8,506 to 1 – My Coupe de France

On the last weekend of August many of the 8,506 entrants kicked off this seasons Coupe de France across the mainland and of course the other parts of France dotted around the world.  I have again begun my quest of keeping FFW – and you all – up to speed on events this season as Nantes look to retain the trophy.

Every season there were a small number of games forfeited and marked as 3:0 wins as a side are unable to fulfil the fixture.  Which must be frustrating for all concerned with the romance of the Coupe being removed before it action actually begins.  The inclusive nature of the competition does mean some pretty small clubs can take part which I think adds a real spark proceedings.  In my region – the Nouvelle Acquitaine aka the south west – games kicked off last weekend with the First round.  The regional associations are in charge of organising the early stages and sometimes need to set up a pre-liminary round prior to the competition proper. 

So to the action, there were also a few 12:0’s hereabouts with minnows losing heavily however one score did rather stand out…  Monein FC, a D3 side from near Pau faced Entente Sportive Nay Vath Vielha, from Arros-de-Nay who are D1.  The hosts have a rather nice little facility, according to every stadium geeks favourite app Google Streetview, with a plastic pitch.  However, they gained little advantage from the surface despite scoring twice.  Nay Vath however hit the back of the net sixteen (16) times!  That many goals is remarkable in any game, averaging one every five minutes.  It must have been difficult to decide when to check your phone or get a drink for fear of losing count!

On Sunday as I drove over 170 kilometres I had plenty of time to ponder again how big France is.  This was despite in the early stages geography being considered!  However, I was on my way to see Limoges Foot face Evaux Budeliere ES in a R3 v D1 clash.  The hosts lined up in yellow as the visiting supporters wondered how many youngsters were left at the club that hadn’t lined up in the blue of the first team.  A few of the lads who came in late last season were joined by others as the club captain and various others were missing from the fourteen.  Paul Dupuy was wearing the armband while Kante and Okobe were the only starters who were in the side early last season.  New signings Robert Aupetit, Faucher and Verdavaine started but otherwise it was players even diehards struggled to identify.

The hosts worked hard despite being hindered by an early loss through injury but they found it difficult to handle their well-schooled opponents.  There were no real chances prior to the drinks break but duly refreshed Limoges closed down the home keeper and Kevin Faucher  won the ball touched it by him and rolled it in.  Limoges looked assured and their opponents struggled to string passes together.  Just after the hour Oboke played in Faucher nicely who doubled his tally and the lead firing the ball across goal into the bottom corner.

Faucher hit a shot into the rock solid dry ground eight yards out but it bounced up and over before Verdavaine’s volley on the turn, from Llamas cross, smacked off the post as everyone waited for the net to bulge.  In the eighty second minute the hosts had their best chance but Pardelinha failed to connect cleanly.  In injury time Maurin – who’d caused problems to the hosts throughout – was pulled back as he skipped down the by-line without the Ref acting.  The final whistle saw Limoges progress and a useful exercise for coach Fabien Daguin seeing more young players do well.

Last year I reported on my nearest side FC Pays Aredian – from Saint Yrieix la Perche – losing on penalties versus a side two levels above.  Despite playing well the young keeper Dylan ‘Didi’ Mendil was clearly upset by the loss.  He was between the sticks again on Saturday as the newly promoted hosts faced another side from two tiers above this time Regional 3 AS Saint Yrieix from the Charante.  This clash of sides from towns with the same name was a first for me.  Coach Julien Lemetayer had continued to work with and develop younger players and many of them had a good season under their belt.

It has been dry lately and dust was being kicked up as the game started.  Neither side took control and despite giving away a few years to their visitors the hosts were not intimidated.  The seventy or so fans had something to celebrate in the seventeenth minute when a bobble caught out the visitors keeper and Hugo Lajudie closed him down.  Despite the custodian doing well to block his first effort the young wide man was able to put the ball in.  Almost immediately after the kick off it could have been 2:0 but the keeper blocked a shot from hard working front man Visser.  Moments later a Mendil moved wide to clear but his effort fell kindly for the red clad visitors whose number 7 put the ball into the empty net.

