Stade de Reims’ boss WIll Still is, without a doubt, Ligue 1’s revelation of the season in the dugout. The 30-year-old Anglo-Belgian remains on a 17-match unbeaten run since taking over from Óscar García, back in October. When Still took over, Reims were a relegation-battling side. Now, the Champagne outfit are on the verge of an European qualification. 8th-placed Reims are only six points away from 5th-placed Lille with a game in hand, and host Marseille on Sunday evening.
L’Équipe have delved into Still’s roots in Belgium. According to the outlet, his idol during his short playing career as a defensive midfielder was Joe Cole. His meteoric rise from video analyst at Sint-Truiden at 21 to coaching a senior squad in Ligue 1 only nine years later did not surprise many in his entourage. “It’s innate in him. In a game, he sees things normal people can’t see”, says Julien Richard, one of his former teammates at Wavre.
Yannick Ferrera, his coach at Sint-Truiden, remembers Still’s drive for success, even at such an early age. “He could stay motionless for 30 minutes in the dugout after a defeat.” According to Will’s sister Felicity, coaching a Premier League club is her brother’s childhood dream. It would ideally be West Ham. Peter Delorge, sporting director of Sint-Truiden, says he knows West Ham’s anthem Forever Blowing Bubbles by heart, because Still was “putting it on all the time.“
GFFN | Bastien Cheval