Musical Preview: Stoke.
So, Stoke. Despite being linked with Scott Parker, we still couldn’t sum up the energy to both write their preview and continue to breathe in and out. Instead, we asked Laure James of The Social Club to preview her club, Montpellier. Now, isn’t that much more interesting?
Montpellier Hérault Sport Club, their preferred nomenclature, is still Ligue 1’s forgotten side. Ever in the shadow of the city’s rugby club which goes egg-chasing under the same name, Montpellier’s main achievement since promotion in 2009 has been regaining stability – Hérault is now a comfortable, mid-table club.
I was lucky enough to see them contesting derby rivals Olympique Marseille for la Coupe de la Ligue in Paris, but the steel shown in April’s final was the last high of 2010/11. They went onto record just four points from a possible 24 before the season ended. Nobody seemed that bothered.
Even though René Girard (he’s their entraineeeeuuuur) doesn’t need us to point out that he needs another central defender now that Bosnian Emir Spahic has left for Sevilla but the transfer window’s been a quiet affair for the Mediterranean club. The hotly anticipated transfer to bring Zoumana Camara from PSG also appears to have fallen through.
Not exactly helpful when writing a season preview.
However, despite having appealed to the board for a bigger transfer kitty, losing eight players and bringing just three in – two on loan – doesn’t seem to have bothered Girard.
Those who finished 2010/11 out of contract with Montpellier include goalkeeper Anthony Scribe (he’s played a total of thirteen minutes for the first team since graduating from the reserves in 2007), Xavier Collin (a 37 year-old defender who’s glory days at Ajaccio [precisely] are long behind him) and Mickael Nelson. Nelson has made one appearance for Montpellier, after signing in 2008. And that was in Ligue 2.
Anyway, while someone seems to have had a quiet word with Montpellier about the meaning of ‘les choses inutiles’ (deadwood to you and I), we’re still waiting for Girard to kick into gear over making an ambition-driven signing.
In saying that, Rémy Cabella has made his return to the club which made him… Made him into what? A decent option for Arles Avignon to have had on the bench last year, is what. He’s got so little competition however that I’ve got no option than to label him the one to watch.
Perhaps the purists deserve to be irked. With champions Lille, PSG, Marseille and Lyon aggressively driving Ligue 1 into a four-club division, maybe there’s more satisfaction in pouring a goblet of Merlot and adding another ten years onto your life expectancy by settling in mid-table than we give Girard credit for.
Table prediction; 10, of course.
It’s about purist music fans but for those shouting at MHSC to start making solid transfers before the window closes and building a team on something other than ‘protégés’, expect to be irked. Jesus Christ, they’ll be asking for 4-4-2 next.