David Guion, Reims
Ligue 1 Show

David Guion, Reims' guide

David Guion, Reims' guide

Ligue 1 Show
Publish on 02/20 at 00:13 - I. HOLYMAN

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Reims reached two European Cup/Champions League finals in their heyday of the 1950s — since, the six-time French title winners have been to Hell and back, but under David Guion have established themselves as a top-flight force.

When Ballon d'Or winner Raymond Kopa was a Reims player, the Champagne club dominated the French game, winning their six top-flight titles  between 1949 and 1962, as well as reaching those two continental showdowns in which only the great Real Madrid side of Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano denied the club a European crown.

 

Decades in the doldrums, the trauma of bankruptcy and a 33-year wait before returning to the top flight in 2012 all followed, but since 2017, Guion has been the steady, successful hand at the helm, winning promotion in his maiden season after stepping up from the club's youth academy.

 

"We smashed all the records in the first season. We had an unprecedented campaign and went straight up. I think we were promoted to Ligue 1 after just seven months," Guion told The Ligue 1 Show. "Then we did well in the top tier, finishing eighth, then fifth. Our goal is to make Reims a permanent fixture in the top flight, and to help the club to grow slowly but surely."

 

Reims' succcess in the last two seasons has been based on an iron-clad defence — no team conceded as few goals over that period — but with players like Boulaye Dia, Arber Zeneli and Valon Berisha in his squad, Guion now wants the Champagne club to play champagne football.

 

"We wanted to gradually change our playing style, to be a little bit less pragmatic and adopt a more attacking style. It hasn’t been easy, as we saw at the start of the season, but we’re still at an early stage," explained Guion, who has blended a cosmopolitan squad together with success.

 

"We have 14 different nationalities in the dressing room, that can be difficult to get everything playing together, but I think it’s fantastic to see these guys living and working together. It is a great example, and it shows that sport can teach us some good life lessons."

>> MATCH PREVIEW: St-Etienne - Reims