FC Bordeaux - A club ruined by chaos and confusion

The glory days are gone for Bordeaux.
The glory days are gone for Bordeaux.

FC Girondins de Bordeaux, or popularly known as FC Bordeaux, have plummeted in French football since the last time they captured the Ligue 1 title. Once known as title-contenders alongside the likes of Marseille and Lyon, the French club has now become a mere shadow of its former self.

Chaos, mismanagement, and the recent Covid-19 crisis have all jeopardized the club's current standing and prospects. Finishing in the top 10 is now hailed as a 'significant' accomplishment for the club, given the rarity of that event.

Bordeaux's sporadic success after 2008-09 Ligue 1 campaign

In the 2011/12 season, the club finished fifth and secured a Europa League qualifying spot. The club won the 2013/14 Coupe de France title, beating Evian in the final. It was the club's third Coupe de France title. Until the 2017/18 season, the club consistently managed to make it into the top-six of French football but top-level success had started to dry out.

New ownership in town

In July 2018, General American Capital Partners took the majority share of the club for a reported bid of €70 million. The new owners replaced the 19-year-old Metropole Television regime at the club.

Despite huge fans demonstrations there's worrying news in France that @girondins_en are on the brink of collapse.Ligue 1 could be about to lose one of its most iconic, storied & popular clubs.This won't just be a huge loss for French football but all fans of the gameTHREAD

This was the beginning of reckless mismanagement and turbulence at the club.

Managers playing a game of musical chairs

It all began with the controversy surrounding then-manager Gustavo Poyet. The manager had openly lambasted the club owners for offloading youngster Gaetan Laborde to Montpellier without his consent. It subsequently led to the dismissal of Poyet, who at the time had guided them to six wins in 10 league outings.

Bordeaux manager Gus Poyet: "What happened today with Gaëtan Laborde is a disgrace. I said don't sell until we have a replacement, the board didn't listen. This is the worst day I've had at this club. I am going to speak to my agent tomorrow & I don't know if I will quit."

The subsequent appointment of Ricardo Raymundo generated even greater controversy. The former Santos football director did not have the required licenses to manage a club in France's top league. Despite sealing his appointment, Bordeaux found themselves stuttering to the 14th place in the table at the end of the season.

Dead-ball under Paulo Sousa

Next in line was Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa. A look at Sousa's track record indicates why he was a bad fit in one of Europe's top leagues. Apart from Fiorentina for one season, Sousa has never managed a team in Europe's top five leagues.

Paulo Sousa’s Bordeaux setting all the wrong sort of records - tonight was their 6th straight league loss - a new club best (worst). (Opta)

His ultra-defensive philosophy with five at the back sapped all the energy from Bordeaux's attack. His deployment of Toma Basic and Loris Benito as full-backs in a 5-3-2 system further killed Bordeaux's dynamism up front.

Bordeaux ended up conceding 42 goals while scoring just 34 that season. Expectedly, they finished in the bottom half of the table.

Under Vladimir Petkovic's current leadership, the results have only gone worse. The club has recorded just three wins from their opening eighteen fixtures. More astonishingly, they have already conceded 40 goals this season.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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