One Man’s Journey Through France: V

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 10.04.05So, we’ve reached the end of the second season of Julien Girard’s managerial career, so it is update time once again. Update number 5, check me out.  This update will cover the end of the second season with SC Schiltigheim, and outline my plans for the next season, and assess the actual state of Julien’s career as it stands. As I did last season, I’ll also cover a little bit of French football in general so that you have an idea of the world we’re playing in. In the last update, Schiltigheim were sitting 3rd in the Championnat de France Amateur, but via – presumably – a rule that prevents two reserve teams being promoted to the Championnat National, we were set to be promoted if we could maintain our form. Julien had also adapted his tactics following the signing of Thierry Ambrose, and had begun to use a 4-2-3-1, again showing his tactical pragmatism and flexibility. Julien’s main objective as things stand is to get Schiltigheim promoted into the Championnat National, the league that SC Sedan Ardennes rejected Julien from, the 3rd level of French football. Schiltigheim continue to show appreciation for Julien’s loyalty.

After the last update, Julien lost his trusted scout Mbo Mpenza, as he was stolen by Beerschot-Wilrijk. As a result, Bertrand Tunica was signed to replace him, along with a few other staff upgrades for the club. Perhaps most importantly, Marco Rosenfelder signed a one year extension to his contract to remain at the Stade de l’Ar until 2019.

We only had 12 more games of the Championnat de France Amateur to play after the last update, so how did we finish? Did we manage to continue the good form we had going?

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Well, yes and no. Our good form continued after the break – that friendly was beyond fun by the way – with dominant 3-1 victories over US Lusitanos and AS Poissy, playing the fantastic football we had before the winter break, with the club and the fans showing their appreciation of the football Julien was bringing to the district of Strasbourg. Marco Rosenfelder in particular was dominating games, and continuing to lead the team in goals, assists and average rating, although Julien Tripard did begin to put the ball in the back of the net much, much more. However, we came crashing back down to earth with back to back defeats to RC Lens Reserves and Union Sportive Royenne, which really dragged us back towards our competition for the second promotion place. However, we then stabilised and continued to pick up wins, but in entirely unconvincing fashion. We scraped by against lower table opposition, and failed to capitalise on any misakes made by Bordeaux’s Reserves. In the meantime, Julien continued to be linked to jobs at other clubs, even at Angers in Ligue 1! This clearly shows that Julien’s standing within French football is growing.

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Thierry Ambrose volleys in a Kecha cross at the far post to make it 3-1 against US Lusitanos.

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With those results, we went into the final day with the table looking like this. We’d managed to end up in 2nd, in the promotion places on outright merit rather than just status as a non-reserve team. However, I still wasn’t 100% sure of the rules regarding the reserve teams, so I wanted to make sure that we won our final game to ensure our 2nd placed finish. The more eagle eyed among you will also notice that we’re 3 points and 6 goals behind Bordeaux’s ‘reserves’ of Ligue 1 standard players. Hang on, surely we couldn’t do it again? Could we hammer FC Fleury 91, and yet again steal the league on the final day?

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No. No we couldn’t. Not even close. We performed absolutely appallingly against FC Fleury 91, a team still not safe from relegation, and handed the title to Bordeaux without even putting up a fight. This result summed up the side towards the end of the season though, and in the end we limped over the line, putting in poor performance after poor performance, and getting by on our fantastic form from earlier in the season that had left us in such good shape.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 20.54.19As a result, this was the full table by the end of the season. We finished 2nd, 2 points ahead of the closest team Lille’s Reserves, and a full 7 points ahead of any team that could have realistically been promoted instead of us. It looks as if it’s been effortless, but the end of the season really was poor. It almost felt like Mourinho’s final title with Chelsea, where the good work was done in the first half of the season.

As I’ve said in the previous two updates of this season, I really was unclear about the rules of this league regarding promotion. FM said that the top team gains automatic promotion to the Championnat National, but that was it. I therefore assumed that we would be going into some kind of playoff system to determine which of the 2nd placed teams would also be promoted. So imagine my surprise after the turgid result against FC Fleury, to see this in the inbox. Yes, SC Schiltigheim have been promoted to the Championnat National, completing what Julien wanted to do for the club after being turned down by Sedan Ardennes. The board was absolutely ecstatic to be promoted up to the 3rd level of French football, and Marco Rosenfelder ❤ said that much of the credit should go to Julien for guiding them to promotion. Man crush level increasing. The board have also increased the wage budget for next season, up to £14.5k per week, but more on that later.

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Our progress throughout the season. It wasn’t plain sailing.

Last season, I did a player of the year, and this season it can really only be one man, Marco Rosenfelder. Rosenfelder stepped up this season to become the undoubted best player at the club, and was important in every role that he was used in, be it AP-S from AML, or AM-A from AMC. When the switch to the 4-2-3-1 happened, Rosenfelder was just unleashed as a goals and assists machine, combining beautifully with Julien Tripard upfront as a DLF-S. He almost led the league in goals from AMC, and ended the season with a 7.44 average rating, the best in the league. He was absolutely incredible, and for a stretch of games, was unplayable. ❤

However, the whole squad have been very good throughout the season, but this has been my first team of choice for the season:

Schneider; Kecha, Kessane, Decker (injured for second half), El Achak; Dartevelle, Jarret; Loisel, Rosenfelder, Ambrose; Tripard

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League domination from Rosenfelder. He also led the Man of the Match awards.

So, the question again is what next? Julien has now taken Schiltigheim from the fifth level of French football to the third level in two seasons. I still believe that Julien feels an attachment to the Stade de l’Ar, but interest in him is beginning to grow, although there hasn’t been any formal interest at this point.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 20.54.38I’m also starting to be concerned regarding the financial status of the club. The club continues to move further and further into the red, and not only is this going to affect the club (although financially the club continue to support itself), but it is also directly affecting Julien. I have repeatedly asked the board to fund another training course for Julien to increase his skills and statistics – as far as I’m aware this is the only way – but due to the lack of money the club has, I’ve been refused each time. As a result, these are Julien’s existing attributes in his full profile. As you can see, Julien’s rated highly for his characeristics, but his attributes haven’t improved much, and for the level that I want to progress Julien towards, those stats need to improve with further coaching badges. As a result, if a good offer comes in from another club, there’s a good chance I’ll take it. With his growing reputation, I do think Ligue 2 is a possibility for the next step. Schiltigheim have a strong squad, one that I think could realistically (hopefully) stay in the Championnat National should Julien leave before the start of the next season. I’m also starting to consider whether Julien should end his career at Schiltigheim, being that he currently has the status of favoured personnel at the time of writing.

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So, that brings us to the end of season 2 of Julien Girard’s managerial career, and his second season as manager of SC Schilgitheim. For those of you who are interested in the state of French football in this save, Monaco are set to win Ligue 1 for the second season running, with Amiens and Le Harve joining them, having been automatically promoted from Ligue 2. Annoyingly, Sedan Ardennes are also set to be promoted from the Championnat National to Ligue 2. I don’t know quite where Julien will be next year – he may well end up still staying in Strasbourg at the Stade de l’Ar – but until the next update, thank you so much for reading and for the continued support for this save. Should you have any questions about Football Manager, this blog, or this save, please feel free to ask in the comments section or on Twitter (@JLAspey). Thank you again.


    1. Thank you! Glad you’re enjoying.

      It’s been counter/fluid and work ball into box, play out of defence. Also pushed the d-line up I think.

    2. Thanks for the reply. I’m up to date with story now and it’s a great read fair play!! I’m looking forward to the next installment.

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