of the coldest looks you would ever see, Mambu stated directly to Yves “If you feel the need to transfer list me, so be it.” and proceeded to leave the office and go home.
Yves could not believe it, almost in complete shock. Within minutes it was known to the French lower leagues that Mambu was available immediately and for any price however, a humbling was just around the corner for the winger.
No-one was interested, Mambu seemed confident that he find a new club easily and was showing his confidence in the dressing room before training. Yves strolled in with a smirk on his face and targetted Mambu straight away.
“Hey Jonathan, maybe calm yourself down, offered out for any price and no team in any lower tier said yes! Would you believe it?!” Yves chuckled to himself and then proceeded to tell Mambu of his new fate.
“I tell you what, as you have contributed with some goals this season, stay and collect your league medal but train on your own from now on. You will have no direct involvement with the first team and no new contract at the end of the season.”
Mr. Lemaire may give chances to players to redeem themselves but this shows the effects when someone doesn’t comply.
End of Season Review 2022/23
As you may have noticed or read, the two strikers within the squad have struggled someone this season. Malick Assef is a good player but does not score enough to be the leading man for GOAL FC. For Yuri Souza, it has been a poor spell since joining the club.
It’s safe to say three of the wingers have combined to do some heavy lifting in the goal scoring considering their roles. 29 goals between Arnold Lemb, Ibrahim Diarra & Yad Lochereau-Pho shows how they stepped up to the plate, with the latter being injured for parts of the early season.
With the attacking midfielders, this may identify some of the issues in terms of service for strikers. Loanee Kevin Nzungu only achieved 1 goal and 1 assist despite always being involved in attacks when played and the more experienced Thomas Amegnaglo only mustered 4 assists and no goals. You’d expect a lot higher from your playmakers.
Yuri Souza’s return of 3 goals doesn’t cut it for Yves and he wasn’t going to be offered a new contract, but he has signed a pre-contract in the fourth tier of Brazil anyway. Malick Assef will stay for another season but going up a tier will it be a step too far?
Season End Finances
Finances are in a really bad place come the end of the season with massive losses of £361,823 last season. It’s safe to say the club needs some big financial backing or another promotion as soon as possible. Chairman Jocelyn Fontanel does put money into the club essentially to keep it afloat but at this point intervention is needed.
Due to the financial state, Yves was only rewarded a years extension on his expiring contract in which he even took a near £200 a week pay cut. It may not seem a lot for the club’s finances but the man has bills to pay himself!
It will be time to prepare for the Championnat National and make the squad strong enough for survival in the first instance. Yves needs to also make a good account of himself with the precarious position of only having a years contract. Yves wants to take GOAL FC to the top but will the dire finances cause a change is his plans? That will be for us all to find out.
Thanks guys for reading as always and all your support! Promotion at the second attempt, let’s get amongst the third tier next season! Take care out there.