Saturday, 7 January 2012

An Englishman in Paris

Mmm, cheese

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned on here before that my lovely wife is a Parisien, and though we’ve never lived in France together, I’ve definitely picked up a few Gallic habits.

For instance, on New Year’s Eve we had some people round to see in 2012. It was all very civilised until after dinner, when they declared that they wanted dessert before cheese. Normal as it is Britain to do things that way round, it seemed completely alien to me. Cheese should be straight after the main course, preferably accompanied by a bit of left-over baguette, not when you’ve already gorged yourself on
ice-cream and chocolate. Honestly, some people.

Paul Clement is going to encounter a host of these cultural idiosyncrasies first hand, having left Blackburn Rovers to join Carlo Ancelotti’s coaching team at Paris St Germain. “Clement will become Ancelotti’s right-arm” announced Le Parisien yesterday, a sentence which conjures up the kind of images you might normally expect to find inside the head of Human Centipede director Tom Six.

A less literal translation would of course be right-hand man, and Clement, who worked under Ancelotti at Chelsea before being given the heave-ho when Andre Villas Boas took over in the summer, completes a cosmopolitan coaching team involving two Italians, an Englishman, and token Frenchman Claude Makalele. Given that Makalele lacks any kind of coaching experience, one suspects his role will not extend far beyond
putting the cones out and looking good for the media, but I guess the dynamics of the set-up will become clearer in the coming weeks.

The new boss has already been busy giving all his players GPS devices to track their performance in training. Presumably they are allowed to take them off at the end of each session, otherwise we could soon be
getting some worrying insights into the squad’s extra-curricular activities.

Ancelotti’s first competitive match in charge is a Coupe de France tie tomorrow against CFA2 side Saint-Colomban Locmine. Predictably I know nothing about them but I assume that, as with the FA Cup in England, their team will be made up of boulangers, plombiers, and at least one facteur. Let’s hope there’s a distinct absence of magie de la coupe come 4.30pm tomorrow.


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