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What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories

A fantastic tale of ups and downs.
Started on 22 December 2016 by AlexSonwild
Latest Reply on 14 January 2017 by AlexSonwild
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6 yearsEdited
What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories

By Raphaël Scott

21st June 2013 – Starting from the Bottom

Gallia CO Bihorel, Club Statement
Officials at Bihorel wish to put an end to speculations over the club’s future and reassure the fans by assuring that we are doing the best possible to make them proud of their team and their town. That is why, after weeks of careful and serious research, days of rewarding interviews with a shortlist of estimable candidates, and hours of worthwhile talks between the members of the board, we can proudly announce that a new manager will lead the team through the upcoming season. Raphaël Scott, takes function immediately, replacing Bruno Mignot who we thank for a decade of dedicated work and wish good luck to in future experiences.

We believe this is the best decision to revitalize the club following years of disappointing and frustrating results, and we have full confidence that Bihorel will soon be able to challenge again on the regional scene. Brighter days are not far off, so fans, come and show your support at the week-ends. We promise: fantastic times are close.

Henry Brillant, Bihorel fan
Sounds like we are aiming to win some kind of silverware, directors must have gone completely nuts, or is it just the author of this statement having some banter? “Fantastic times are close”, do they mean we are going to win the Christmas challenge cup again? Last proper title we won was over 10 years ago, and I call it a proper title but won’t mean much to all you PSG, Marseille or Lyon fans. June 2001, we were crowned champions of the League of Normandy, which granted us access to the CFA2 (5th tier). They say that’s where real football starts. When you reach this level, you can start dreaming, dreaming of going all the way up, becoming professional, playing in Ligue 2, maybe in Ligue 1. Some have made it, Arles-Avignon, Evian Thenon-Gaillard, they worked their way to the top from the CFA2. For our part…we went back down in 2003 and since nothing has been quite right at the club.

Now we trade our ways in the Division D’Honneur Régionale de Normandie, Poule A, a glamorous section of the French seventh-tier. Dreams of playing in the French’s first division are far gone, and right now we must focus on getting back into the regional’s first tier. In fact, in recent years multiple financial difficulties have threatened the mere survival of GCO Birohel. The chairman constantly repeats that there is not to worry, but the truth is that a club, which was so important to the local community up till the early twenty-first-century, is now rapidly dismantling and on the verge of extinction. Important cuts are imposed on the youth teams’ budget each year so it is no surprise that all the youngsters in town go to neighbouring clubs, including arch-rivals: FUSC Bois-Guillaume. And the senior players have been constantly changing every year. We cannot guarantee them good enough training facilities and coaches, so they only stick around for a couple of seasons or so before looking for some better place.

Taking all this in account, I must say Bruno Mignot did a fantastic job to keep us away from relegation all these years. Going down to the eighteth tier would have been a disaster: we’d have lost the regional council’s grants, no chance the club was surviving that. I guess Bruno was fed up with the job, cannot understand why the board would get rid of him otherwise. Unless they have found some kind of sorcerer, a man who will build from the scrap and get us moving forward without any financial guarantee, training facilities or power to attract players. And who is this Raphaël Scott anyway?

Raphaël Scott, Bihorel manager:
So here it is, my first official contract as a manager. Is that where the dream starts? Not a dream job for sure, but a job still. I’m the lucky one to get it. Not that there were loads of candidates fighting for it. It was four of us. We all met with director Anthony Boulay at the beginning of the week. He gave us details about the job, then we all had to present our ‘football philosophy’. Two of the guys had prepared PowerPoints, I thought I’d lost it then. I had not prepared at all, just put a nice suit on, brought my CV, and invented myself a few previous experiences as a football coach in remote and faraway places. To be honest, I did captain a 6-aside team in recreational league at uni. I was organising training sessions, choosing line-ups and giving half-time talks, so I don’t think it’s too big of a lie. It is just a better version of reality.

