It has been quite a decade for Reims, arguably the most historic side in Ligue 1. But their star went out after their glorious European cup runs of the 1950s and soon enough they were playing Ligue 2 football.
Finally Reims were promoted to Ligue 1 in the 2011/12 season, and even though they were relegated a few seasons after, they have bounced back and seem to be a staple team in France’s top tier.
This season has seen the club flirt with the top half of the table and currently they are in 6th place with 28 points. It would be incredibly emotional for the city and club and owners of course to play European football again. A Europa League place looks like it could be a reality, but of course the club would love to play Europe’s finest teams and that would mean reaching the Champions League. The bad news is that they are 10 points from making that happen, the good news is that they are 5 points from making the Champions League qualifiers.
The club received great news this week as they qualified for the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue after they beat Strasbourg in a penalty shoot out. The Coupe de la Ligue is the secondary cup competition in France and it will be the final time the cup will be played to reduce congested fixtures, vote was made last September. Winning the cup would be a route into Europe of course.
So how have Reims gone from Ligue 2 to possibly qualifying for European football next season? There has been something brewing at the club for quite some time. Take club president Jean-Pierre Caillot who has been been president for less than 10 years but has been involved in the infrastructure and sponsorship deals connecting the club since the early 1990s.
He was the one that helped hire current manager David Guion and again it is all about longevity. Guion joined the set up at Reims in 2012 managing the youth team, then the B team. When he took charge as caretaker manager in 2017 he did such an impressive job that he was kept on full time and Reims are now enjoying the fruit of their labour, having the best season they have had in a generation so far.
It is no wonder at the heart of Reims success has been in defence given that Guion was a defender in his playing days. Guion has siged a few key players with the help of the owner and one of those who has turned out to be outstanding is Yunis Abdelhamid, he is 2nd ranked in EFL fantasy points for Ligue 1 as a defender.
Reims have conceded just 10 goals this season, the best alongside PSG, and the club seem to be in the best ownership for an era.
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