Lyon appoint Hubert Fournier as coach
Lyon have appointed Hubert Fournier as their new coach with the ex-Reims boss succeeding Remi Garde.
Fournier, 46, was unveiled at a news conference on Friday as successor to Garde, who ended his three-year spell in charge of the seven-time Ligue 1 champions at the end of the domestic season.
Having seen Garde finish no lower than this season's fifth place in his three top-flight campaigns, and pick up the Coupe de France in 2012, Fournier clearly harbours hopes of emulating those achievements as he outlined his ambitions for next season.
He said: "It would be to qualify for Europe for the 19th successive season. It would be to win a trophy, undoubtedly one of the domestic cups and improve our position in the league, go and push for the high places in the table. That would be a very successful season."
A former Lyon player, Fournier had been in charge of Reims for the last four years. After earning the iconic Champagne region club promotion back to Ligue 1 for the first time in 33 years in 2012, the ex-OL and Borussia Moenchengladach midfielder established his modest side in the top flight, finishing 11th last term.
Herve Renard, Willy Sagnol and Raymond Domenech had all been mooted as potential appointees and, without naming names, OL president Jean-Michel Aulas revealed some seven candidates had been sounded out.
Initially, Renard was thought to be the favourite, but Aulas insisted Fournier, whose past at the club counted strongly in his favour, had always been his top choice for the job.
He said: "Our ranking had always been that which allowed Hubert to be at the top. There have been talks, but to coach in Ligue 1 and the Europa League, we needed a coach with the defined profile, that he be available and have the necessary badges. I confirm that Hubert has been, from the start, the first name on the list, and he stayed there.
"He's the fifth coach to have played at OL, which shows a sense of history and tradition. It gives an emotional attachment, which is what we were looking for. He has a past as a player and as a coach."
A question mark remains over the composition of Fournier's backroom staff, with two members of Garde's team, assistant coaches Bruno Genesio and Gerald Baticle, in negotiations with Aulas over their futures, while fitness coach Robert Duverne confirmed he will leave the club. The goalkeeping coach, former France international Joel Bats, is certain to stay after signing a contract extension through to 2016 only last winter.