I left university four years ago, equipped with a diploma in History and Sociology. What was I going to do with that? Went back to my parents’ home. Since I have been trying to make my money various ways, the one I favour is betting. People will tell you I have what you’d call ‘an addiction’. I like to think of it as a passion. It is true I have not been making any profit out of it, but I’m not losing as much as some of the other guys. So, I continue, hoping one day I will come-up with the crazy winning scoresheet. Then, when I’ll be crowned Betting King, I won’t have to work anymore for my money. I’ll continue with the manager’s job though, if I don’t get the sack before, but I won’t have to juggle with several professions to sustain a living. Right now, I’m going to continue with my day job at the shopping centre, my weekend job at the kids outdoor camp, as well as giving a hand to my father with his photography exhibitions, and obviously, I’m not stopping the betting either.

Won’t stop me from giving my all for Bihorel, and really the job doesn’t look too demanding to me. We get a couple of two-hour training sessions per week and eventually a match at the week-end. I am meeting with the squad tomorrow, most definitely going to make it clear who is the boss now. This is going to be fun.

Georges N’Goumé, Bihorel player:
Just received a text from Bruno. Told me the club have unexpectedly released him from his contract…I really don’t get what is happening in this place, an accumulation of bad decisions over the past 10 years, and that’s probably the worst of them all. This club once had a dream, that’s why I joined, I was convinced by the dream. We were playing in CFA2 back then, but that’s such a long time ago. Things have not gone good and the directors have not done anything to make them better. I have stayed faithful to the club all these years because I still wanted to believe in the dream, now I recognise I have been foolish. I’m 33-years-old, my time has passed, but it’s maybe not too late to get a taste of something else, not a dream, real football. But for this I must leave, now.
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6 yearsEdited
What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories Chapter 2
By Raphaël Scott

Sunday 23rd June 2013 – First day in the office

Raphaël Scott, Bihorel manager
Did it go well? I hope so. A few players did not turn up, and regarding those who did, I don’t think they all are very overwhelmed with the managerial change. My assistant manager Anthony Martin has been honest with me, he declared that he felt the club had done a very bad decision by getting rid of Bruno Mignot. But he added that he was going to help me regardless, and gave me a full overview of the squad. It states that we have two top players which we MUST hang on: Antoine Brindel and George N’Goumé. Both are strikers, respectively 31 and 33-years old. The latter is reportedly looking for a way out after close to ten years at the club. N’Goumé was one of the seven players to skip today’s training session, and he told Anthony Martin he was going for a trial at Grand-Quevilly next week. I called him in the evening to tell him I was keen on keeping him, and that he should come to the next session on Wednesday. He said he’d think about it, but he doesn’t think his future lies at the club because he is looking for a new challenge.

I didn’t expect to feel as much pressure when facing the players for the first time. I got confused when trying to introduce myself, then the session I had worked on all night was a failure. They did not want to do the fitness drills, some of them got a ball and went to kick around at the other end of the ground. I should have told them off, but I just ignored it. Then everyone joined in for training drills but they adapted them to their liking. I can’t complain, I mean, we’re all here to learn aren’t we? I’ll learn from them too. They finished with my session earlier than I had planned so Martin organised a quick game. Brindel got five goals, as expected he’s pretty good. Some of the younger players impressed me too. Two thirds of the players have never played for the senior team. They trained with the under-19 last season but due to the club’s financial issues, the team has been withdrawn from all competitions for the past six months. Now the youth coaches have all departed and the under-15 and under-17 teams are also crossed out. I told the players aged 18 they could train with us and that they would get some playing time with us. For younger players, I fear they’ll have to find another club.

Anthony Martin, Bihorel assistant manager
Who is the clown they have appointed to replace Bruno? He came with his rubbish sheets talking about how happy he was to have the job and how he’ll revolutionise the club. He tried to show-off by talking tactics for a minute, and he looked disappointed because I showed no interest. I told him I was unhappy with the board’s decision to sack Bruno and that I hoped it would not lead to the club’s downfall. Yet, I’ll have to put up with him, I can’t leave the club in the hands of such an incompetent guy. He’s 25-year old, affirms that he’s had a handful of experiences as a coach, but couldn’t come up with a properly planned training session. Some of the lads did not even want to hear about it and they organised their own thing.

