Nine years ago, PSG won its first title under the Qatari era. Also nine years ago, Jean-Marc Furlan won his last Ligue 1 match. Since then, failing to perform in the top flight, the Girondin have confirmed their role as promotion specialists. The proof: he could, as of this Saturday, record a fifth in Ligue 1 in his coaching career.
Cap upside down screwed on his whitening hair, sunglasses and verlan controlled like no one – Birama Touré, his “stre-mon” will testify -: Jean-Marc Furlan lives with the times. “It’s funny to see this discrepancy. I remember, when he came to Troyes, he had just arrived from Libourne-Saint-Seurin, he had the bob, in another style. , remembers with amusement Benjamin Nivet. In short, difficult to give his 64 springs to Jean-Marc Furlan, coach of AJ Auxerre for three seasons now. But precisely, this time, JMF knows how to tame it. Because in three years, he succeeded in transforming this AJA, a club which risked falling into the anonymity of Ligue 2, into a serious candidate for the rise. As he had promised.
Nivet: “I had a blast” with Furlan
This recurring attraction between Furlan and the race for the podium is not restricted to the Ligue 2 championship, even if it is of course in the antechamber of the League of Talents that the whimsical coach has spent the majority of his career as a technician. At the dawn of the new millennium, during his debut in the profession in Libourne, after having coached the club’s youth categories, Jean-Marc Furlan made this modest Aquitaine club a surprising third division team. Under his orders, the club rose to the CFA (the former National 2), then to the National. At the same time, the Penguins achieved some resounding performances in the Coupe de France. The Girondin club becomes a regular at 32are of the final of the Old Lady and even succeeds in some great feats, with the headliner, that of 2003: the elimination of Olympique Lyonnais of Grégory Coupet, Patrick Müller, Sidney Govou and others, champions of France In title.
The reputation that Jean-Marc Furlan has, according to which he advocates an attacking game and encourages risk-taking, does not date from the last rain either. As soon as Troyes gave him the chance to come into contact with the professional world in 2004, the former central defender won the title of best Ligue 2 coach of the year, placed ESTAC on the podium, and this, with the best attack. of the championship. “When he arrived, he had set up a 4-4-2 diamond which worked really well. But that, he hasn’t done for a while, because you have to have the right players, and it’s difficult to put in place.remembers Benjamin Nivet, Trojan during Furlan’s two terms. Me, I had a blast, because I was playing as a real number 10 behind two attackers, with three midfielders working behind me. » Furlan and ESTAC therefore maintained the first season, not the second. The opportunity for the coach to bounce back in Strasbourg, but also to suffer a second relegation in a row. In the aftermath, the recovery operation narrowly failed: Racing finished at the foot of the podium, one point behind Montpellier (2and) and Boulogne-sur-Mer (3and), the fault of a defeat in the Hérault during the final day of the championship. Furlan’s decade ends with a short freelance at FC Nantes (9 games to be exact), which allows him to be among the seventeen coaches used in fifteen years by the Canaries under the Kita era. Maybe the last time we stop it from setting up his project.
Never two without Troyes
“To anchor your principles of play, you have to build a team. Normally, it takes time to transmit your principles of play to your playersdeclared the native of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande in an interview with World Eleven. There are a lot of people who adapt depending on where they are and when. Me no. As I often say, if you hire Furlan, you already know you’re going to take risks. If you don’t want to, don’t hire him. » Benjamin Nivet reinforces this feeling of guarantees needed by those who can talk about themselves in the third person: “He likes to have players he knows well, who must also have a certain intelligence, because it’s important for him that the players understand what he wants to put in place. »
His second passage in the Aube is the archetype. He returned there in 2010, promoted ESTAC a second time in 2012 after a third place in Ligue 2. On May 18, 2013, on the occasion of the 37and day, Furlan then won what was his last success in Ligue 1 to date. The promoted, who fights for his maintenance, overcomes Bordeaux (1-0). Immediately relegated at the end of the season, Troyes presses the elevator button again two years later. In 2015, the Aube club was crowned French Ligue 2 champion. The following year, spent in the elite, again turned into a fiasco. The DNCG initially invalidated the rise of ESTAC in Ligue 1, before reversing its decision, but blocking transfers. At the beginning of December, without having won a single league match, Jean-Marc Furlan resigned. The debacle against Toulouse on December 2, 2015 (0-3) remains what is currently his last match in Ligue 1.
