Olympique Lyonnais-A New French Revolution

  1. Olympique Lyonnais-A New French Revolution




    It was with a quiet sense of nervousness and triumph that I approached the new season. Our rivals Marseille had won the title last year by beating us quite handsomely. Six points was definitely quite a lot. Anyways, let the past bury it's dead, I thought to myself as I entered the club's training ground-The Centre Tola Vologe.

    The Centre Tola Vologe was named after Anatole Tologe (nicknamed Vola Tologe), a Lyon sportsman during his lifetime who was murdered brutally by the Gestapo during World War II. The facility is one of the best in the world, coming close to Liverpool's Melwood Park and Barcelona's Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Situated close to the club's home stadium of Stade de Gerland, the training area was today bathed in the hot sun that usually greeted this part of France during summer.

    I walked into the ground with a sense of deja vu. I had been there since 2008, when I was appointed manager. Patrick Callot, my assistant manager was at the gates to greet me.

    "Bonjour Claude, how are you?"
    "Doing just fine. How about you?" I enquired squinting my eyes to let them adjust to the sun.
    "Oh well. I'm not exactly well off at the moment. The physios just came over to talk to me. And the news isn't good."

    Oh crap! Injury is the last thing I need

    "Well, it looks like Lisandro will be out for quite some time. Abdel tells me it looks a solid four weeks at least."

    "Damn!" I said out loud, "Well, in that case, we just have to look for someone else."

    "I thought you might say that. So, I've basically got a few people shortlisted. You're going to be surprised. I don't know if they're willing to join us but a little bit of persuasion might make them join us."

    "I understand that. Almost every player needs it when we want him to come to France."

    Patrick ignored it and then took out a few papers from a file that he was carrying. "Well, you see, we've got this Czech youngster in Sparta Prague. His name's Vaclav Kadlec. He looks good according to initial reports from Gerrard Boneau," Patrick gave a slight smirk at that name-it was well known that they never got along-, "but we'll have to wait for videos. That is unless you decide to go out to Prague on your own and watch him play. Also, there's Yaya Sanogo in Auxerre. He could do a good job for us. He's young though. I've looked him up and it seems he's pretty good-Bordeaux are on him too."

    I started at the name. Girondins De Bordeaux was also quite a big club. So if they were on him, he had better be good. "And there's Lucas Barrios from Dortmund-I think you know him and Alberto Gilardino from Fiorentina, but I wouldn't advise you to go for either of them. I'd say we must look for talent in Spain or Portugal. They seem to having some nice people there. We could loan Federico Macheda from United though. And I'd recommend Eugene Konoplyanka from Dnipro, he seems a pretty good bet."

    I watched in silence, my eyes scanning the training ground. In one corner, there were the players. Some of them had their eyes trained upon me, while the others were messing around with each other. Two-Alexandre Lacazette and Harry Novillo- were away from the rest of the group-playing one-touch. A slight breeze blew throughout the ground, bringing in a rush of warm summer air into the ground.

    "Fine. I'll look into them. Tell the airline guys to book tickets for Prague, Dortmund, Dnipro, Donetsk, and Florence, in that order. I'll have a look at them personally. Also, I need you to compile reports on possible defenders that we could get into our team. We're pretty weak there."

    "Donetsk?" he asked, surprised that I had added a place to his own list

    "Jadson, Hubschmann and Willian." I replied nonchalantly.

    He turned around and started walking. I followed. Oddly enough, I felt like the assistant behind him. I quickened my pace. As we approached them, the team began to stand up. Novillo and Lacazette too were back. I closed my eyes for a moment as I walked towards them. It was then that a quote that I had heard during my childhood struck me.

    The time to stop a revolution is at the beginning, not the end.

    This time, I knew nobody could stop it. Not even Marseille. France had not seen a revolution in a long time. This time they would see one. And it would not be with guns, it would be with round things that were kicked around meaningfully until they reached their final destiny. As if to emphasise that point, Jeremy Toulalan casually kicked a ball, which took a curved path and then setlled quietly into the bottom corner of the goalpost erected in the training ground.

    This Was It...
    The French Revolution Had Begun...


  2. Good read mate, like the idea of a novel based story on here, look forward to the next installment


    I arrived in Prague about an hour later than scheduled. The airport was crowded, more crowded than usual. The Prague International Airport in Ruzyne had just seen the arrival of three flights. The Air France flight from Paris, which was delayed by an hour, the Lufthansa which was delayed by about two hours and the British Airways Flight which arrived on time, it's pilot taking a roundabout route to Prague via the north of France, somewhere near the border of Netherlands at high speed.

    The journey during the flight was uneventful and I had slept through it for the most part, except for a brief moment when I woke up to answer nature's call. After going through the formalities, I obtained a tourist visa for 48 hours and went out into the cold air late in the evening in Prague through the exit terminal. Gerrard Boneau was waiting for me there.