That’s not all, he hadn’t timed his thing well, so it came to an end 20 minutes early and he didn’t know what to do. I felt bad for him so I took over and told him to watch carefully. At the end, he tried to give some kind of inspirational pitch, but most guys were already heading for the showers. Yet, he got a point with what he said to the youngsters. If he keeps his word, about giving them some playing time and all that, I actually do think the club may do a step forward. Bruno wasn’t the best with young players. Now, with the fact our youth teams have purely been wiped out, we’ll have to get them involved in the first-team, or we’ll never stop the leak of our talents to neighbouring clubs. Nevertheless, it won’t come to much use if Scott does not get a grip.

Gaspar Da Silva, Bihorel goalkeeper
I felt well under pressure when turning up to the training ground today. First day with the first team! I’ve actually trained a few times with them before, but back then I didn’t care as much, it was not as important. I was well settled in the under-19 squad and knew I was no challenge to the senior goalie. But today is different. We received an email last week stating that the under-19 team will not be renewed next season; no coach was interested in the ‘project’. To be honest, we were all expecting it: last game we played was back in January, we had to forfeit every match since because we cannot afford to host or to travel, most players have left and the former coach only used to come once every fortnight. However, we were all invited to join in the first-team’s first training session of pre-season. We went with some mates knowing that it would be a big day for us: if we impressed, we could get in the first team! If not, we’d have to look for another club and probably go back to our age rank.

At our arrival at the training ground we were greeted with shock news: the manager had changed overnight, Bruno was replaced by a guy called Scott. This only increased the pressure. Bruno was like a grand-father for us, he’s always been around. Even though he didn’t get involved much in the youth teams, we knew him. Now we had to impress a guy called Scott, who probably had much higher expectations and no feelings for local talents. Scott? Is he British? Maybe the club is getting big, maybe we don’t have any chance of getting in…But the other guys, Boris, Hervé, Amine and Maurice, all felt motivated by the prospect of playing for an internationally renowned manager, and they told me to speed up.

Scott actually is a funny coach. He’s not much older than we are, and he’s younger than some of the senior players. And he looked as stressed as I was. He was shaking whilst introducing himself, made me feel better. The session was a bit weird, warm-up wasn’t complete, and when we got to the physical drills there was some confusion as the senior players went to play on the other side of the pitch. I thought it was all planned beforehand because Scott acted as if it was normal, but Amine thinks he was just scared of telling them off. It’s probably true, a few players didn’t even stay to listen to his end of session speech. I thought it was it quite inspiring. He said he wanted us, young players, to come and train with the first team through the season. “You’ll get plenty of opportunities to play”, he told us. I asked if this would also apply to me, as it’s more difficult to rotate in the goalkeeper position. He answered that I’d impressed him in goals today and that if I continued coming to training sessions, I’d get my chance. I felt a bit awkward about it, how had I impressed? I’d conceded loads during the game, including five from this beast Brindel…

Antoine Brindel, Bihorel striker
No idea how Scott got the job, but it’s nice to get some change, don’t think I’d have put up with Bruno Mignot another year. His training sessions were painful, he wanted us to be bloody marathon runners, I’m here to play football. The new guy had planned to make us work too, but he was fine with us grabbing a ball and playing some football on the other side of the pitch whilst he trained the youngsters. We were only a few senior players. I guess most of them are on vacation, and a few have departed as it happens every season. But I was expecting to see Kevin, Georges, Nassim or Bilal… Clément said they were probably thinking of leaving the club, and that it was on his mind too. But what am I going to do if they all go? I can’t carry the team on my own. “Just find another team too, this place is awful” he told me. But I’m too lazy to do that. I live right next to the club, why should I look for somewhere else? “You’re just afraid not to be the best player in the team anymore”, Jules retorted. “He’s not even the best player here, Georges is miles away”, added Dimitri. “I don’t care who’s better, fact is I turn up to games and win us points every month whilst he always has a good excuse not show up.”

