April and May conclude the season for the Herbs and we’re gunning for a promotion place into Ligue 1.
Right off the bat, we’re looking good. Unbeaten in April, with 3 wins and a draw, I’m confident that we can creep up the table and potentially look for back-to-back promotions. Soni and Derouard are on form, but the goals are coming from a few different sources now; those two, plus Chergui, Perradin, Tig, and Gbelle all combine to score 12 goals in 4 games.
But then we play the teams in 2nd and 3rd, and the wheels come off. 3 defeats in our final four games seal our fate. As part of an ironic consolation, the victory on the last day is against Créteil-Lusitanos, who beat us on day one.
In the end, we finish well off the pace. The top 3 were too good, especially eventual winners La Berrichonne de Châteauroux, who only lost once in their last 14 matches. We end up in 7th, 11 points from any hope of promotion.
Award season comes and goes, with Anthony Derouard making into the league’s season XI, as well as winning player of the year – or Star of the Season, as it seems to be called. He dedicates it to me, which is nice.
And then comes an email from the board.
You might remember from the season 2 round-up, that the Herbs’ stadium wasn’t up to scratch for our Ligue 2 status. Well, it’s still not, since the board are refusing to do anything with it.
Season 1 attendances were ~300 for each game. Season 2 attendances were always 3000. We were packing out the place, but they won’t budge. To be fair, that might be something to do with me blowing the wage budget, but that’s for them to worry about.
I start to contemplate another season with the glorious Herbs, and I wonder how far I can take this wee team – some of whose players are still on part-time contracts.
Around this time, Nîmes Olympique get in touch. They’ve got a stadium which holds over 18000 people, and I’m tempted. I’m really tempted. They’re a Ligue 1 team, too. 3-star reputation, Secure finances. And I bet they’ll let me go on a coaching course.
It doesn’t take long… Where do I sign?
And just like that, I wave goodbye to my legion of heroes – some of whom I might try and poach – and to those 3000 hardy souls who came to the Stade Massabielle every 2nd week to cheer on the mighty Herbs.
Oh, one last thing. Remember when I said Nimes were a Ligue 1 side? Well they’ve just been relegated to Ligue 2. Sad trombone, indeed.