Photo Credit: LP/ O.A
“He came, he saw, he conquered”; this maybe the best phrase to describe Patrick Vallee for those who know who he is. The fifty year old Frenchman who coached Etoile FC in their first season in Singapore left quite an impression here when the Stars took home the Double, defying all odds and silencing their critics at their first try.
When Etoile FC first came to Singapore, most people were skeptical and wrote them off straightaway as another flop that will grace our shores. The fan’s fears did not come about without any basis after being disappointed by the likes of Sinchi and Sporting Afrique.
However, Patrick Vallee was determined to prove his doubters wrong and proved them wrong he did with style and flair. Etoile FC lit the league on fire with players like Flavien Michelini and Karim Boudjema tormenting established sides like Tampines Rovers and SAFFC while sweeping away the League Cup.
When asked about the brand of football he preached, Patrick gave a very simple reply:
“I like it when my team has constant possession of the ball. We play offensive football where short passes and constant off the ball movements is the recipe to Etoile’s success in the first season. This is also the kind of football that entertains and attracts the fans to the stadium.”
After a season in the S-League, the former Pacy sur Eure FC coach took up the reigns of AFC Compeigne and famously gave former French Ligue 1 Champions Lille OSC a night to remember after holding them at 0-0 until the 114th minute when Lille finally made the breakthrough.
He fondly remembers the night the game was played and was fully confident of creating an upset for the Ligue 1 giants until Gianni Bruno headed in a cross in the dying minutes of the game to knock his team out of the French Cup.
“Of course I’m upset about the lost but I’m very proud of my players. They played according to my instructions which was a soak and counter-attack strategy and we could have knocked them out of the Cup instead, but this is football; anything can happen”
Currently taking a break from football after leaving AFC Compeigne, the fiery French tactician who is famous for his passionate methods of bellowing instructions on the pitch side to his charges has expressed a desire to return to our sunny shores after a visit a few weeks ago to Singapore when Football OPOD managed to catch up with him:
“I miss Singapore, I miss the weather and the people here and I hope that I can contribute to Singapore football again. I know what I can do and I’m sure that with my experience and understanding of the local scene combined with French football, I may be able to help Singapore football improve. I’m only fifty this year and I’m not ready to retire. I still feel like I’m twenty five everyday!”
With his passion and knowledge of the game and love for our little island, Patrick Vallee will definitely be a valuable and exciting addition to the local scene. After all with the return of the equally outspoken Brunei DPMM coach Vjeran Simunic, no fan will want to relinquish the chance to see the two highly talented and vocal coaches together on the sidelines!