Reims manager learned to manage teams in Football Manager

William Still took over as Reims manager in October last year. Photo: Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP via Getty Images

Reims managed an incredible rehabilitation in the Ligue 1 and it seems that the fans have the Football Manager game to thank. Nobody imagined that in October last year, when the unknown William Still took over as coach, the team would go from being one point away from relegation to being the sensation of Ligue 1 and adding 15 games without defeat.

All thanks to the popular video game it was prepared with, as it was never received as a technician.

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At age 30, Still was never a professional player. His relationship with football began as an analyst at Sint-Truidense, in Belgium, on a voluntary basis.

In 2017 he managed to manage Lierse, from the Belgian Second Division. When he took office, the team was penultimate. When he left, he snapped a seven-game winning streak. But why did it last so little? Because he didn’t have a UEFA A license to manage at the highest level and had to be demoted to assistant. He never trained as a coach and everything he knows he learned playing Football Manager.

“I would never have thought that the game could have influenced my career in real life, but it clearly did. I became obsessed with Football Manager and it sparked my passion for coaching. My brother and I played non-stop. We created a squad, we organized training… I remember when I was coach at Sint-Truidense I tried to win the League with them in the game too”, confessed Still.

In October last year, Still took over as coach of Ligue 1 side Reims, thus becoming the youngest coach in Europe’s top five leagues. “I was told that, in principle, it would be until the World Cup in Qatar, but the board was so happy with the improvement of the team that they confirmed me in the position”, he recalled.

For not yet having the title of coach, Reims must pay a fine of 25,000 euros each time he directs a match. Thus, if Still ends the season on the bench at Reims, the team will have paid €700,000 to the French Federation as a result, an amount that seems a small cost to remain in the top flight of French football.



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