Welcome! If you haven’t caught up to the introductory post, just click here.
Talking about expectations, we have no strict philosophies that we are enforced to follow. The board wants us to develop players using the club youth system, which is a must-have if we want to maintain self-sustaining for the subsequent years. The Chairman also considers crucial that we work within the wage budget for the next 5 years and, last but not least we are required to maintain Ligue 2’s best youth academy. This should be updated soon as I don’t plan to spend too much time on Ligue 2 anyway.
The board expectations for the next seasons are as follows:
- 2019/20: Reach Promotion Playoff
• 2020/21: Reach Domino Ligue 2 playoffs
• 2021/22: Work towards gaining promotion to Ligue 1
• 2022/23: Win Promotion to Ligue 1
• 2023/24: Attempt to remain in Ligue 1
These are my expectations (which may or may not be too high):
- 2019/20: Finish Top-2 and gain automatic promotion
• 2020/21: Finish top half of the table (Ligue 1)
• 2021/22: Qualify to Europa League
• 2022/23: Qualify to Champions League
• 2023/24: Maintain Champions League football
As you can see, I have a clear path in mind and I don’t want to wait long to achieve my objectives. I know it may look very optimistic from me at first glance but, if you dare to dream, got to dream big, right?
Philosophy / Playing Style
This is the first time I will play with a low-level team, so it will be way more challenging to build a formation and tactical style that works perfectly. When you play with World-Class players it’s always easier to set up formations and tactics because the players are almost ever adapted to play in more than one role and, if it’s not the case, they will have the individual quality to adapt to another role or tactic. At top divisions, the players tend to have the quality required to play out from the back, retain possession and execute more intricate game plans. Here, in Le Havre, however, I will have to look closely at every player and work closely with my Assistant Manager looking through our coaches’ reports to decide which is the better way to get going.
My challenge on FM19 was with AC Milan, who did have a poor team to challenge for the Serie A title in the first season but was no way worse than the likes of Parma, SPAL, Etc. So, I’m really looking forward to this different kind of challenge and to use all the knowledge I have to date to build a whole new sky and blue machine firing for FM20.
I do like playing from the back as I think this approach minimizes the risk of giving the ball away needlessly. I’m also a heavy admirer of the ‘press from the front’ style as I think it makes sense to try and recover the ball as closely from the opponent’s goal as possible. All this, in theory, looks really beautiful. In my reality, on the other hand, it will possibly lead to a lot of misplaced passes from my defenders, plenty of mistakes leading to goals and a lot of roofed balls over the top of my Centre-Backs. I’ve always liked to live dangerously, tho. Can I live and die embraced with my convictions? Or will I have to adapt myself within the reality of Ligue 2 to not get sacked? Only time will tell.
As I don’t have how to evaluate the previous seasons of our players, I will decide on a first XI based on the performances from this pre-season and the first games of the season. I will also take into consideration the players who played the most games last season and put them first in the selection order from the beginning.
Let’s take a look at the squad we have at our disposal, then.
On the goalkeeper department, we have the recently signed Gorgelin, who came from Lyon this season and we also count with the big-man-hot-prospect Yahia Fofana who will turn 19 in a couple of weeks. We have three first-team centre backs who are roughly from the same level, including the Turkish new signing Ertuğrul Ersoy. The newly-promoted Loic Badé will play his debut full season for the first team. We only have one natural right-back in Barnabas Besé, while on the left we have two players fighting for the starter spot, plus Traoré as a dark horse. All this can change based on what the players will show me on the pre-season.
At the base of the midfield, we have a very elegant deep-lying playmaker on Victor Lekhal plus a very physical option on Amos Youga. They started 25 and 26 games (respectively), in the league last season and should be considered as a double-pivot if I decide to play Fontaine on AM strata. The duo will have the mission of tutor the youngster Pepe Gueye (20), who hopefully, will learn some good traits from them and became a very good and all-rounded defensive midfielder. At the centre of the midfield, we have our best player Fontaine who I expect to dictate the tempo of our game. We also count on the very resilient Romain Basque as a box-to-box. Added to them, we have the exciting French prospect Himad Abdelli (19) along with the PSG loanee Eric Ebimbe (18) who is loaned in until 2021, to cover up if needed.
We have five wide players on the squad and four of them play better at AML. So, we have to take a look at what to do here on a tactical aspect to not lose overall quality because of this or, maybe, consider to sell someone and sign a natural AMR to upgrade our squad. The star man here is obviously the current captain Alexandre Bonnet who is our first choice AML. Up-front, we have the trickery and power of the Zimbabwean Tino Kadewere who is backed up by the solid Jamal Thiaré. I’m expecting plenty of goals from this duo.
Now, I will introduce you to the three players that I think could lead our promotion challenge.
- Jean-Pascal Fontaine
Fontaine is a French right-footed, experienced central and offensive midfielder, born in Saint-Louis. The 30-year-old maestro started his career in Brittany, wearing the Le Havre sky and blue since 2005. He had a brief loan spell at AS Beauvais Oise in 2009/10 playing at the National to gain some experience. He came back stronger and established himself as the chief orchestrator of Le Havre’s midfield for the foreseeable future. Currently, he is a team leader and fan favourite of Le Havre’s supporters.
- Alexandre Bonnet
Bonnet will play his 10th season with Le Havre AC in 2019/20. Another fan favourite, the player started his career at Niort, playing in the Ligue 2 for four seasons before a transfer to Ligue 1 side Toulouse. He played three seasons there, with a brief passage at Sedan Ardennes, before finally arrive at Le Havre in 2009. Bonnet is the current captain of the club.
- Tino Kadewere
Unlike our other two star players, Tino Kadewere is not (yet) a fan favourite nor a long-term servant of the club. He came from Sweden side Djurgårdens for €2M in 2018/19, after spending four seasons at the club. Before that, he played two seasons at the Zimbabwean top flyer side Harare City. Kadewere is our biggest hope for goals in the upcoming season.
This is it for today. I hope you’ve liked the post and I’m looking forward to interacting with you guys about my journey in France. All the comments are really appreciated and criticism is welcome, too. Thanks for reading, share if you liked the content and be safe.
À plus tard,