I spent last month visiting relatives in Italy and returned just in time to catch the Verts on telly fighting hard to manage a painful draw at Paris SG. Well, I have to say things look rather grim down here in Forez (Forez being to St Etienne what Lothian is to Edinburgh). Here we are now with only 2 points and a pretty average side, to say the least, led by a gifted kid as Le Tallec, the man in charge in the midfield is only 19 years old. With the exception of former Bordeaux rising star Feindhouno, the newcomers would probably feel more at home playing first division sides rather than Monaco or Lyons. A couple of players appear overweight, more are appallingly slow on the field and I'm sorry to say, it's September, not mid April and they all should simply be screaming fit or they should be playing with the reserve team. Even more annoying, they've all got that sheepish look on their faces when they're leaving the ground... It's like they're saying "we did our best... Sorry." For Zidane's sake, this is the St Etienne shirt you're wearing, show us some nerve... People down here tend to take it with a good dose of stoicism: well, they're bad but there are worst teams in the league. Give them a bit of luck, they'll snatch a few points and will stay up after all... So right now, basically, we're hoping for a lucky break. Oh dear...
It's not all bad of course, the team seems to be able to play reasonably well for about twenty minutes but there's always something going wrong at one point. Hosting Strasbourg on August 21, the Verts scored their first goal of the season before a crowd of 29,000 and controlled the game for more than 80 minutes before allowing a silly goal. At Paris the Verts scored first and could have won the game but the home team were granted a rather generous penalty kick at the worst moment. (OK, so if we start complaining about the ref' four games into the season, we're doomed.) After a couple of rather drab performances, striker Piquionne finally woke up in Paris and scored twice. Just hope he does it again soon.
Next game is against Nantes, on September 11. Obviously I'll be there, possibly wondering why the heck did I bother. But it's been this way for ages, you know.