We had a good game at the end, was nice to play again. I scored five but the opposition’s goalie was pretty bad to be honest, and I was going easy on him. Ours was useless too, don’t know what will happen if Nassim does decide to leave, cause they surely are not fit to replace him. After the game, Scott had a nice attempt at imitating Pep Guardiola. He tried to give us a speech, as if his introduction talk wasn’t enough. He’ll soon learn that we don’t have the time for all the chit-chat here, it’s a training ground not a lecture hall.
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6 yearsEdited
What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories Chapter 3
By Raphaël Scott

Wednesday 26th June 2013 – The Old and the Young

Georges N’Goumé, Bihorel striker
I went for two trials at Quevilly yesterday. In the morning, I trained with USQ, their first team is in CFA but I was aiming to get in the reserves to play in the CFA2. In the afternoon, I went to play with Grand-Quevilly FC, who are in Ligue de Normandie. Both sessions didn’t work out very well. I was playing ok, but I just didn’t feel up for it. Just feels like it’s going to be too difficult for me to leave Bihorel. It’s understandable, after ten years here, I’ve got to endeavour the club. And now I feel like I would be letting the club down at the worst moment by going. I went to training today, we were only six senior players. Anthony told me that Clément, Nassim and Bilal were all gone. I asked him about all the youngsters training with us, he said that’s the new coach making his mark.

Scott came to me at the beginning of the session and we had a surprising chat. He was talking about how we must work together and not against each other, how he wants to bring this team together in a tight unit. And then he said that if I agree to work with him, he wants me to be captain to replace Nassim. I have to think about it all. Should I stay or should I go? Should I take the extra responsibilities of being captain? And what to make about the manager? He seems to be a good guy, but he has no experience whatsoever as a coach and the training was a farce. I knew this club was very badly conducted, but now it’s frightening: all the senior players are leaving and being replaced by young inexperienced lads, a good manager is fired and an unknown guy is given as first job to save this team. If we do avoid relegation this year, you can call it a miracle. Going up, I would not even dream about it…

Raphaël Scott, Bihorel manager
Martin told me that three other players have announced their decision to leave the team. Some other guys are not turning up to training and we’re not sure that they will come back. Before training, I had a talk with N’Goumé; told him that we need him at the club and offered him to be captain. He said he’d think about it. Martin wrote in his report that he is an all-round striker who has the level to play in a better division. He’s also has a great professional mentality, which can’t be said about our other top player: Antoine Brindel.

Both of them have been at the club for close to ten years and are highly influential in the dressing-room, but Brindel could be a nuisance. Martin said that “He’s not a bad guy, but he’s got a disgust for authority and that includes his coaching staff. He doesn’t like to train and had several feuds with Bruno Mignot because of the latter’s hard physical and endurance sessions”. Surprisingly he's never had any desire at all to leave the club. “It takes him two minutes to get to training, it’s perfect for such a lazy lad” explained Martin.

Although I’m having some difficulties with the senior players so far, I’m pleased with what I’m seeing from the younger ones. They are all willing to listen me and ready to try what I have to offer. I’m not going for any great tactical innovations, but I’ve been switching the guys around, moving them from their preferred position, working on their adaptability. A week ago, these players thought that they were out of the club following the suppression of the youth sections and the under-19 team, but now I’m giving them the opportunity to play first team football and I can feel that they are grateful to me for that. Truly, it was the only option I had because all the senior players are letting me down, but I’m ready to take the challenge and bring the best out of these young and motivated players. Also, I’ll tell the older lads that I won’t hesitate to play the kids over them if they don’t start training seriously, we’ll see if this will prompt them in any way.

Sami Bernard, Bihorel left-back
Another good session today, I feel really in-form, can’t wait to kick-off the season. It’s funny how we are largely the same team as last year, but now we’re about to play senior football. Making your debut in real football with all your mates, couldn’t get any better. Our dream starts here.

Theresa Aubert, mother of Roger Aubert (Bihorel midfielder)
Thank God, years of wait and praying are finally about to be rewarded. My fifth son is maybe not as much of a failure as his siblings, he’s been training with his team’s senior squad. A first step towards professional football, and he’ll soon be able to repay all the family’s debts. Now please my Lord, may he have a good season and then get a professional contract, and may he make us prosper in decades to come, I’ve worked so hard to get there.
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6 yearsEdited
2013/2014 – Bihorel - Squad Report
By Anthony Martin, Assistant Manager

Following the departure of all but two of the senior players, the squad is predominantly composed of players from the former under-19 squad. We have sixteen 18-year old, a 16-year old and two strikers in their thirties. Average age is 19 years and 4 months old.

