England also discovers Will Still’s “fairy tale” in Ligue 1: “That 25,000 euros per match? That’s okay, as long as I keep winning.”

The Daily Mail came to the French city to have an “exclusive” conversation with the man who was born in Braine-l’Alleud, who was active in our country for Standard, STVV, Liers and Beerschot. Not illogical because Reims has not lost since a 3-0 defeat against AS Monaco and kept PSG on a 0-0 draw in that series.

“When we beat Rennes 3-1, I shook hands with the ref and he said: ‘What you are doing here is fantastic. Lille coach Paulo Fonseca also said something similar. That gives you a little goosebumps, but I prefer people to see me as normal. Although I also understand that this would seem a bit strange given our performance.”

Reims officially appointed 30-year-old Still as T1 in October, following an assistant role. But Still does not yet have the necessary diploma to sit on the bench as head coach, so the number 11 in Ligue 1 pays 25,000 euros each party to keep Still in the saddle.

“Let’s say this is mutually arranged,” laughs Still. “The club has said they want to invest in me as long as I keep winning. That 0-0 against PSG? When you think about it, you’re like, how come I’m coaching these guys right now? Our plan was simple: they irritate to the point of boiling. Putting high pressure, making mistakes, grabbing them by the scruff of the neck. Just don’t let them play football and annoy them as much as possible.”

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Tricks that Still also used during his own career. “I played for defense, but I wasn’t that fast. I ran the 100 meters in ten days. But I never stopped walking, so no one liked to play against me. I stood on my feet, pushed in the back… I’m not like that in everyday life, but if I stepped on a football field… Then I was really a dirty football player, to the shame of my mother.”

Still goes on to explain that he loved playing Football Manager in his younger days and was able to move up through an opportunity at STVV. And that he now lives on the competitiveness of his players to make Reims successful. Points can be earned with every exercise. “Whoever is last at the end of the month has to treat the rest to dinner.”

Although the success at such a young age has not yet gone to his head. “I don’t really have a plan or career goals for a certain age. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight. My roots? When I’m in Belgium, I feel English. When I’m in England, I feel Belgian. So I’m a bit lost halfway through The Channel.”


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