The stampede by many Newcastle fans to embrace the idea of Remi Garde being the new head coach is understandable.

After the Pardew years it isn’t any wonder that we all hope for somebody who can bring new ideas and inspire this group of players to a different level, while at the same time having a major input (despite what we are told) in transfers in and out.

Sky Sports reported yesterday that the former Lyon manager was somebody who had now been interviewed by Newcastle for the vacant job.

remi gardeIn three years as a manager Remi Garde has won a Cup and had three league placings of fourth, third and fifth, so why on earth wouldn’t you want a manager who could potentially reproduce that?

Well first of all I think you do have to wonder why Garde voluntarily withdrew from football management for personal reasons at the end of last season. Might be something that doesn’t affect at all his potential to be successful elsewhere, but to leave a club where to us it looks at face value he was a success AND not take up a job elsewhere, well it does leave that question mark.

However, when a foreign name comes up, either as a potential player or manager/head coach, then there is really no excuse these days for not getting ALL of the facts, or at least the stats, on their background and record.

First of all, Marseille is easily the best supported club in France, then you have Lyon and PSG on pretty much level pegging, both are said to have around 11% of French football supporters backing each of the clubs. Another thing to take into account is that the French league has nowhere near the depth of the Premier League, once you get beyond the handful of clubs at the top, then competition is very limited – Lyon were one of only five clubs to average attendances of over thirty thousand last season and thirteen clubs had less than twenty thousand watching them week in week out.

However, the best guide to how Remi Garde did in his three years at Lyon is surely to look at recent history and to see what the normal expectations are at this particular club.

A bit like if Ronald Koeman could produce three top five placings at Southampton then he would be seen as a miracle worker, whereas if he’d got the job at Old Trafford it would be seen as the bare minimum.

Listed below are the last 14 seasons detailing where Lyon finished in Ligue 1, the last three seasons are when Remi Garde was in charge.

Lyon Ligue 1 Placings

5th 2013/14

3rd 2012/13

4th 2011/12

3rd 2010/11

2nd 2009/10

3rd 2008/09

1st 2007/08

1st 2006/07

1st 2005/06

1st 2004/05

1st 2003/04

1st 2002/03

1st 2001/02

2nd 2000/01

As you will see, in the eleven years before Remi Garde took over, Lyon never finished outside the top three; winning 7 titles, runner-up twice and ‘only’ third on two occasions.

In this context surely third is the bare minimum you could have expected from the manager that followed and that fourth and fifth finishes are in reality failure for a club such as Lyon, especially when only the top three in France qualify for the Champions League.

While Garde didn’t have a great deal of money to spend and had certain players sold out of financial necessity, he still had a very talented bunch of players to work with, certainly by the French league’s standard – the likes of Lovren, Lloris, Gourcuff, Lacazette, Grenier and others.

My argument isn’t that we should definitely not be going for Remi Garde, but to accept that he hasn’t got a long or very successful track record, and certainly isn’t some kind of miracle worker that could/would transform Newcastle United’s fortunes without massive support, financial backing on the squad and a decent amount of luck.

In case you’re wondering what happened at Lyon after Remi Garde left?

Hubert Fournier took over after doing well at Reims, where he got them promoted to Ligue 1 after an absence of 33 years and stabilised them in mid-table last season.

Finances dictated that the new Lyon manager didn’t have money to play with and spent under £3m in the transfer market, so basically having to do what he can with the same group of players Remi Garde had to work with.

Last season Lyon finished the campaign 28 points off the top of the table, so what about under Hubert Fournier?

Well Lyon currently sit at the very top of Ligue 1 with over the half the season gone, maybe it is Hubert Fournier that Mike Ashley should be breaking the bank to attract…

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  • Polarboy

    Once again now that the old comments have been cleared, this article is poor when certain factors are taken into consideration. Those factors being the takeover and subsequent cash injection of both Monaco and PSG and Garde having to rebuild Lyon on a shoestring while selling his best players.

  • amacdee

    “My argument isn’t that we should definitely not be going for Remi Garde,
    but to accept that he hasn’t got a long or very successful track
    record, and certainly isn’t some kind of miracle worker that could/would
    transform Newcastle United’s fortunes without massive support,
    financial backing on the squad and a decent amount of luck”
    Why do you think we’re after him Jackie ? He’s not quite Pardwho Mark 2 but for sure he’s not Mourinho, Wenger or even Koeman. Maybe it makes Carver looks better compared to this guy ?

  • radgiegadgie

    The thing is, we can only appoint some with potential.  Someone who is proven is out of our grasp.  At least Garde did not screw up and is still highly regarded at Lyon from what I gather.  I have to say Fournier has been at least somewhat fortunate that Lacazette has hit top form this season.

  • cwtoon88

    As i said before my original comment was deleted. The author in his attempt to seem smart has missed most of the facts about the 3 years Garde was involved at Lyon. When Garde came in Lyon were in a stage of massive cost cutting due to years of over spending so they had to sell there top players and Garde had to develop new talent which he has done brilliantly in the shapes of Lacazette and Grenier in particular.
    Another major factor is the emergence of PSG with their arab millions who were struggling while Lyon dominated, they got the  arab multimillions and knocked nearly everyone down the pecking order a couple of places.
    I think anyone who knows ‘the facts’ about French football would know what a great job Garde did considering what he had to deal with

  • radgiegadgie

    cwtoon88 Same point I made, the author says you need to dig deeper and spins out an assumption based on a fairly narrow set of data.  Also ignores a lot of the intangible stuff.

    I am not sure anyone sees him as a Mesiah but he certainly seems like a good option.

  • DownUnderMag

    Garde took over Lyon when they were selling their top players and spending the lowest for years yet still remained competitive.  Is he going to win us the title?  Of course not, but he should be able to cope with the current regime’s fiscal and transfer policies.

  • killyted

    all this messing about trying to bring in a new coach/manager could be a smoke screen to avoid buying new players in the current transfer winow