S├ębastian Bichard will be Clermont Foot's new manager from the end of the season

Changing of the Guard: Clermont appoint Bichard

Changing of the Guard: Clermont appoint Bichard

Publish on 03/09 at 16:00 - E. DEVIN


The Auvergne club have announced that former Red Star assistant Sébastian Bichard will succeed Pascal Gastien

While Clermont Foot’s season may not end with the Auvergne club staying in Ligue 1, one aspect of their future has recently been settled. With veteran manager Pascal Gastien set to step down at the end of the season, the club have announced the appointment of Sébastian Bichard come the end of the season.

A former assistant to Habib Beye at National side Red Star, the Swiss-born Bichard will assist Gastien through the end of the campaign before taking over come the end of the season. He will, however, have big shoes to fill. A midfielder who turned out for a half dozen clubs over the course of his career, Gastien did well with Niort over five seasons a decade ago, taking them from the fourth tier to Ligue 2, just missing out on promotion in the 2013-14 season.

Following a brief and unsuccessful spell at Chateauroux, he joined Clermont in 2016, initially taking charge of the club’s reserves before leading the first team beginning in 2017. Across six seasons, eventually leading them to promotion in the 2020-21 season with a second-place finish.

Throughout his spell at the club, he has played a principled, possession-based style of football, and succeeding despite the odds. In his first season, the team barely avoided relegation, and last season was expected to be even tougher, following the sales of Mohamed Bayo and Salis Abdul Samed. Despite these departures, Gastien stayed true to his ideals, and followed a scrupulous approach to recruitment.

Speaking late last season, he said, “We are very careful about the mentality of the player. We know that we can only get out of [the relegation battle] collectively. Recruitment is something that is a top-down process. We get information about the player and then we go to see them play. You can learn more about his state of mind and what he can contribute collectively.”

That careful approach looks set to be mirrored by Bichard, offering the club a measure of continuity as he learns alongside Gastien for the remainder of the season, with a focus on maintaining what the veteran manager has built.

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