Goalkeepers: Gaspard Da Silva, Frédéric Morin
Da Silva is the most talented and he’ll be our starter. He’ll have the difficult responsability of replacing Nassim, the former captain and a very popular player amongst the fans. Morin is the youngest player in the team, he’s only 16 and it might be a big problem if Da Silva picks up an injury.

Defenders: Cyril Deschamps, Bryan Martin, Frédéric Jeancourt, Maurice Andrès, Amine Borsato, Sami Bernard
Deschamps should be our starter at the right-back position ahead of Bryan Martin. Jeancourt, Andrès and Borsato can all compete for the two spots at center-back. They should all be able to play with some rotation. They all are strong, physical and powerful players, they should be difficult to beat. Sami Bernard is our only natural left-back, but midfielder Dubois can be another option in his position. Bernard is a good and very motivated player.

Midfielders: Mathieu Pannier, Guy Schultz, Willy Girault, Roger Aubert, Hervé Marques, Boris Dubois, Mickaël Jourdan, Sabri Petit
Mathieu Pannier and Schultz will compete for the right wing. Both of them have failed to impress me so far at training, hopefully they will show more of their skills during the friendlies. Similarly to the center-back position, we’ve got three options as axial midfielders. Girault is quite complete whilst Marques is more defensive and Aubert more offensive. Difficult to say how ready they are to step up into the first team. Jourdan, Petit and Dubois all play as left-winger, the latter should be our starter. Jourdan and Petit lack vision, pace and tactical awareness.

Strikers: Antoine Brindel, George N’Goumé, Lucas Maillard
Young Lucas Maillard is going to have a lot to do to get a start ahead of the two beasts upfront, but it will be a good challenge for him. Brindel and N’Goumé have been the club’s driving forces for the past decade, and they share an old rivalry.

On one side, N’Goumé is the model professional who loves Bihorel and is desperate because of how badly the club is directed. But he also feels that his career is coming close to an end and he wants a new challenge before it’s too late, which he thinks can only happen by leaving the club. Despite all his good will, N’Goumé also has an history of not turning up to games in the past seasons due to family responsibilities.

On the other hand, Brindel has no feeling whatsoever for the club despite having spent 10 years here. Far from being a model professional, he despises authority and does not like to train. However, he’s got no will to leave the club, because he lives right next to it, and he turns up to every match. He’s been key to our survival all these years. He does not understand why all the players are leaving and is not concerned with how badly the club is directed. It is no use telling him what to do, he’ll always play his own way and prove you wrong.
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6 yearsEdited
What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories Chapter 4
By Raphaël Scott

Saturday 6th July 2013 - Pre-Season kicked off

Raphaël Scott, Bihorel manager
We played our first game this afternoon: a friendly against FC Ailly-sur-Somme. They are a 6th tier side, so we were going as underdogs and getting a draw against was a good achievement. It was at home, we didn’t create much and it ended 0-0, but still we played good football and that’s what I told the players afterwards. They were very brave and held tight when we were under pressure in the second-half. Our captain George N’Goumé did not enjoy the best of games, he was struggling upfront and I know he still has the desire to leave on his mind. But I don’t think it will happen now that he has accepted to wear the armband. In defence, Frédéric Jeancourt was impressive, winning each tackle he attempted and providing stability to the back four.

Georges N’Goumé, Bihorel striker
Not a great game today. We were dominated by a better side, but still managed to come out with a goalless draw. I can’t complain about team cohesion, the youngsters actually form a pretty tight unit, but there is work to do for them to step up in the senior world and also connect better with Brindel and myself upfront. It’s no secret that Brindel and I are not best mates, but we’ve always worked together on the pitch, and now it seems we’re a bit lonely, like cut from the rest of this brand-new team. We know what we want and we know how we want it, but these young players also have their way of playing together and it does not fit. Scott is looking more willing to accommodate them than us, the majority wins it seems. I don’t think it would happen this way with an experienced manager.

