Monday 8 January 2018

For the love of an apple terrine

A new reason for missing a football match has been added to the list: 
a desire not to ruin an apple terrine. Doesn’t sound compelling, does it ? 
But give me a bit of leeway here. Having landed in Lyon late on New 
Year’s Day for a minimum three-months stay my partner Suzanne and I 
are in the early phases of establishing a pattern of living together (this 
process so far seems to comprise her telling me that some habits which 
have gone unremarked for almost 20 years are apparently not 
acceptable for outright cohabitation and me apparently going out of my 
way to difficult, something I normally manage with ease). So when 
Suzanne informed me about an hour before the 8pm kick-off that her 
lovingly-crafted first attempt at an apple terrine could be endangered by 
us going to the game discretion became the better part of valour. 
If truth be told I was less than totally committed to the game – and a little 
more conviction on my part and Suzanne would have risked an 
extended break between the part where the ever-compressing apple and 
caramel/calvados concoction goes from being stuck in a sort of bain 
marie to being put in the oven. I was feeling lazy (a natural state but 
encouraged by still getting over one of those bloody annoying colds that 
won’t disappear), there was a good Crozes-Hermitage ready and waiting, 
while going to the game would have meant bolting down a very nice 
poultry dish (I still don’t know exactly what it was as Suzanne could only 
describe it as ‘the wife of the duck’) rather than treating it with the respect 
it deserved.  
So we passed on Duchere’s potentially important home game against the 
splendidly named Red Star (France’s second-oldest football club, 
founded by Jules Rimet). Potentially important because going into the 
match La Duch sat in eighth place in France’s National (third division), 
really in need of a win against a better placed rival to get involved in the 
promotion race. It’s been a decent start to the season for a side still 
adjusting to life in a national league and in terms of support base 
punching well above its weight (Saturday’s attractive fixture was played 
out in front of 377 spectators). But unlike last season the division is quite 
stretched out, with what look like some strong sides at the top (including 
Red Star, relegated last season from the second tier). For their part Red 
Star were looking for a win to enhance their promotion prospects, no 
doubt keen to get back up at the first attempt. 
From the highlights of the game it would appear the first half was a very 
dull affair (one shot each deemed worthy of showing, both tame efforts). 
But it perked up in the second, with Duchere seemingly having the best 
of it based on chances. This seemed the case right to the end, when in 
stoppage time Red Star had a player sent off (seems he was given a 
yellow for holding onto the ball to delay a restart then must have called 
the ref a Trump/Duchatelet as another followed), Duchere went up the 
other end and a shot just past the post proved the final kick. 
A 0-0 draw sees Duchere either stay eighth or edge up to seventh, 
depending on which site you look at. Basically with 21 points from 16 
games (and a record of won five, drawn six, lost five) they are joint sixth 
with Pau and Dunkerque. But the top three (there are two automatic 
promotion spots and a play-off for the team ending third) are looking 
solid : Rodez on 31 points (despite having lost their last game, at home 
to Marseilles Consolat), Red Star and Grenoble both on 28 points. This 
division does seem to ebb and flow, but it’s going to take a storming 
second half of the season and a sustained run of good results for 
Duchere to launch a real promotion bid and get into the top three. A 
late winner on Friday could have made all the difference, but wasn’t to be. 
Progress will nevertheless be monitored - and reported on. Next up on 
Friday they travel to Pau, which might be stretching it as far as being 
there is concerned. A week later and it should be at home to relegation-
threatened Les Herbiers. Not quite the glamour of a match against Red 
Star (the town is apparently twinned with Newtown in Wales and it’s 
claim to fame is hosting an annual bicycle time trial), but I’ve pencilled 
that one in. 
In the interim, having seen the back of Pinocchio we wait impatiently 
for concrete takeover news. The signs are encouraging : Meire not 
being replaced, Duchatelet seemingly so self-deluded that he was 
reportedly ‘stunned’ by her jumping ship, plus his evident focus away 
from January window signings, and if the reports are to be believed 
Robinson calling Duchatelet what we have known him to be for some 
time now – and not being shown the door. All of this smacks of a man 
ready to walk away, presumably if his inflated pride can be sufficiently 
assuaged by the price. That what he does is not driven by the best 
interests of the club, something now apparent to Robinson, will be his 
legacy, right to the end. That only underlines how inadequate a 
custodian of our club he has shown himself to be, whether or not he 
sells up in the near future. 

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