In the 24th minute the visitors had a great chance to take the lead when the ball hit a blue arm in the box.  It was more ball played man than man played ball but up stepped a midfielder who struck the penalty low and hard but Mendil did well getting down to block the shot before the in rushing man skied his second attempt.  Another key moment came when the visitors tall wide man wearing 11 with a hefty challenge that was so late it was better measured using a calendar than a watch!  He was very lucky to only be booked.

The game remained evenly balanced and the booked chap showed good control just before the half before dragging his low shot across goal and wide.  Both coaches will have been looking to gain the upper hand at the break and it seems Lemetayer did a better job when he saw his side have a good effort deflected wide in the 47th minute.  The game was still on a knife edge when Matteo Visser got a goal his play deserved getting past a defender well before running in and popping the ball past the exposed keeper.  The hosts held the lead longer second time around but five minutes later the 11 again did well finishing into the bottom right corner to make it 2:2.

The game remained open and a rattled visitor was booked for dissent.  In the 86th minute the home side broke with three men but Visser and 12 just failed to take advantage.  That wasn’t the last chance however as in the 92nd  a defender deftly half volleyed a corner goalward from the far side over the keeper but not past a red shirted defender on the line!

So for the second season in a row the home players and fans prepared for penalties.  Leading off the blues scored then Didi saved the visitors first.  A blue then missed just wide before four hit the net.  Didi got a strong hand to the next but it went in off the post making it 3:3 with both sides have taken four.  At 5:5 a blue skied their sixth spot kick.  Knowing he could win it the reds number 11 stepped up but Didi had other ideas diving to his right and knocking away his low well struck effort.  Visser put his shot to close to the keeper so again the visitors had the chance to avoid an upset.  However, Mendil saved his fourth penalty of the night!  Both number 12’s scored before blue number 14 put away the next one coolly as if messing about in the park with his mates…  This time the pressure was on the red 14 knowing he had to score to keep them in the competition.  Facing Didi he skied it and the big keeper dashed gleefully to his onrushing teammates.  After being heartbroken last year the big lad was the hero and that’s exactly what Coupe competitions are all about.

14 Days and counting

We are now 14 days into the Covid-19 lockdown.  Susan and I are both fine and we’re pretty sure the cat still hasn’t noticed any difference!

Apart from it trying to snow yesterday – whacking big flakes at times – I know SNOW!  S didn’t believe me when I said.  It didn’t lie and eased off by mid afternoon.  Otherwise the weather has remained good and we continue to feel fortunate that we are not cooped up in a basement flat in Dundee or somewhere equally exotic…

There was another Not Going Out event Thursday last with a few more people joining in to everyone’s benefit.

S had the most recent trip to the shops which she found a little un-nerving as more people were wearing gloves and masks.  I put a bit about French fitba on my Sports Writing Facebook page.  My birthday was quiet – unsurprisingly – and we are both still working.

The highlight today was – I hope for both of us – a stroll out together as the sun was heading down in the west.


Romance lives on..

Hang in there and if you are struggling speak to or message someone.  They may be toiling too…
Stay safe all and go wash your hands!

Lockdown Life

Hey.  It’s been a while.

To wrap up 2019 we continued in a similar vein, me working on-line and S doing a lot on the DIY. Progress was made on all fronts. The winter meant getting the wood burner in the living room going and at times the three of us being too hot! The cuisinier worked better too as we’ve got the hang of it and had better drier wood. You may remember we couldn’t get any till November in 2018.

My work continued and I made more money than planned, S’s stuff with Gites was slower despite her efforts but she learned a lot. Mitzy continues to not pay her way, something we have talked to her about! S, not Mitzy, continued going to Art on Sundays and we kept up the French classes, more S than I. She’s better at reading and can guide in delivery men to our wee hamlet, while I bumble through blethering in my usual fashion. Football wise I wrote quite a bit for a website called French Football Weekly so you dear reader are spared much of that here. Suffice to say Limoges FC died as an entity but the supporters club monthly meals continue, I pop along now and again and confuse them with my attempted French.