Hervé Marques, Bihorel midfielder
Played the whole game today, it felt nice. We’re a bit disappointed with not creating more chances, but they were a good team. Actually, I got our only attempt on target. Sabri swung a corner in from the right, Antoine Brindel knocked it towards me, I was in the box, unmarked, and had time to turn towards goal and place my shot. It ended up being a fairly straightforward save for the goalkeeper, I’ll blame it on the fact I’m more of a defensive midfielder, it’s not often that I get these goal scoring opportunities.
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6 yearsEdited
What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories Chapter 5
By Raphaël Scott

Sunday 7th July 2013 - Tactical innovations

Raphaël Scott, Bihorel manager
During our first game yesterday, I opted for a pretty basic 4-4-2 formation as we had worked on for the past two weeks. We’ve also trained 4-3-2-1 to prevent the absence of one of our main strikers, but today I decided to innovate a bit. I tried to introduce a three-man defence system, with also a defensive midfielder. Upfront we’d have a number 10 playing behind a lone striker, it would pack up the midfield a lot and allow us to control the sector. But I didn’t mention it right now because I don't want Brindel or N’Goumé to think that I want one of them out of the team.

I offered Boris Dubois to try playing as a defensive midfielder. He’s got a very good understanding of the game and the quality to switch positions. I want to make sure my players get a good understanding of my tactics especially in such a crucial position, so I’d prefer him to Marques. He’s more used to the position but, so far, I don’t think he understands the role I want him to have.

Anthony Martin, Bihorel assistant manager
Looks like Scott has found his marks. He’s even trying new weird tactics now. I’m not critiquing him, maybe he’s a tactical genius, but I’ve been doing this job for a long time and at this level, with such a young and inexperienced squad, I don’t think complicated tactical systems will be our key to success. Now it’s his job to prove me wrong. He’s already done well, I thought he should get a grip and he has done so much faster than I would have ever expected.

In a way, the mass exodus of first team players has benefited him; no one is questioning his authority anymore. Apart for Brindel maybe, but he’s alone and anyway he would do so with any manager. N’Goumé, as professional as ever, has put aside his disappointment at the managerial change and is now fully invested again for the club. Although I fear the squad lacks talent, I’ve never worked with such motivated players. The young lads are giving it all, Bruno Mignot would have given anyhting to work with players as committed in training.

Cyril Deschamps, Bihorel defender
The manager talked about playing with 3 defenders today, I’m not sure what role I’ll have if this happens. 3-5-2 formation usually employes wing-backs, but it didn’t look anything like it today. Did I do something wrong on the right flank yesterday? I thought I had a good performance, same for Sami as left-back. The manager said that he just wanted to see the team in different shapes, and get us to switch over different positions, for him to better understand our abilities. But he’s never asked me to play at any other position than right-back. I see him trying Boris as left-back and defensive midfielder, Roger on the right wing and Lucas on the left. But me, nada.

Anyway, I kind of find it weird what is happening to the team. Only two proper first team players in the squad, the others have gone, and now it’s our responsibility to take upon a club deserted by its members. Most of the guys find it cool, that our under-19 squad is now going to play all together in the Division d’Honneur Régionale. Some of them have even brought their friends for trials, but Scott has said he couldn’t let them do that, that we didn’t have the time for it. I agree, but then is he not going to bring any player himself? I mean, we can’t go in the league like that, our under-19 team had not played a game in 6 months, and a lot of our players are not as good as they think they are. They all are so confident right now...

