Apr 5, 1955
|Age||66 years old|
The end of the Paul Le Guen era was symbolised by sporting and financial failure, as a result of a new strategy at Stade Rennais. Gone were the days of big spending, it was time to play, with the arrival of Christian Gourcuff as First Team Manager from Lorient. In order to install a style built on teamwork and technical ability, he strengthened his side with Monterrubio from Nantes, and he fully intended to impose his own style. Things got off to a bright start in the Intertoto Cup with a thumping 5-0 win over Synot. But on the opening day of the league season, Stade Rennais were humbled at home by Auxerre (0-5). Immediately, the situation became urgent, and Gourcuff was torn between imposing his favoured style of play, and the need to achieve results. In the dressing room, the players (led by Dominique Arribagé) struggled to accept and absorb his methods. In spite of reaching the League Cup Semi-Final, which he lost against his old club, Lorient, Gourcuff was pushed towards the exit by player-power in the spring of 2002 after they had just managed to stave off relegation at the end of the season, a long way off from the promised flair football, and equally from achieving the club’s objectives for the season. In April 2016, he left his role as Manager of the Algerian national team, and rejoined Stade Rennais on Tuesday 17th May, replacing Rolland Courbis, who – himself – had replaced Philippe Montanier during the same season. After a legitimate period of transition in the first season (Rennes finished 9th in Ligue 1) with a huge squad full of players which he hadn’t chosen, Gourcuff had his prayers answered in the close season in 2017, by being able to make targeted signings of players who he wanted (Maouassa, Bourigeaud and Sarr, notably). But after nine games of the following season in Ligue 1, Rennes had only managed 6 points. The day after a derby defeat in Guingamp, the fate of Gourcuff and his President René Ruello was sealed. On 7th November 2017 (three weeks and four consecutive victories later), Christian Gourcuff was sacked as Manager by the new President Olivier Létang, and replaced by Sabri Lamouchi.