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Redemption: The Story of the Nearly Men

Started on 28 May 2018 by JT
Latest Reply on 18 August 2018 by JT
Hard luck on last season, but congratulations on winning the cup!

Some great business has been conducted this window, I am a big fan of Grujic; but also Cabaye on a free can't be ignored - his experience could be a big help this season. Le Marchand could be a wildcard, he's a very solid option too! To get £5,000,000 for somebody like Diego and to reinvest you like you have shows what a good window you've had.

Stade de Reims September & October 2019

Could we build on last season? Or would we have third season syndrome?

On the pitch

Right now the answer is kind of neither. We are hugely inconsistent with some sterling performances mixed in with some collapses mixed in with some no shows.

The Lyon game saw us blow a 2-0 lead, Nice were down to 10 men for at least half the match yet we lost and the Le Havre game was just pure poor. Montpellier was another 2 goal lead lost whilst we didnt show up against high flying Rennais and bottom of the table Lorient.

There has been some good performances notably in the Europa League where we made easy work of Vienna and Young Boys whilst giving Villarreal a tough time despite being down to 10 men. So where does that leave us

League wise its mid table which in any normal game would be good but i can't help looking back at last season thinking we were so much better. The team does still need to gel and we are suffering with injuries with players like Cabaye and Gruljic both being on the sidelines and lots of knocks to other key players. If we can get our form back we should be able to get back into that 5th to 6th area which would be a good season for us.

In Europe, things are going pretty well as the group looks to be a two horse race between ourselves and Villarreal and we probably need just one more victory to put ourselves in contention for the knock out stages. That would be a great return to European football

Stade de Reims November & December 2019

Moving towards the half way stage, would we still be impressing?

On the pitch


I think the answer is yeah we are still doing pretty good as we sit pretty comfortably in the top half of the table but we are a little way off the leading pack. When you compare it to last season we are 7 points worse off but we massively overachieved last season. Talking of over achievers Stade Rennais are flying right now and are giving Monaco and PSG a real run for their money in the league title hunt. Really my best hope i to try and catch the likes of Lyon and get into the Europa League again via the league.

Talking about the Europa League, we continued our good form easily qualifying from the group phases as requested picking up 7 points from the final 3 games to finish the group in 2nd

In the knockouts we have got Fiorentina in what is essentially a battle of the redemption teams and one of the teams i hope to take over once my job here at Reims is done. I think it might be a little too much but we do still have hope and where there is hope there is a way.

We also progressed in the Coupe de Ligue after a very long penalty shoot out against Ligue 2 side QRM so we are into the quarter finals there. QRM are also our opponents in my defence of the Coupe de France. Meanwhile i got this little award which i guess means i was the best team in Ligue 1 over 2019

Things are going very well in the Europa League and it's a nice tie in the next round, certainly one you can overcome; although it will be a test.

You're not out of things yet when it comes to the league, a few wins and the tables can turn very quickly!

Stade de Reims 19/20 Winter window

January Blues? No chance. This is Reims and we always fight

Transfer Window


Nothing too major as we looked for some new clubs for a few faces. Marvin Martin did his cruciate last season and he was getting on a bit and by the time he was fully fit i had Foden hitting top stride and there was no way he was getting in the first team. His contract was up at the end of the season so i sold him early on to a Belgian side to release the wages.

Remi Oudin and Xavier Chavalerin were both not getting games and loan moves were the best options for them so they are ready for next season should we need them. Oudin is the most likely to have a place for him next season as Chavalerin is probably not good enough any more. Ravenne and Jerome are two of our hotter prospects and now is the time for them to get some game time in Ligue 2 whilst Delaray was a youngster who had no future and to be honest i have no idea why Lazio have signed him.


There has been a deal i have been working on for the last few game months and it is kind of a big deal. We had one wonderkid at the club in the shape of on loan Phil Foden but at some point he is going to go back to Man City. We now have our very own as Thiago Almada joins in a record transfer for the club from Velez Sarsfield. The fee of £7.5m empties the coffers but his talent is superb. 20 for Determination with high flair and passing stats, he could once settled be one of the driving forces in our hunt for the Champions League.

At the very end of the window we added a 2nd face from Europa League rivals Fiorentina on loan. 22 year old Serb Nikola Milenkovic is a giant at the back and has the potential to get first team football in an area that is certainly our weakest

On the pitch

As i mentioned earlier, it has been a month that we have been fighting and all in all a solid month. We did exit the Coupe de Ligue in our one and only disappointing match against Bordeaux as we lost 1-0 but other than that blip it has been very successful.

