Tthat cauldron is finally the castle. The Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium is lovingly known for its background Le Cauldron because of its fiery atmosphere, but the celebrity got a sour taste on Sunday night when St-ientienne’s descent to Ligue 2 was greeted by crowds of owners who watched their players in the tunnel.
After a disastrous campaign on and off the pitch, St-ientienne saved a temporary recovery on the final day of the league season thanks to Romain Hamouma’s late equalizer against Nantes. Their goal was to take Metz above the table and move back to the playoffs, establishing a two-legged relationship against Auxerre, who finished third in Ligue 2.
After dominating the away leg last Thursday, but only coming out with a 1-1 draw, St-ientienne was unable to rise to the task ahead of its home crowd. Both matches ended 1-1, the match will be determined by penalties. Ryad Boudebouz’s starting lineup was saved and Auxerre saved all five penalties to make progress.
As St-ientienne’s spectators rushed to the pitch, thousands gathered in front of the tunnel as the players were quickly evacuated, Birama Touré’s victory penalty was barely crossed. Auxerre had only a second to celebrate their return to Ligue 1 a decade later, before the cheerful players who headed towards Touré turned around and witnessed the turmoil around them.
Aerial shots were fired at the players, seats were burnt and police intervened with tear gas. As commentators struggled with thick smoke, Amazon Prime’s acquisition had to be cut short. At a time when French football has embarrassed itself from the start, St-ientienne’s spectators have gone from bad to worse because of their anger coming out of the stands and the protest.
One of the stops was closed earlier, due to shots fired on the field in their 4-1 defeat against Monaco last month. That’s stéphanois will express their grief, it is expected, but the way the violence erupts their anger, strikes them with the same error, and signals a wider, endless problem with the stadium events that the French authorities have not been able to resolve properly this season. Local police reported that 33 people were injured overnight, including 2 Auxerre players in chaos.
On paper, a team that includes Boudebouz, Wahbi Khazri and Denis Bouanga should not be dropped. However, the confusion inside and outside the field, and the lack of a common transfer window, means that no personal detail can take St-ientienne out of their confusion.
After taking pleasure in the rise of a new manager in December when he took over from Claude Puel, Pascal Dupraz was unable to gather firefighters to survive the winter months. Despite the relative wealth of technical prowess in his hands, Dupraz could not assemble anything resembling a successful game plan, instead, to serve a foolish, unpredictable and aimless football. This was also almost never offset by any kind of defensive pressure; they have scored 77 goals in 38 league games.
It was a bad season for St-ientienne’s defense. Harold Moukoudi has not won any of his 26 Ligue 1 games this season. The captain, Timothée Kolodziejczak, was finally removed from the team after disastrous performances, despite his goals against Marseille and Monaco. Former Sevilla and Rennes man Joris Gnagnon came in for free in November and was unable to gain the necessary pounds to achieve match fitness, finally leaving in May without making a single appearance. The result of their poor defense came in a 6-2 defeat to Lorient’s relegation rivals in April, a result that all but sealed their place in the bottom three rows.
The male administration that described Dupraz’s previous great escapes with Toulouse and Evian is no longer a recipe for success on its own. Of course, his six-month contract will not be renewed. He ends his time with Les Verts scoring 20 points, no doubt an improvement over Puel’s 12 that saw the team go underground during the winter break.
The fall of St-ientienne is the story of boiled frogs. Co-chairs Roland Romeyer and Bernard Caïazzo have observed a setback in the club’s position as successive bids have been pushed back by one or the other, leaving much-needed club sales in preparation for years. Although both men are preoccupied with their favorite projects and do not want to invest too much money in the club, they have fallen asleep in a financial and sporting crisis. In November, a Cambodian prince publicly announced his intention to buy the club, before the club’s legal action on a fake bank guarantee letter for € 100 million quickly ended in hopes of taking over the kingdom.
Following the final vote on Sunday, the club issued a statement announcing that “important news about the future of the club” would be on the way, referring to the possible sale of the club to US investor David Blitzer, of which it is already a part. owns Crystal Palace, Augsburg, Alcorcón and Real Salt Lake. Blitzer and fellow billionaire Josh Harris have made two separate proposals: one if the club stays in Ligue 1 and the other if they move to Ligue 2. After Sunday night’s overnight stay, it is announced that they will reconsider their interest.
St-ientienne may be better off returning to Ligue 1 with the continuation of their unique character, rather than becoming another pair of multi-club ownership system. However, the proposal of Canadian businessman John Chayka to buy the club, which rejected the way forward following a multi-club strategy to protect St Étienne’s identity, seems to be ignored because of Caïazzo’s personal relationship with Blitzer.
This leaves the club with many questions but not much time to answer them. With the contracts of 13 first-team players ending, a manager has begun to give up, and it is unclear how the ownership situation will develop, it will be the new St-Étienne that will start in the second tier in August. make a living.
Maybe the club will start life on negative points in the second level and maybe they will play a good part of their home games behind closed doors. Former Troyes manager Laurent Batlles is said to be interested in returning to the club where he ended his playing career in 2012, although in 2019 when he was in charge of the reserve he met Caïazzo and Romeyer. fails.
St-ientienne from the last three years could not regain the splendor of Christophe Galtier’s years, or the tyranny he loved under the rule of Jean-Louis Gasset. The club continued to move to Europe until 2017 and developed some of the most interesting skills of the continent. Now, they are back in Ligue 2 for the first time in 16 years.
Ligue 1 will be next season without St-ientienne and Bordeaux for the first time since World War II. The collapse of France’s two most famous clubs – among which boasted 16 league titles – has been fraught with imperfection and self-interest, but most of all is the satisfaction of the patent with the medium.
Although only two teams have been promoted from Ligue 2 next season – to help rebuild the top flight with just 18 teams – St-ientienne and Bordeaux could face the Ligue 1 gates for a while. bidin. Although they can confidently position themselves as victims of the financial conflicts of French football – from Covid-19 to the failed broadcasting rights agreement with Mediapro – the problem deepens in both clubs.
The boiler is finally frozen, the frog is out, and now it starts cleaning. The relationship between the spectators, the players and the owners has almost been severed from the repair, but for a while they will survive some of what happens to be the top League 2 campaign will require some sort of unity. Until then, management will need to keep away from pot shaking and put the club in the safest hands in the summer.