Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The ‘stagnated’ clubs perhaps lacked managerial vision: reliable players were recruited, but hardly great, and almost never promising youngsters, but more of aging stars, already having reached the maximum of their potential. Like Bordeaux:

Bottom, from left: ?, J. Gallice, Goubet, Jeandupeux, Holmstroem.
Top: Bergeroo, Largouet, Meynieu, Camus, Arribas, A. Gallice.
Solid names, but even those who eventually played for France – J. Gallice and Bergeroo – were second fiddle. The foreign stars – the Swiss Jeandupeux and the Swede Holmstroem – rather kept the club in mid-table, not making it a title contender. Solidity itself was not enough: Sochaux finished 3rd in 1976. Front, from left: Posca, Rust, Djaadaoui, Wasmer, Courbis, Dufour.
Standing: Soler, Pintenat, Renaut, Pfertzel, Guttierez.
Unlikely club to finish that high and with a squad even less impressive than Bordeaux and Reims : only Rust and Soler meritted something and this ‘something’ was similar to the case of Gallice and Bergeroo – second string national team players, most often invited as reserve players. Yet, a team like Sochaux was capable of equal or better performance than Lyon, Bordeaux, and Reims. True, Sochaux was not to stay among the top clubs for more than an year, but seemingly there was always a team like Sochaux to push behind the ‘respectable’ clubs. Unfortunately, this was not a sign of improvement of French football… and club finishing with silver in 1976 was not representing positive change either.
OGC Nice finished 2nd. Of course, Nice tried their best to win the championship. As a squad, they appeared to be strong contender full of stars – Adams, Molitor, Baratelli, Guillou, Katalinski (the Yugoslav star was perhaps at his best form in this period). But… Nice was steadily declining since the end of the 1960s and no matter who played for them – or may be precisely because of who was playing for them – this season was the swan song of once upon a time very dangerous and succeful club. Since 1975-76 happened to remain the last strong season of OGC Nice, let see them one more time before they plummet to insignificance: Without their usual striped shirts, but with Musemic – the second Yugoslavian in the squad this year. Looking good? Mmmm… may be. Looking good for the last time would be truer – definitely not a team of the future, but of the past.