The game as a vector of emotions
Yet his labels of miracle worker and game lover remain intact. In 2016, Jean-Marc Furlan rebounds in Brest, which aims to find the elite. The Finistère club is very close to rising in the first season of the Furlan mandate, but misses its accession by only a small point, due to one of the rare final sprints missed by JMF. Fifth the following season, Stade Brestois finally secured its promotion in 2019. Furlan’s fourth promotion to Ligue 1 as a coach. Where the shoe pinches is that the Pirates do not really plan to continue with him in Ligue 1, preferring to fall back on Olivier Dall’Oglio, who advocates the same offensive virtues. “Leaving Brest, after three magnificent years, with these players, this public in fusion, this rise, it was a terrible suffering, especially when I only received, on February 15, an offer of extension of one year . For me, I felt it as a message from my management that it was the end of the cycle” he explained on RMC in August 2019.
Whatever, Jean-Marc Furlan took the opportunity to jump on the proposal of AJ Auxerre, who had been hitting on him for several months. And after a first year in the soft stomach, another at the gates of the dams, the third – the last of his contract which has not yet been extended – invites Auxerre supporters to dream. The proof, the Abbé-Deschamps will be sold out this Saturday for the reception of Amiens, which could, in the best case, record the return of AJA to Ligue 1, and in the worst case scenario, the send to accession roadblocks. Ticket offices closed in Auxerre, it had not happened for more than seven years and a semi-final of the Coupe de France against Guingamp (1-0). It’s obviously linked to the stakes, but it’s also a victory for Furlan and his vision of football. “My real passion is bringing people to the stadium” he said in the same interview with World Eleven. And Benjamin Nivet to support this supreme desire of Jean-Marc Furlan: “He wants to give emotions, he is a purist, an esthete of the beautiful game. Often, he wants to succeed at home. I see him in Auxerre: I played there for seven years, I have a lot of friends and acquaintances there… And I see that what he brought back to AJA is enormous. People come to the stadium to have emotions. They don’t come because AJA are third, but because AJA play well, that the fans identify with this team, and that’s what’s important. »
The Five Chances
Saturday, the fate of Auxerre will be closely linked to that of Ajaccio which, at the same time, receives Toulouse already promoted and champions. Furlan’s fate could also depend on it. Will the coach from Gironde finally have the opportunity to taste Ligue 1 again? Three years after Brest, here he is at the gates of a fifth rise in Ligue 1 with AJ Auxerre who could find the elite after ten years of absence. Nevertheless, if so, should we trust a coach who, however ambitious he may be, has only accumulated 0.92 points per game in his first 159 outings in the top flight? It’s a big yes, according to Benjamin Nivet: “He has already kept us with Troyes for a season. But you often find yourself with the smallest budget in Ligue 1. And when you look at the rankings, budgets often make the difference. But if we give him the means, with players – because he always wants to play games, to create something… I am convinced that he has the capacity. »
This year, AJ Auxerre has given itself the right to dream at the cost of an end to the season which is close to faultless, as evidenced by its ten victories in its last thirteen outings. Jean-Marc Furlan is in any case accustomed to the fact. “Often, he does well at the end of the season, because throughout the season, he has practiced so much in training the placed attacks, the quick attacks, codes of play which must not be deviated from, that at the end of the season, everyone knows how he should play” , explains Nivet. Meet in front of the Unicorns to switch into this wonderful world.