    "You know something Claude? You've grown a lot thinner than I last saw you." was his first sentence to me.
    I smiled. Looks like the effect of Marseille winning the Ligue 1 wasn't lost on me. "I know."
    "You should try something in Prague. The Rodnovsky is a good choice. Anyways, it's better if you hurry."
    "Why?" I was surprised.
    "Sparta Prague have a friendly tomorrow and they're training today. Do you want to watch him today or tomorrow?"
    "Tomorrow." I wanted to see Vaclav in a match. Training didn't matter much to me.
    "Alright. Then you'd better get to the room I've got you. You're going to have a long night. Sleeping in Prague is not the easiest thing if you're not used to it."
    With that, he hailed a cab and directed him to the hotel. Paying him the money he bargained for, he called me and told me to sit inside. I wondered why he wasn't coming.

    "I'm going to Slovakia later tonight. I've got this player shortlisted and I need to have a look at him."
    "What about tomorrow?"
    "Oh. Don't worry about that. I've arranged for a Sparta Prague scout to come and get you."
    "Alright. See ya mate."
    "See ya. Good night."

    With that, the cab started to drive away from the airport.

    The match had already begun fifteen minutes ago. It was a game between Sparta Prague and Shakhtar Donetsk, the Ukrainian side very famous for their European exploits. And fifteen minutes into the game, Shakhtar were leading by a goal to nil, Jadson scoring in the second minute. I took my place in the VIP box and found myself sitting next to Louis Van Gaal and Rafael Benitez.

    It didn't take me long to guess what they were there for. Both, like me, were watching Vaclav Kadlec. Giving silent nods to both of them, I took my place. I wasn't one to make conversations and as I found out, they weren't too. So we watched the game in silence.

    Kadlec looked lively. His raw pace and skill caused Shakhtar caused all sorts of problems. He took the ball almost easily past Vasily Kobin, the right back and then slipped through the two central defenders Kyrvytsov and Bilyi before setting up Jiri Jeslinek, only for the Czech forward to sky the ball.

    Just two minutes later, Kadlec again capped up a brilliant move by playing a lob ball to Jeslinek. This time, Jeslinek did much better by taking the ball past two defenders but slammed it against the crossbar.

    Sparta continued to open up and along with Marek Matejovsky, Vaclav Kadlec seemed to be the one who was spearheading the attacks on Shakhtar. The Ukrainian side were increasingly forced on the defensive. Matejovsky saw his long ranger go close even as Kamil Vacek saw his tantalising effort get cleared off the line by Kyrvytsov. Down at the other end, Jadson created the only chance in a long time for Shakhtar but Douglas Costa failed to finish it.

    The first half however, ended in Shakhtar's favour, but saw the Ukrainian side head into the tunnel with their morale quite low. The spectators, coaches and players knew that Sparta could have scored more than just one goal.

    The second half began as a complete opposite to the first. Shakhtar attacked from the word go and increasingly, Sparta found themselves relying on counterattacks. And after twenty minutes of withstanding sustained pressure, the Czech side hit back. Starting with a lovely flowing move initiated by Erich Brabec, the Czech side strung together impressive passes and the final through ball from Matejovsky to Kadlec found the latter unmarked. Kadlec raced through and sent in a low ball past Pyatov to level things up. One-One and the game was all square again.

    Soon after the goal was scored, in the seventy second minute to be precise, manager Josef Chovanek decided it was time for some one else to take Vaclav's place and substituted him, to great applause from the home crowd and from the three big league managers attending the game-me included.

    I got up before the game ended, pausing in between just to finish off the Scotch that I had ordered at the beginning of my attendance session here. As I moved out, the Chinese waitress who attended to me said "I hope you had a good day sir. Do visit us again."
    "Thank you. It was a pleasure." Sounded nice and corny didn't it?

    I left the stadium and went to my hotel, packing my bags for the next trip to Germany. I would be watching on Lucas Barrios in the next three days, two days in training and one on matchday-when Dortmund took on Austria Wien.


  4. Brilliant narration mate , definitely gonna follow ! KIU

  5. Great story mate! I love a change and this is a whirlwind of change. Amazing work. Keep it up.

  6. Brilliant stuff, AWESOME

  7. very in depth descriptions, looking forward to your report on Barrios (might as well look at the other Dortmund players while you're there )


    It was well past midnight when I arrived at Dortmund. There were no direct flights to Dortmund from Prague that day and I had to take a round trip via Berlin to reach the city. The airport was, as usual, crowded and bustling, a stark contrast to the streets outside which barely had a human or two lurking around. I hadn't slept through the flight and the lack of sleep was taking it's toll on me. I signed in the immigration forms with some gracious help from the air hostess and then got my baggage from the conveyor with the help of another Frenchman I had met on the flight. Not exactly the start I had hoped for, was it?

