The League of Talents
The slogan launched in 2018 by the French Football League (LFP) and its president at the time, Nathalie Boy de la Tour, to "
represent the very essence of what Ligue 1 is and promote its exposure to international
”, has long been mocked by the followers of the championship.
Initially designed to qualify players, it's another profession that has stood out for a few seasons: coaches.
Calendar and results Ligue 1
League 1 standings
A new generation, often from the world of training.
Régis Le Bris in Lorient, Mathieu le Scornet (replaced by Frédéric Antonetti on February 14) in Strasbourg or Didier Digard in Nice were all educators before settling on a Ligue 1 bench. These neophytes are following in Julien's footsteps. Stéphan (sacked at the end of December by RC Strasbourg) and Franck Haise (manager of RC Lens), installed respectively since 2018 and 2020 in the elite.
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The trend has changed.
From now on, club presidents and other decision-makers no longer systematically call “service firefighters” with experienced CVs like Rolland Courbis or Pascal Dupraz.
Even during a cleaver season with four runs as is the case this year, the leaders do not hesitate to take risks and now trust the club's men, who are often novices.
Coaches younger than some players
We could have had short-term solutions that came from outside but today we no longer think in terms of coach but in terms of staff.
The era of a coach who manages everything is over,
” explained Florent Ghisolfi, the Nice sports director, when inducting Didier Digard, already at the club, as the Gym's main coach.
This year, more than half of the technicians (13) have already been let go and six of them have been replaced by in-house solutions.
Read alsoLigue 1: five coaches dismissed in October, whose turn now?
Through this new fashion, one observation is striking: the results follow.
In Lens, Franck Haise continues to perform for his third season as number 1 (7th in 2021 and 2022 and current 4th).
Beyond the results, it's a whole club that has been transformed with a well-built group and a polished game deployed.
Régis Le Bris, who succeeded Christophe Pélissier in Morbihan imitates him.
While Les Merlus are coming out of two complicated seasons (16th in 2021 and 2022), here they are installed in the first part of the table (9th).
On the Nice side, Didier Digard (36) has revived a sadly gloomy formation under Lucien Favre (64).
After nine Ligue 1 games under his command, the Aiglons have still not experienced defeat.
Under the leadership of their new coach, the club has just had six wins and three draws and is in 7th place after 26 days.
Asked at the beginning of March about his new role by
Didier Digard explained his method: “
I don't change according to the environment or the status.
I coach the pros as I was an assistant or reserve coach.
You are never as comfortable as when you are yourself.
A refreshing speech that translates into his successful debut.
The Will Still Phenomenon
Finally, the other sensation of the championship is Belgian and has only 16 Ligue 1 matches to his credit with the Stade de Reims: Will Still.
His team, author of a very solid performance at the end of January against PSG (1-1 at the Parc des Princes), has been undefeated since October in the league (8 wins and 8 draws).
The young coach (30 years old) won over with his qualities as a modern technician and his group adheres to his methods.
A great fan of Football Manager (a very popular football management video game), he climbed the ladder one by one and held several positions within clubs in Belgium (recruiter, video analyst and assistant coach).
People tend to forget that I started when I was 21.
Which means I'm now in my eighth or ninth season in professional football.
I'm starting to have experience
” the Belgian recently recalled on the Ligue 1 website.
Reims forced to pay a fine of €25,000 per game
Younger than some of his players, his captain Yunis Abdelhamid is 5 years his senior, Will Still won after the dismissal of Oscar Garcia in October, the Catalan coach who brought him back to assist him this summer .
Not yet holder of the professional football coaching certificate (BEPF) necessary to lead Ligue 1 matches, his club is forced to pay a fine of €25,000 for each match.
There is a rule that says that when a coach is registered for training, you can get a waiver and therefore not pay this fine.
In France, it's something classic but
is registered in Belgium.
So we asked the FFF for this derogation and we got an answer which, as so often, is absolutely unclear.
For the moment, we are supposed to be penalized
” explained Jean-Pierre Caillot, the president of Reims, in an interview granted to France Bleu on February 3.
Read alsoLigue 1: "It's for this kind of emotion that we do this job", savors Still (Reims)
A financial risk nevertheless assumed by the leaders because if the results last until the end of the season (Reims is 8th, 6 points from Europe), the Champagne club could well seek qualification for the European Cup and win the generous endowments that accompany it.