The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Will Still and a winning streak at 25,000 euros in fines per game


The coach for years without a degree for whom the Stade de Reims pays a sanction in each game can equal this Sunday an unbeaten record held by Tito Vilanova

In the division of labels, Will Still has received that of the coach forged through Football Manager, a video game that simulates team management.

Sometimes the border between material and fiction is so blurred that a Still testimonial on

The Coaches' Voice

website turned him into a celebrity forged through a good headline: “A real Football Manager”.

Nothing virtual reality shows a 30-year-old rookie coach, the youngest of the five major leagues, who leads a team that has gone 17 games without losing.

If Still, in charge of the Stade de Reims, does not fall this Sunday against Olympique de Marseille, he will have equaled a record held by Tito Vilanova, who ten years ago spent 18 unbeaten games with Barcelona to place the top there so far this year. century.

“I have played Football Manager or with the console like any boy who is passionate about football,” Still explained to the English station TalkSports in an attempt to value himself.

Beyond the labels, he presents a surprising baggage.

On October 15, he made his debut as first coach at the head of a team that was looking to relegation in a season in which the competition in France unbalances four teams to go from 20 to 18. Still outside the red zone, but nervous, President Jean-Pierre Callot dismissed Óscar García Junyent, with whom he managed to stay the previous season, but had only won one game out of eleven this season.

The Spanish coach was going through a tough personal situation, but Callot decided: “We cannot jeopardize the position of 250 employees.

It's painful, but necessary."

In Reims they are ambitious.

The club, refounded after several administrative disasters, is indebted to a history that points to it being a six-time League champion between 1949 and 1962 and a two-time finalist at the dawn of the European Cup (Real Madrid beat it in 1956, in the premiere of the competition, and in 1959).

Still trains at the Ciudad Deportiva that bears the name of Raymond Kopa, the Mbappé that Bernabéu wore in white.

There he sends a young redhead who doesn't like being called a coach by his players.

In reality, he is not completely: he still has his studies pending to obtain the degree required to sit on the bench, so that each game costs his club a fine of 25,000 euros.

The idea was to assume that sanction for five games before the World Cup and in the meantime sign a substitute for García Junyent.

But the team won two games and drew the other three, and on the last day of November it was announced that Still would remain in the job.

The quota in fines reaches 450,000 euros this Sunday, but in 17 games the team has added 35 points thanks to nine wins and eight draws.

This day began four points from Europe and twenty on relegation.

In France it is a sensation.

“We have 4,000 cameras here, but nothing changes our work”, he explains on the eve of receiving the OM.

In France it is a sensation.

“We have 4,000 cameras here, but nothing changes our work”, he explains on the eve of receiving the OM.

In France it is a sensation.

“We have 4,000 cameras here, but nothing changes our work”, he explains on the eve of receiving the OM.

Still's life is unconventional.

He was born and raised in a Brussels suburb near the Waterloo battlefield, the son of English parents, making his fortune on French soil.

At just 17 years old, he crossed the Channel to enroll in an English university, Myerscough College, near Preston.

“I became a young adult, I learned about soccer, about different cultures and, most importantly, about myself,” he explained to a group of students in January.

After graduating, he ended up back in Belgium, where the Spanish-born coach Yannick Ferrera, then at Sint-Truiden, invited him to work as a camera operator in rival matches and to prepare reports.

He worked without pay, but he made his way and at the age of 24 he served as interim coach at Lierse, then in the Belgian second division, for eight games.

He won seven

but they signed a boss for him.

He moved up a category to join Beerschot and took the same route: analyst, assistant coach and interim coach for thirteen days.

He won in five and tied in two before his inexperience became a problem in the eyes of managers.

"Will is the youngest, but also the smartest," says Ferrera, a kind of mentor.

The Stade de Reims called him.

Still doesn't understand how they handled his references.

His first months in the team, under the orders of García Junyent, he spent with the bustle of having to go to Belgium twice a week to attend the classes that should lead him to the title of coach.

He took a leave of absence to work for Standard Liège's coaching staff before returning to Reims earlier this season.

Next summer he hopes to be a certified classroom trainer.

In the field he already is.

“He knows how to lead a group and makes us have fun competing.

We played without pressure, ”explains Alexis Flips, one of his Praetorians in a team built around a 4-2-3-1 and that is impressive due to his solidity:

in 11 of the 17 games of the streak they have not conceded a goal and Marseille will receive them after six games without being scored.

"I loved the man-to-man defense of Atlético's 6-3-1 against Chelsea," he slides when asked about his references.

That bolt that Simeone raised two years ago in the Champions League offered him clues about the defensive organization.

“Football is talent, but it is also mental and tactical work.

And above all emotion, not robotic positioning ”, he assures.

Still is presented as a flexible guy, an admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson for his ability to renew himself for decades at the highest level.

And despite having turned his career mode into a way of life, he admits that sometimes he still opens Football Manager and reflects: "If they told me five years ago that I was going to be explaining in a locker room how to stop Messi or Mbappé, I would answer that it is ridiculous ”.

You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on




, or sign up here to receive

our weekly newsletter


Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits

Keep reading

I'm already a subscriber

Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2023-03-19

You may like

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.