It seems there is to be no final day drama for my adopted French team Lyon Duchere. They are promoted!! Bravo La Duch! Tonight they turned over Auxerre B on their own patch, 1-2, while rivals Grenoble were held to a 0-0 draw at home to lowly Montceau-les-Mines. Now with a game left it is still possible that the two can end the season on the same number of points. But the final ranking must be down to head-to-head results rather than goal difference as my partner Suzanne keeps sending me evidence of congratulations being sent around (I shall gloss over the fact that she's had weeks to find out what I needed to know). There is no doubt that Duchere are promoted, for the second time in four or five years, and Lyon now for sure has two football clubs.
Just how Duchere will fare in France's National, the country's third division, remains to be seen. Like many across the continent now getting promoted, no doubt they'll be among the favourites to come back down. We've been there. And there's no doubt they will be punching well above their (current) weight. National contains teams like Dunkerque, Boulogne, Beziers (I'd add Strasbourg, Amiens and Orleans but it looks like those three will get promoted). Duchere games I've been to sometimes have had crowds of a couple of hundred and only recently have ball-boys been a regular feature, rather than the players having to collect the ball. But who cares? Tonight Duchere can celebrate, I hope Lyon will celebrate for them, and planning for next season can wait until after what now should be a love fest against Olympique Lyonnais next weekend.
So Duchere join the ranks of those who end the season on a high. Add Hull to that list, given the outcome of the Championship play-off final today (and of course Barnsley, who confirm their promotion to the Championship tomorrow). Is there a lesson from the fact that two of the teams relegated from the Premiership a year ago kept their managers and have gone back up? Of course there is, just don't expect our owners to understand it.
Football is a zero sum game and as Duchere celebrate the fans of Grenoble will be crying into their Chartreuse (I will join them in a glass later). So will the followers of Sheff Wednesday, while supporters of other clubs have suffered even crueller fates. The news that Duchatelet has bought back Sint-Truiden only fills me with sympathy for their fans. They don't deserve him. Neither do we.
Of course if Ms Meire were to be transferred to them from us I'd be a little relieved. At least it would raise the possibility of greater competence in our neck of the woods. But overall I'm in the camp that believes it matters not. She has no business being involved in a senior position at any football club - obviously nobody else in football would employ her - and if the repurchase of a club rather closer to his heart actually encourages him to stay in the game it is a massive net negative, for us and Sint-Truiden.
We've seen the comments Duchatelet has made regarding "foreign owners" and understanding "football culture". It has been quite frankly sickening to read them. He has demonstrated that he doesn't understand football, what it takes to succeed in the industry. All he does with his words is drive home the message that he is incapable of learning why he fails, in football, politics etc.
Actually Albury Addick rather trumped me with a post about our owner being clinically insane. I had been considering the idea that if I was an offspring of Duchatelet, or a potential beneficiary of his estate, whether it would be possible to have him declared mentally incapacitated on the grounds that just retaining Meire is evidence of wilfull destruction of capital. What other reason could there be?
So tonight let's raise a glass to congratulate all those who have succeeded this season, to commiserate with those that have failed. And to bemoan the fate of those who, at least for now, have to live with the prospect of continued failure.