The announcement was expected, it was finally made this Thursday: after four years on the banks of the Moselle, Frédéric Antonetti will leave FC Metz. Until then, everything had gone very well between Corsica and Lorraine: yes, but here it is, at the end of a painful season, which resulted in a return to Ligue 2, the 60-year-old coach’s adventure ended in a sawtooth, with certain bitterness and smell of waste.
Sometimes two images are enough to sum up an adventure: in Metz, in any case, coach Antonetti’s season can be summed up in two creations by the Horda Frenetik ultras. For a long time, in fact, as a sign of their support for the Corsican coach, the fans of the East stand wore a banner taken from an image of a Metz-PSG in which Frédo was sitting with his fists clenched, ready for battle , up with a single word, “scream” . Lately, however, it is another symbol that has brightened up the bays of Saint-Symphorien: that of an Antonetti compared to Calimero, suddenly accused of never having assumed his responsibilities. Between the two, in fact, a completely failed painful exercise, concluded on the 19me place in Ligue 1, but above all, the end of the love story created by the Lorraine club and its coach. Lorraine’s escapade from Coach Antonett ended on Wednesday, with many regrets and some bitterness. But how do we get here?
love lasts three years
The mess is even greater because between FC Metz and their coach something had been created, both in sports and in human terms. The arrival of the divine Corsican in the summer of 2018 had been accompanied by a wave of hope, that of attracting an experienced coach in elite matches at a club then resident in Ligue 2, and above all, that of attracting an ambitious project . Because at the same time, FC Metz had also started a plan to modernize its infrastructure, which resulted in the construction of a new training center in Frescaty and the expansion of the Saint-Symphorien stadium, which is still in progress. On the ground, the results were not long in coming: FC Metz had returned to Ligue 1 under the orders of Vincent Hognon and then had more or less easily maintained it for the next two seasons (15me in 2019-2020, 10me in 2020-2021). Largely thanks to the influence of its general manager and his network, at the origin of the hiring of players like Vincent Pajot, Habib Maïga or Fabien Centonze.
Also off the pitch, a strong relationship had been forged between the businessman and the coach, who was also attached to the Cross of Lorraine, for his “I respect General de Gaulle” . Above all, in the announcement of the return to Corsica of Frédéric Antonetti during the convalescence of his wife, who sadly passed away in July 2020, FC Metz, on the one hand, had supported its patron through thick and thin, and on the other , required that he continue to fulfill his responsibilities, even from a distance. A position that affected the Corsican. “I wanted to especially thank the president, Bernard Serin, for his unwavering confidence in the difficultyhe said during the Ligue 2 title celebrations in 2019, through a message displayed on the stadium screens. Beyond the president, for whom I have great esteem, he is the man I want to greet. Finally, I wanted to thank you, fans and supporters, for the many messages of condolences and support that you have sent me. »
The Struggle, BCBG, and Scorched Earth Politics
This season, however, the good agreement between Frédéric Antonetti and FC Metz has stalled. While the club has continued to publicly show its support for its manager, particularly during his bitter dispute with Sylvain Armand in Lille, which earned the manager a ten-match suspension, the latter has increasingly criticized his club, during conferences. sometimes surreal press releases. The public, in the first place, took for his rank, accused of being ” hostile ” and responsible for ‘best team performance away from home’ (advant sa double victory face to Lyon, 3-2, et Angers, 1-0, Metz avait gagné a match à domicile in quinze mois) : Frédo, quant à lui, persuadé d’être seul contre tous, s’est dit be “the only one who still believes in keeping” outside of 34me day (Metz-Brest, 0-1). But the corsican, of course, left no one on the side of the road: the recruiting unit, the medical staff, the training center, everything was on fire. Trapped according to him in a world of BCBG who hate his temper, Antonetti gradually withdrew into himself as FC Metz, overwhelmed by inexplicably weak individual and collective performances compared to last season, flowed into the League.2 (which found after a dire season, sold out on the 19me square).
To the point of finally implementing a scorched earth policy. Internally, the tensions were in crescendo: Grégory Proment, successful boss of the reserves, as well as Philippe Gaillot, strong man of the sports management since 2005, were sacrificed. On the pitch, the brave bald man blew up part of his dressing room at the start of the season, substituting players who had come into play moments before (Lenny Joseph against Lille, 3-3; Papa Ndiaga Yade against Reims, 1- 1; Vagner Dias vs. Clermont, 2-2). Tactically, he, too, stuck to a five-defender system that never worked this season. As for the management of the group, the choice of players has not always been very clear: if his men have benefited from a certain immunity, the young shoots, such as William Mikelbrencis or Lenny Lacroix, have not suffered the same fate. So much so that at the dawn of a new season in Ligue 2, the squad, out of breath, should literally fall apart in the coming weeks, while the hopes, tracked abroad, might also want to pack their bags. The organization chart, separated from its guru, also needs to be rebuilt. In short, everything has to be redone, when everything seemed, for the first time in a long time in Lorraine, promising. The definition of waste.
By Valentin Lutz