Ligue 1: The black hole that swallows coaches


Nine of the 20 teams had fired their coaches by the end of the first round.
An impossible task for Ligue 1 managers. French clubs have become a machine for neutralizing the people who entrust them with the technical direction of their teams. By the end of the first round, last Sunday, nine of the twenty who started this year’s marathon had already had a bye.

The most recent iterations are those of Julien Stéphane from Strasbourg and Lucien Favre from Nice. Previously, the teams thanked Peter Bosch (Lyon), Mishin Der Zakarian (Brest), Jean-Marc Forlan (Auxerre), Oscar Garcia (Reims), Olivier Dal’Olio (Montpellier), Bruno Earl (Troyes) and Gerard Baticula (Engres). They were all fired between the 10th and 17th of the season.

Only three times in Ligue 1’s history have there been the same or greater numbers of managers sent off throughout the season: 11 in 2004/05, 12 in 2015/16 and nine in 2020/21.

However, this is the first time in Ligue 1 history that nine teams have changed managers at the end of the first round. This figure is impressive compared to the 2015/16 season, when 12 coaches lost their jobs, but 28 matches had to be played before nine were fired.

Two coaches
It is also noted that every time at least one team changes two coaches. As happened, for example, with Nantes, Djorkiev and Domenech in 2020/21, or five years ago with Marseille with Bielsa and Mitchell.

Something similar is expected to happen again this year with Montpellier at the top of the field, where under Romain Petout (replacing Dall’Olio) they have won just once in nine matches and are two points above the relegation belt.

But why couldn’t the footballer who endured Guy Roux for 44 years at the helm of Auxerre resist the best French coaches for a few months?

The answer lies in the number of teams relegated to division: four. The fear of Ligue 2 with all its financial implications, not only for clubs but also for the cities they represent, acts like a sword of Damocles on the heads of coaches. Fear quickly wears out patience, and the next few words often contradict actual danger. The Nantes case is one of the most common. Since 2010, the Canaries have changed thirteen coaches and only one, Michel Der Zakarian, has managed to survive more than one season.


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