Bonjour! Welcome back to France. I took over the worst club in France Ligue 2 and expected to be a hero by now. Instead, we languish in mid table unable to defend. The squad is also bloated, full of my questionable signings and players who can’t be shifted.
Today we’ll head through the third quarter of the season to see if we can move up the table rather than down
First on the agenda though it’s Troyes at home in the cup. They are many points above us in the table but the game swings in our favour when Troyes go down to 10. The only bad news is Olivero goes off injured. Fingers crossed on that one.
SIX WEEKS?! Ah ffs. He has 16 in 21 and will undoubtedly be missed. Still, don’t let that take away from an excellent result. Into round 2 we go where we’ll face Non-league opposition away. Lovely.
Back to league action then and an away game with Niort turns out to be quite eventful. Not every day you have two players score a hat-trick, especially playing with 10 men.
Natigol, as only I am calling him, is loving life. He’s on the scoresheet again at home to the Lorient express in a narrow 3-2 win. Scoring is not a problem, keeping them out very much is.
It’s therefore a brave decision to sell promising centre back Malek Ait Alia. He has 20 for aggression and that’s a recipe for disaster in this formation. £475k will come in handy as soon as anybody good actually wants to join us.
Top of the table Nancy is statistically the toughest fixture we’ll face. Natigol scores after a minute and despite the efforts of Tony Cascarino, we end up winning 4-2. A wonderful result and a signal of intent. Vareille and Sritong-In are a brutal partnership.
An away game with non-league opposition would be a banana skin to a less ruthless team but we’ve got our goal goggles on and despite an agonising wait for the second goal, it eventually arrives. With that, two becomes four and we’ll see you in round 3.
Red Star are really struggling. So much so they’ve appointed Jack Charlton. They put us under pressure and the more successful Le Saux brother puts us under more pressure. Sritong-In comes up trumps in the final minute to snatch a point and keeps our run going.
Nimes are 6th. That sounds impressive but we are 7th. That should make for a tight game but we have one of those days where we can’t defend. Despite the efforts of Monarch of the Glen we fall to a 5-2 loss. Frustrating.
A second home game follows on Valentine’s Day. I doubt Mulhouse is the city or even the village of love but I am falling in love with Natipong Sritong-In. A late winner here maintains our momentum after Branlard – Breakfast for fat people – threatens to ruin us.
It’s Ligue 1 opposition in the 3rd round of the cup. Lyon are 8th in the top tier and boast talents like Joseph Desire-Job, Tomas Repka and Reyland Pedros.
Natigol gives us the lead but Stephane Roche equalises before France International Pedros wins it. So close. But nearly is nowhere.
The transfer deadline is approaching so I’m pleased to receive bids for two players who don’t feature. £600k banked and a bit more wiggle room to continue to build a squad I don’t despise. I had so many Richter scale puns lined up as well.
Laval are relegation fodder and count Ulrich Le Pen as a star player. Le Pen played once for Ipswich in the early 2000s to give you some idea of what we’re dealing with. Kavanagh can make you feel good with a double whilst Pennyfather also scores twice to secure a 4-2 win. His monocle drops out in surprise before he rides off on horseback into the night.
Troyes must be sick of us. We turn up and score three goals in four minutes to record an impressive 3-0 win. They’ve fallen from 2nd to 6th and it is largely our fault.
Last game of the day is Butthead away. They are not particularly good and it shows as Vareille nets his 20th and 21st of the season. Is it too late for a promotion push?
The short answer to that is: probably. We’ve found some sort of form and our the top scorers in the division. We also have one of the worst defences. Can we make up 6 points on the top three? There are 12 games left, so obviously we can mathematically but that’s a huge ask.
Our form is pretty good though and 7 of our remaining games are at home. We have to go to Saint Etienne and we finish at home to Wasquehal, so it’s almost in our hands.
Natigol has 13 in 16 for us whilst Vareille has 21 in 28. Olivero has just returned to fitness and will surely add to his 16 league goals once he’s up to full speed. Pennyfather, brought in as a bit of a joke, has 16 assists to his name and leads the way in the division. He’s just turned 35 but as long as he keeps pulling rabbits out of his top hat, I’m ok with it.
That’s all for this week, we’ve got a big finale next week to try and get out of this division at the first attempt. If we don’t, I’m confident we can do it next season if we can keep this squad together. Toodles for now.