Tuesday 9th July 2013

Raphaël Scott, Bihorel manager
Antoine Brindel hurt his feet and does not want to risk it by playing tomorrow. At least it will allow me to try out a one striker formation, which I wouldn’t have dared if he had been available. I don’t know if I’ll go with the 4-2-3-1 or 3-6-1, the players only had one session to work on the latter. But I’m really looking forward to trying it out.
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6 yearsEdited
What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories Chapter 6
By Raphaël Scott

Wednesday 10th July 2013 – Pre-season victories

Georges N’Goumé, Bihorel striker
Congrats to the young Willy Girault, he put me through with a magnificent flick pass which allowed me to get our goal today. Good finish on my behalf, from just outside the box I perfectly found the left corner, leaving not much chance to the goalie. Solid performance from the team today, the kids are doing well. Especially this Girault in midfield, and Aubert, they created plenty of opportunities for me. We were playing in a surprising 3-5-1-1 formation. Brindel pulled out because of a slight injury so I was alone upfront, and Aubert was playing as number 10 behind me. It only took him 10 seconds to spot me in a dangerous position and come up with the perfect pass. And he did that all day long, picking the right passes at the right time. Even embarrassed me a bit because I messed up so many chances he created.

Roger Aubert, Bihorel midfielder
We won 1-0 against Trouville-Deauville today, the manager had me playing as an attacking midfielder. I’ve not been playing a lot at this position in recent years, but I think I did well. Could have recorded a couple of assists if Georges had not been so wasteful. The tactic was pretty unconventional but we adapted quickly. Maurice, Frédéric and Amine at the back were unbeatable and Boris turned out good as a holding back midfielder. Mathieu and Sabri didn’t have the best of performances on the wings though, I don’t think they were comfortable with Scott’s instructions not to go forward too much. Hervé also had difficult game, he looked confused and not very confident.

Saturday 13th July 2013

Anthony Martin, Bihorel assistant manager
Raphaël definitely loves to experiment tactically. The fact his 3-5-1-1 worked against Trouville has strengthened his belief in tactical alterations and moving the players from their natural position, so he took it to a new level for the following game today. We played Petit-Couronne, starting in what looked like a 3-5-2, but really wasn't anything like it. Amine Borsato was playing very deep as a libero. Left winger Dubois, who was tried as defensive mid on Wednesday, this time played in central defence alongside Andrès. Full backs Bernard and Deschamps were re-introduced to the team as wing backs, defender Jeancourt was tried in midfield and was our main playmaker. He got an assist, putting Brindel through on goal to open the score. Meanwhile, midfielder Aubert was playing upfront alongside Brindel.

Our first goal came at the 32nd minute, they levelled up at the 81st when Guillemot struck the crossbar and Carrere pounced on the rebound to head it into an empty net. Young striker Lucas Maillard, who came on minutes before this goal, put as back in the lead at the 88th minute with a tidy finish.

Antoine Brindel, Bihorel striker
Back with a bang. I got a goal and played pretty well today. Sadly, not as much can be said for the other striker alongside me. Roger Aubert it was. He had a dreadful game, couldn't pass a ball and missed too many opportunities. Anyway, we got the win when I started a nice movement, getting the ball to Georges who then passed it to young block Lucas Maillard. Lucas run into the box and found the target putting us back in front right at the end.

Cyril Deschamps, Bihorel defender
When the manager said he wanted to see the team in different shapes and get us to switch over different positions, he wasn't lying. Nobody could have predicted the line-up today, it was crazy. I was asked to play as a wing-back, never done it before so I wasn't sure I was doing it right. But he said I was doing real good. At the end of the game I was switched as center-back. But the most unexpected decision Scott took was Frédéric as a central midfielder. Fred had the play-making responsibility, and he loved it. I've never seen him smile as much after a game. It's true we didn't get much to smile about in recent years. I'm still doubtful such a young team as ours will be able to compete in the league, but I'm starting to dream. Maybe it's true, "fantastic times are close".
2013/2014 - Pre-season report

Results overview: We played four games in two weeks and got two wins and two draws. We’ve not been beaten and generally the players performed well although we were not particularly dominant in any of these games.

6th July 2013: Bihorel - FC Ailly-sur-Somme
Against a side playing in a higher division than us we stood strong and the players put in a first serious performance to kick-off the season. Defender Jeancourt was our man of the match.

10th July 2013: Bihorel – AS Trouville-Deauville
Once again, we were playing a side from the 6th tier and we didn’t look anything like a 7th division club in crisis. We created more chances, most of them for N’Goumé (7 shots on goal), and he was the one to find the back off the net following a beautiful pass by young midfielder Willy Girault. Girault has been pulling the strings all pre-season long, a very intelligent player. Also worth noting Borsato’s fantastic game in central defence: he got it right with all his tackles and interceptions, and also managed 27 passes out of 28 attempts.

