Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fortune and misfortune – three going up, three going down. Angers, Lille, and Rennes finished at the bottom of First Division and were relegated. OSC Lille distinguished themselves with the worst away record in the league – 18 losses and 1 tie. One point was they whole harvest away from home – no doubt they deserved relegation, but the other two were no better – Rennes finished last with worse goal difference than Lille. With 21 points each, the bottom two were 7 points behind the 18th placed Angers. Which was hardly a fighter as well – they were 4 points bellow Valenciennes.

18th and down – Angers look prettier on picture than on the field.

OSC Lille, second to last.Standing, from left : Gianquinto, Chemier, Bisad, Gauthier, Heidkamp, Denneulin, Tirloit.
Bottom : Parizon, Besnard, Gauvin, Karasi, Desmenez, Coste, Borel.

Rennes – dead on the bottom. Standing, from left : Notheaux, Pokou, Kerjean, David, Hiard, Arribas, Marchand, Goutel (à l'essai), Dubaële (entr.).
First row : Rabier, Richard, Alain Bernard, Guermeur, Delamontagne, Willim, Rizzo.

Lucky, unlucky, these three were very weak. And normally dwelling in the lower half of the league's table, more likely to be relegated than to excite and surprise friend and fow.

If anything, one thing the relegated clubs shared – they depended on on old feet, already fading. Karasi (Lille) and Damjanovic (Angers) were members of the 1974 Yugoslavian World Cup squad, but both were over 30s, and no longer national team players. Same thing with Jerzy Willim (Rennes), once upon a time Polish international. And add Parizon (Lille), whose best years were just a memory too. None of the relegated had strong players to build future around. Seemingly, First Division got better replacements of these three clubs – another indication, however small, of improving French football.