    I fought my way through the crowd at the arrival terminal and met up with Dieter Rahnschmann- a surname I could never get right, meaning I stopped with just Dieter- who was actually fresh at this hour!

    "Well, Dieter, aren't you...sleepy at all?" I asked, slurring slightly thanks to in-flight alcohol.

    "Nope. I grabbed a few Z's in the afternoon and then followed it up with three good hours of sleep after dinner." He seemed pleased with his efforts to sleep.

    "Oh alright. So, what do we do today?"

    "You get sleep first. And then we travel to the Iduna Park to see the lads in training and then we see them again in training tomorrow at Westfalenstadion-same thing anyways- and then watch them play Vienna day after tomorrow."

    "Oh. okay."

    Willing to speak no more, apparently due to my drowsy behaviour, Dieter caught a cab and we drove down to the hotel.


    I was going through the net the next day, before attending the second training session at Westfalenstadion, looking for articles on the state of the Lyon team. I found two that I was interested in and began reading them one by one. In both of them, only two paragraphs caught my attention.

    ...Agreed the Olympique Lyonnais side is a side that can easily take home their lost Ligue 1 title, but on a European level, they're definitely have to be more competitive. Last season, luck was on their side when they knocked Real Madrid out in the Round of 16 and then went on to knock a much weaker Girondins De Bordeaux side in the quarterfinals. But their quality showed when they lost to Bayern Munich in the semifinals. Lyon have to be more competitive when it comes to Europe...

    ...Manager Claude Puel might have the tendency to sign players who can score goals. But scoring goals is not important when you can't learn how to protect your own goal. They have a great keeper in young Hugo Lloris who is only twenty three and is France's first choice goalkeeper. But Lloris needs a stable defence in front of him to keep the opposition from scoring goals. So signing defenders is one thing Puel needs to look at very urgently.

    And the second article said

    ....Signing strikers is one thing that is required. Lisandro Lopez is also a human at the end of the day and he can't be expected to score goals at phenomenal rate. Loaning might be a good option for Puel as there are very good strikers available on loan. I wouldn't advise Roque Santa Cruz though!

    ...Another thing the Lyon manager needs to look at is his defence which seems to be lacking the killer edge that sets the other teams like Barcelona and Manchester United apart. Lyon are an attacking outfit as of now and some signings in this area are definitely needed. Maybe not Vidic and Evra but people like Marcel Schmelzer, Christian Trasch, Royston Drenthe, Leighton Baines and Roland Juhascz are needed. The defensive midfield is also weak with just Jeremy Toulalan the reliable person there. A good defensive midfielder is needed to partner him or rotate with him in case there are two or three matches coming up continuously. Marouane Fellaini, Sergio Canales, and Hedwiges Maduro would probably fit the bill perfectly.

    That set me thinking. Maybe, that was right. Maybe I needed defensive midfielders, defenders and strikers. My midfield was good. I had Gourcuff, Bastos and Briand to take care of that. Gomis and Lopez were my only real strikers and I needed someone to be backup to them.

    After more research on the net and after more consultation with my assistant, Patrick and with all my scouts in different parts of the globe, I hit upon a shortlist of quite some players. Seeing that it was all written in rough, I decided to write it up neatly. This is what it looked like ten minutes later.



    Roland Juhascz (Anderlecht)
    Adil Rami (LOSC Lille Metropole)
    Garry Bocaly (Montpellier Herault SC)
    Leighton Baines (Everton FC)
    Danny Wilson (Liverpool FC)
    Christian Trasch (Vfb Stuttgart)
    Sebastien Bassong (Tottenham Hotspurs)-Loan

    Defensive Midfielders

    Sergio Canales (Real Madrid)-Loan
    Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia C.F)-Loan
    Ivan Balliu (FC Barcelona)-Loan
    Aldo Duscher (Espanyol)
    Marouane Fellaini (Everton FC)


    Federico Macheda (Manchester United)-Loan
    Jo (Manchester City)-Loan
    Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham Hotspurs)
    I called up Patrick Callot next and then told him to cancel all my tickets to Donetsk, Dnipro and what not. I told him to book new tickets. This time to Liverpool, Brussels, Madrid and finally to Stuttgart.

    Grumbling, he said "Alright. But why this change of plans? Was Barrios bad?"
    "No, Barrios was okay. I had a change of mind, that's all..."


  9. I'm pretty sure Canales isn't a DM

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Chillax7 View Post
    I'm pretty sure Canales isn't a DM
    I know. I'm planning to retrain him there, should he sign.

  11. Love the story buddy, especially the shortlist and the articles, really good read look forward to the next installment!

  12. i over looked this story to begin with, but read it and wow! its an awesome view on the game love it so keep it up

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