The crisis of Saint-Étienne: the most successful team in France is last in the standings

Fans in protest, a coach on the grid and not even a win this season: Les Verts are experiencing a critical moment in their noble history.

Last in the standings, zero wins after 9 days, only 4 poor points, the result of as many draws. With the worst attack of the league (8 goals scored) and one of the five worst defenses (18 conceded). Looking at leaders Bayern Munich, Juventus in recovery, Man United or Real Madrid in any case high up despite everything, it is difficult to think that the most successful team of one of the top 5 European championships is in such a desperate situation. Instead in France it is happening. Saint-Étienne is experiencing dark moments.

With 10 championships won, the last in 1981 under the star of Michel Platini, Les Verts are the team with the most championships, one more even than PSG, still standing at 9. They are the only ones in double figures, the only ones with the star above the logo. They have already experienced ups and downs, they have already demoted and then moved up again. The last promotion of 2004 had re-stabilized the team in Ligue 1, even touching the qualification in the Champions League (in 1977 they also reached the final of the European Cup, lost to Bayern).

This season, however, started in the worst way. Only a disputed penalty awarded in full recovery and then scored by Khazri avoided the defeat in the heartfelt derby with Lyon. It would probably have been the low point of a year that started in the worst way and that does not seem destined to improve. Despite the premises, despite an experienced coach like Claude Puel at the helm. Despite a squad with talents such as goalkeeper Green and midfielders Douath (2003) and Aouchiche (2002, former PSG).

Three draws in the first three games, before the nightmare. The defeats against Marseille, Montpellier, Monaco, Bordeaux, the pass against Nice (0-3) and then the draw in Lyon. Games very much felt by the fans, one of the hottest in France. Who has already humiliated his players on one occasion: with “olé” at each pass succeeded by the opponents, in that case Nice.

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The draw with Lyon has given breath to a hellish environment, with Claude Puel who according to ‘RMC’ has been questioned even by the players, as well as by the stadium with choirs and banner: more than one fan would like him away from the bench, but the club decided to keep him at the helm of the club. And Kolodziejczak, one of the most experienced in the squad, also stated that the team is unconditionally alongside Puel.

Speaking of society, lately it has been more of a possible buyer than a victory to make noise in Saint-Étienne (also because not even the shadow of that so far this season): the Cambodian prince Novodom Ravichak. Not a millionaire, on the contrary. Yet some French media have linked his figure to that of some close friends of Al-Khelaifi. And in the middle there is even a villa that a few years ago had been used as a means of corruption by FIFA. In short, a nice chaos, even shady.

In the field, for now, the cosmic nothingness. Former AXIS defender Guillou told ‘Ouest France’ of “Being unable to understand how you play Saint-Étienne”. And it’s probably not the only one. Salvation remains the main objective for the team that has recently produced talents of the caliber of Bamba, Saliba or Fofana and in the recent past has been able to count on Aubameyang, Matuidi or Payet. History imposes other demands. At the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard they hope to soon be able to return to the glories of the past.