We started our defence in the Coupe de France smashing QRM 5-1 to set up a tie against Sedan Ardennes in February. In the league we battled Lyon, Marseille and Saint Etienne who are all around us in the fight for European spots as well as taking on a strong but disappointing Nice side. To come away with 10 points shows you how well we did.

What should also be mentioned was that we were 2-0 down against Lyon before drawing 3-3 (I'll ignore the fact we were 3-2 up with minutes to go) and we went behind in all of the three other league games only to win each and every one of them 2-1

A move up the table from 7th to 5th over a month with the gap over 8th placed Montpellier growing to 8 points. The Champions League spots still look tough with Rennais not letting up on their surprising form but if we can keep up with Lyon and eventually overtake them we will be right in the running for Europe. In France, only 4th is guaranteed Europa League with the other two spaces going to the cup winners. The League cup final is a repeat of last year (Troyes vs PSG) so hopefully PSG can do what is expected (they didnt last year) and open up another spot for the league.

We do still have the Europa League and the retention of our Coupe de France so where there is a chance, we will keep fighting!
The results are really improving, so who knows what could happen if you can keep up this run of form. Good luck for the remainder of the season. Also, congratulations on the Story of the Month nomination!

Stade de Reims February & March 2020

Competing on three fronts.... something will have to slip right?

On the pitch

It has been a hectic two months with 15 games played in 3 competitions. It has literally been two games a week for a long period now and the legs have been tested. The stretch started well enough though with seven straight victories kicking off February.

That stretch saw us pick up 15 points in the league including 3 points against surprise side Stade Rennais. We also progressed in the Coupe de France but the most impressive game was the 1st leg against Fiorentina where we came away 3-1 winners in the home leg. The run of wins was ended by Fiorentina but it was ended by a 2-2 draw which was enough to send us through 5-3 on aggregate and put us into the final 16.

The Fiorentina game did though start a tricky patch, a 0-0 draw with struggling Lorient followed before a small highlight in beating lower league side Chamois Niortas in the Cup. The wheels than fell off as we were beaten easily by PSG (3-1) and thrashed (4-1) by Arsenal in the Europa League. Another poor defeat to Strasbourg (3-1) put us on my worst ever run before Arsenal made it 4 defeats in 4 beating us 4-3 in the 2nd leg to send us out of Europe.

We were on the ropes and we needed to come out fighting in the final game of March. The opponents were Dijon and in a scrappy game we got the points with Jordan Siebatcheu scoring his 23rd of the season to win us the match 1-0. What it means is the table looks like this

6 Games to go and we are in the hunt for Europe and it looks like another top 6 finish is on the cards with Troyes surely too far away to catch me. With PSG winning the Coupe de Ligue it means 4th and 5th are now guaranteed European football and if the other cup goes to one of the other teams we will be looking pretty decent for European football next season. That has to be our aim.

Youth Intake

A 3rd youth intake and it seems to be the year of the centre half. Ablaye Sow is the best of the bunch but is too short to be a centrehalf so will be retrained as a full back. Edgar Fleury is the other option and is again a little short and has some bad mentals and a personality challenge that needs to be trained out of him. If we can do that he has a shot. Finally Pape N'Gom has incredible determination but needs work on his technical stats if is going to make it as a striker at the club.
You have an outside shot at the top three, keep believing and it may just happen!

Stade de Reims 19/20 End of Season

A late push for the Champions League spots or a battle for the Europa League?

On the pitch

The Champions League wasn't to be as but we did build on our 6th place finish from last year to finish in 4th and qualify for the Europa League for the 2nd straight season. We did though, get close to getting into contention for the 3rd spot with Monaco struggling we were 3 points behind them and we were going to their place. However, a 2-1 defeat effectively ended our hunt for Champions League football and although we had a small slump in form we were able to get ourselves back up and pick up the points to hold off Lyon and Marseille.

It was another great season for the boys and keeps up our progression year on year. We were knocked out in the quarter finals of the cup with Amiens beating us on penaties (even more heartbreaking is we missed a 93rd minute penalty that would have seen us through!) so we don't pick up any major silverware at the end of the season.

