On the benches of Ligue 1, the big laundry ends with the final spin. At this stage of the offseason, seven clubs have already registered a change of coach for next season, or a third of the field. All the strata of the championship are concerned. At the top, Christophe Galtier, champion with Lille, and Rudi Garcia, 4th with Lyon, will change air next season.
In the soft belly, also pass the hand Michel Der Zakarian (Montpellier, 8th), Adrian Ursea (Nice, 9th), Stéphane Moulin (Angers, 13th) and David Guion (Reims, 14th). At the bottom of the table, Thierry Laurey (Strasbourg, 15th) is moving. As for Antoine Kombouaré (Nantes, 18th), his fate is suspended at the end of the return jump-off against Toulouse this Sunday… Jean-Louis Gasset (Bordeaux, 12th) and Olivier Dall’Oglio (Brest, 17th), are not, them, not yet officially left, even if this trend is starting to clearly emerge for the two men, the second being about to land in Montpellier. In comparison, during the previous offseason, only three changes had occurred on the benches of Ligue 1. Seven had been identified in 2019 and five in 2018.
“The pandemic has something to do with it,” said Gervais Martel, former president of RC Lens. The catastrophic economic situation in the clubs has certainly given rise to different choices. First, small and medium clubs thought they could find a cheaper coaching position. Then the coaches waited to find out how their team was going to be strengthened and to what extent. In Italy, this is what motivated the departure of Antonio Conte from Inter Milan. These questions are at the origin of so many changes. But from experience, I see that a coach today has an interest in changing horizons after three or four years, adds Martel. As Christophe Galtier did… ”
Is the wear and tear of the coaches accelerating with the increasing pressure on the staff? “I don’t think it’s inherent to the pressure,” said Alain Perrin, who coached OM and OL. It has always been there, whether we are aiming for maintenance, Europe or the Champions League. That’s a lot of departures but I think we have to look at the contractual situation of each. “
“The average duration of a coach in a club does not exceed two years”
In fact, almost all of the starters had reached the end of their contract with their club (Garcia, Guion, Laurey, Der Zakarian) or were released in June 2022 (Galtier and Moulin). “We are facing the end of the cycle in the case of Thierry Laurey, five years in Strasbourg, Christophe Galtier and Michel Der Zakarian, four years respectively in Lille and Montpellier, explains Elie Baup, ex-coach of Bordeaux and the ‘OM in particular. Knowing that the average duration of a coach in a club does not exceed two years, it is logical that departures occur. The typical example is Zidane. Within a group, habits are established. He and his players have lived it all. There is a need for turnover, new dynamics. Management is not easy to maintain over two, three or four seasons. The same levers are often activated, the same speeches repeated. At some point, you have to move on. “