We spent a cracking day with my old Dondeh Uni pal Paul, Leiza and their lovely girls in Agen. The day topped off by seeing the car in front had a very domesticated looking pigeon riding on its parcel shelf. As we agreed no-one would believe us Paul and co appeared and also ended up behind said Dacia!

Crimbo was less Spartan than the last and we like everyone else looked forward to a new year of further progress.


Fast forward to today, March 23rd or day 6 of Covid-19 lockdown here in France.

The blossom is out on the trees, the sun shining, birds are singing and our bit of the Haute Vienne is as peaceful as always. The minimal traffic has reduced a little and our neighbours gardens are showing the effect of more work as people hunker down for however long it takes to help manage the spread of the virus.

The virus was more in our minds than most as I teach mainly Chinese and Taiwanese adults and children. Thus, I was aware of the shutting down of much of China and my employers were proactive in helping us get handwashing and similar messages out to our students. I had a double class with a 9 year old Taiwanese lad and an 8 year old Chinese girl which began with him saying “Everyone in China has it, they are lying to us” they got extra time as I made clear to him that wasn’t true and did my best to calm the poor lass. ☹

Many of my pupils are enjoying going out and about again and the adults indicate that life is returning to near normal but with more temperature checks and altered working practises. The situation can improve if we work together. 😊

As you can tell I continue to teach on-line and have a regular tutoring pupil in Saint Yrieix. S’s work has of course been affected by the virus but this is not a problem. I had a late winter cough which became a chest infection as I get used to French germs but now am back to normal. We have continued the DIY mainly with S doing almost all of it. The spare room is now looking rather good the pink carpet removed and the cherry wood floor looks rather better. I’d just reached a point that returning to the football was an option and they cancelled it all. Ho hum.

Covid-19 wise we have like the rest of the British immigrant community looked on with horror as the UK failed to act either promptly or adequately… For example tonight the Prime Minister Edouard Phillippe – second to President Macron – was answering questions live on the main news. I doubt Raab could do that properly…

As regards Lockdown tips here are a few.

  • Toilet roll is not currency here or anywhere else so dinnae buy it aw!
  • Get a haircut before lockdown or like me it’s going to get long and shaggy…  Ok, as I post this the Blonde Bombscare is taking action.  get your clippers out!
  • Use the extra time you have fruitfully, books can be read or listened to for free on modern gizmo’s.
  • Do art or something that stimulates you and yours – I’ll leave what up to you!
  • S not content with adding to her knowledge of French birds has been checking out butterflies and caterpillars too. Being rural and having half an acre we have creatures we don’t see but only yesterday she was regaling me with facts about the different, erm, calling cards of some of the visitors. That girl knows shit!
  • Last Thursday via Facebook I hosted a NOT GOING OUT event. More than 40 people and families from locally, elsewhere in France, the UK, Spain and even Estonia all had little soirees at 8 that night together but very much apart. Another is happening this Thursday tho we’re not sure if any more hot tubs will be filled for the occasion this time…
  • Pals have had a Chez Nous Night In restaurant trip which was also fun.
  • The more vigorous among you may be interested in yoga or keep fit there’s lots on-line apparently, we’ve the garden to wander and mow so I can dodge that!
  • Otherwise avoid everyone which some may relish and others dread. However, the differences between acting and not are pretty obvious.

Wee man

Made in lovely Gwen’s Art class – painted in lockdown

Stay lovely and safe in equal measure.
John, Susan and Mitzy

back door

PS – Mitzy thinks this is the back door and waits here not on the suntrap that is the front step.

Limoges FC’s ups and downs



Is there a linesman in the house???

Well I’ve written some more and now have all the bits I’ve done linked under my name on frenchfootballweekly.com which is very decent of them.

Here’s the latest.


The scoreboard reset before the pitch cleared of players at Feytiat!  Teehee

The next bit will be about the Coupe de France.  Hopefully there will be more about Limoges FC…