Season Wrap up

Another great season with further progression in the league. Jordan Siebatcheu just keeps getting better and better and is becoming a new favourite of mine. 32 goals in 34 starts from the American is his best return yet and i would honestly urge people to look at him in their own saves. He was the joint top scorer in the league and continues to get better and better.

Phil Foden last year was superb in his creative game but this season it was all about the goals as he banged in 14 goals in all competitions in what will be his last season with Man City now wanting to use him themselves. I knew that was going to happen at some point and with Almada at the club we should have a player who can step up and become a star here. A final well done should go to my only regen in the side with Egyptian Sherif Saber having a great year whipping in 16 assists. If we can get a few more goals from him than we will have a perfect winger.

There are too many good performances to call out with all of the wingers getting in the goals and assists. Odsonne Edouard was a capable back up striker when needed with Grujic, Cabaye, Meite and Da Cruz all doing a job in the midfield. Only Jordan Siebatcheu made both teams of the year but Foden did make the 2nd once again highlighting their seasons.

So where do i go from here? Well it has to be the Champions League spots and in order to do that we are going to need to improve our defence. No one in the back line averaged over a 7 and we will need to spend all of our money on a new defence and a new keeper or two. I will try and keep the players on loan here (Edouard, Reine-Adelaide, Leandrinho) for another year and there might be the first Reims regen in the first team squad next year too.

Money wise we have another £10m in transfer fees with around £75k extra per week for wages. I was hoping for more to be honest but it is time to go wheel and deal

2019/20 Review

Tottenham are the holders and the English sides dominated last year and it was a similar story with 3 of the semi-finalists being English. The final also saw for the 2nd straight season a brand new team to make the final and more interestingly one of the sides that need redeeming. Will the AI be the first to redeem a side?

It was 4th time lucky for Atletico Madrid as they finally win in the Champions League final beating Man City on penalties in what must have been the biggest heartbreak. Therefore Atletico Madrid are now void from the challenge but at the same time Man City now become a playable side once my time at Reims is up.

There was also some good news though in my hunt for Champions League football with the announcement that France will now have 4 sides in the Champions League as of the season after next. It means a 4th place finish next season gets me to the hallowed land.
Congratulations on winning Story of the Month for June! Much deserved!
Admittedly not an avid reader since I haven't spent much time on the site lately, but just reading the latest posts on your story has confirmed your status as the June SotM, congratulations mate :D
JT's avatar Group JT
4 yearsEdited

Stade de Reims 20/21 Summer Window

Season 4 is upon us and as an established Ligue 1 side now we are now at the point where i want us to be getting into the Champions League spots. With the extra spot open to France it means a 4th place finish will do. With the defence now the focus in the window, what could we do?

Transfer Window


Leaving us were predominantly players out of the first team. Carrasso and Mendy were the 2nd and 1st choice keepers at the club and they have both been here since i started but are not of the level that will take us to that next level. Picking up £4.3m in return helped the coffers too.

Tobias Levels and Eugene Tkachuk have both been complaining about game time and both were moved on having not really impressed in their two years at the club. Ndom, Disasi and Mbemba were all reserve players who had been out on loan for the last few years and were never realistically going to make the team.

Finally, Chavalerin and Abdelhamid were both surplus to requirements and i tried to shift them on permanently but in the end all i could get were loan deals with a little bit of income coming in.


I have to say this was a frustrating window as i was pipped to many players and there were also some stupid wage demands that completely killed others. For example one player was on £10k per week at his club. I come in and he demands £100k per wek and he was meant to be interested in joining! So in the end, it is just 5 new faces.

I clearly needed a keeper having sold my first choice keepers and for a year i had been tracking Kevin Trapp and he was eventually released on a free transfer from PSG and it meant his wage demands became reasonable. So the German International is now the new number 1. He was quickly followed by Alfie Mawson who was out of favour at Burnley and was signed up for £1.5m. The Englishman hasn't had the best of luck in the last few years and perhaps hasn't progressed to his potential but he is a step up at the back and with Foden having done well here, my history with Englishman has been good.

The next in through the door were two more defenders. Tunisian Aymen Abdennour is now 30 but he has International experience and still has the brute strength to dominate at the back. He should partner Le Marchand or Mawson at the back. Seamus Coleman was not my first choice for a right back being older than my other choices and also a bit more expensive. At 31 he is coming towards the end of his career but he is still well rounded and should on paper be a lot better than my other option Vidal. His injury prownness is the other big worry and at £3.9m he is a touch expensive with little to no resell value..