13th July 2013: Bihorel – SC Petit-Couronne
Although Petit-Couronne play a level under us in the French league system, we were wary it would not be an easy game. Lately, they had easily beaten bigger teams Montivilliers (5-0) and Saint-Etienne du Rouvray (4-1). We took the lead in the first half through Antoine Brindel, they struck back at 78th minute. It looked like we were heading for a draw, until Maillard got the winner following a well conducted counter-attack.

20th July 2013: Bihorel – Grand-Quevilly FC (B)
I was disappointed because I felt we should have won this game, but Quevilly came strong and were the better side. They deserved their equalization late into the game. I opted for a more conventional tactic than during the past couple of games, going back in 4-4-2. Yet, I kept central defender Jeancourt in midfield, whilst central mids Aubert and Marques were played in on the wings. Quevilly scored an early goal after 3 minutes, but we soon took the lead. Brindel levelled up at 7th minute and added a second two minutes later. Unfortunately, we could not hold on our lead till the end, and Faure scored at 82nd minute.

Squad overview: Some players have impressed me during the preseason, namely: Maurice Andrès, Frédéric Jeancourt, Amine Borsato, Roger Aubert, and last but not least Willy Girault. Obviously, I could also mention our strikers N’Goumé and Brindel, who’ve been particularly good in our final game, but I didn’t expect anything less from them. Let’s hope Brindel can keep up his goal scoring form with 3 goals in the last two games. I’m a bit worried with the wings though, where no player has really caught my eye.

Next up is our first league game against US Lillebonne’s reserve team.
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6 yearsEdited
What Dreams Are Made Of…The Little Stories Chapter 7
By Raphaël Scott

Friday 26th July 2013 – The day before

Raphaël Scott, Bihorel manager
It was impossible for me to keep focus at work today. To be honest, I’ve been having difficulties since I took the job at Bihorel, but today was worse. I could only think of tomorrow’s game and was consumed by pressure. Anthony (assistant manager) contacted a press-officer living in Lillebonne, he reported that they were very short on players for their first team squad this season, so the reserve team they’ll send will be mainly composed of young players. Like our side basically, however most of their young players are more experienced than ours.
I have been thinking over and over again about our tactics. I thought the 3-6-1 and 3-5-2 worked well, but I feel more like going with a 4-4-2 which suits better our best players: N’Goumé and Brindel. An alternative could be a diamond 4-4-2, because of the problems we’re experiencing on the wings. It would allow me to play Dubois as holding midfielder and Aubert as an attacking midfielder, but I’m not a big fan of this tactic. So we’ll probably stick to the classic 4-4-2.

Raoul Buisson, Bihorel fan
We had a really strong pre-season, the players already seem to have adapted to the new coach methods and it was good to see. Let’s hope we give another strong performance tomorrow, Lillebonne have never been much of a great team and we should deal quite comfortably with their reserves. We hope to have at least a couple of hundred people coming to watch Scott’s first game, would be much more than we’ve ever done recently. I can feel something positive is happening around the club because over 80 fans turned up for the last friendly, which isn’t really common. We were only about 20 for the first games. I guess people want to see the youngsters perform, all their friends and family are coming through, which was not the case with the former players. All this is very exciting, hopefully this season will make this town cheerful again.

Henry Brillant, Bihorel fan
I couldn’t make it to the pre-season games but I’ve heard that we’ve been performing well. The team has been totally changed by Raphaël Scott. My mates said that he’s fired all the players, except N’Goumé and Brindel, and built a whole new squad based on our local talents. “They won’t be escaping to Bois-Guillaume anymore!”, “the man’s a sorcerer, he’s come out of nowhere and transformed this team”, “you should have seen the tactics he’s set up, I tell you, this year is our year, we’ve got a genius on the bench”… As I listen to my friends, I’m starting to believe that the club has maybe finally took a good decision. Could he be the right man to make our dreams come true?

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