The final signing of the window was another Englishman and it was a free transfer as i took Patrick Roberts on. Great pace and great dribbling skills means he could turn into an almighty threat for me on the right wing.

On the pitch

So onto the pitch. Pre-season was pretty decent with a nice victory over Werder Bremen being the highlight for me. The League season started on paper with tough ties against Bordeaux, Stade Rennais and Lyon, all of which should be finishing above or around me this season.

The season kicked off with Bordeaux and we went behind but once again showed that Reims fighting spirit to take the classic 2-1 victory with Adelaide and Siebatcheu among the goals. Stade Rennais were a tough side last year and almost took the title but this season they seem to be a shadow of the side as we easily brushed them aside 3-0 to take all of the points. We did though slip up against Lyon having taken the lead but eventually falling behind to lose the match 2-1. A tough loss but with 6 points against tough opposition there is some hope we can get that vital Champions League spot

Europa League

So our run last year must have helped the co-efficients as were a 3rd seed this time around and we have an interesting draw this time around. Paired with Everton, Hamburg and PAOK, i think the group is actually tougher than last year but i think we can get the better of Hamburg in particular to take us to the knockout rounds.

International Redemption?

So this piece of news hit my inbox and to be honest it threw a spanner in the works as i hadn't really thought about International football. Perhaps it was the World Cup fever, perhaps it was England's showing and perhaps i wanted to end the year's of hurt but this job was very very tempting. And i nearly took it.

However, going back to the point of the save, it is about taking clubs who almost hit the pinnacle and winning the top European trophy that was taken from them. The international equivalent is getting to the World Cup final and losing and England have won the tournament so do not fit on these grounds. However, there are other teams that do need redeeming and for that reason alone i am spreading the wings to countries that got to the final only to lose. So the International teams that need redeeming are.

Netherlands (1974, 1978, 2010)
Czechoslovakia (1934, 1962) (Both the Czech Rep and Slovakia shall count)
Hungary (1938, 1954)
Sweden (1958)
Mexico (2018) * They lost 1-0 to Senegal in game (Yup Senegal are World Champs)

Stade de Reims September & October 2020

Are we any closer to being Champions?

On the pitch

It feels more of the same to be honest as we sit in 4th but someway off being in the title hunt. 9 Points behind leaders PSG and Marseille we need to get more consistent if we are ever going to win this league. Lyon are also having a pretty decent start to the season with Monaco 4 points adrift from myself. If Monaco don't improve we have a real shot of getting into the Champions League spots.

To put this start in context, 2 seasons ago after 10 games we had 22 points and last year after 11 games we had 16 points so it is somewhere in the middle. The biggest difference though is how we have got to the points total. In previous years we have been firing goals in matching the likes of Monaco and PSG for the scoring but this year it has been much more of a struggle as we have only twice in the last two months scoring more than twice. It has been a much stronger defence led by the very impressive Abdennour that has picked up more clean sheets and has thus won us games 1-0 and kept us picking up the points.

The Europa League has been tough this year especially with our lack of goals. We lumbered to a 1-0 win over PAOK before conceding late to lose to Hamburg 2-1. We did though pull off a very nice win over Everton (2-1) to put us in the driving seat for 2nd spot. If we can avoid defeat in England against Everton we should qualify for the Knockout rounds again and that will keep our co-efficients high should we enter the Champions League
JT's avatar Group JT
4 yearsEdited

Stade de Reims November & December 2020

Have we hit our limit?

On the pitch

Groundhog day or more like groundhog season as we seem to be consistent but unable to push into the next bracket of club. 32 points from 19 games matches our points total from last season as we really struggle to break into a title chasing side. The one difference from other seasons is that we are struggling for goal for the first time. Siebatcheu is only in Single figures and no one is playing that well. In fact only 3 players are averaging over 7.00 in what is becoming my least favourite season so far.

It certainly didnt help that we failed to qualify from our Europa League group. We were smashed 3-0 by Everton before doing the same to PAOK. It came down to the Hamburger game and a 2-2 draw was valiant but not enough to get us through despite picking up 10 points from the group.

The season needs a jolt before this becomes a nothing season although in a side note we did get a new affiliate club in the shape of Guangzhou which hopefully means lots of additional shirt sales in China

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