The former Portsmouth assistant manager now masterminding Lille's title battle with French giants PSG

He’s the manager masterminding breaking PSG’s stranglehold on French football.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 2:30 pm
Christophe Galtier has managed Saint-Etienne and now table-topping Lille in the years since his time at Fratton Park. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Yet few will be aware that table-topping Christophe Galtier was once employed as Pompey assistant boss.

Lille presently lead France’s Ligue 1 by one point ahead of a PSG side bidding to claim a fourth-straight title triumph.

In fact, such as been the dominance of the team now managed by Mauricio Pochettino, they have been crowned champions in seven of the previous eight seasons.

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However, under the former right-hand man of Alain Perrin, Lille presently lead the way with four matches remaining.

Galtier arrived with Perrin at Fratton Park in April 2005 following the dismissal of Velimir Zajec.

The pair had previously worked together at United Arab Emirates side Al Ain – and would continue to remain together beyond Pompey at Sochaux, Lyon and Saint-Etienne.

Still, Galtier’s time on the south coast lasted seven-and-a-half months before they were sacked in November 2005.

Christophe Galtier pictured on Pompey's bench alongside Joe Jordan and Alain Perrin during Pompey's November 2005 home defeat to Wigan. Picture: Matt Scott-Joynt

The Frenchmen had oversee just 21 matches at the Pompey helm, winning four of them, while alienating the vast majority of the dressing room.

With the Blues deep in the Premier League relegation mire, Harry Redknapp returned from Southampton to replace Perrin – and ultimately initiated the Great Escape.

As for Galtier, in December 2009 he took over at Saint-Etienne, representing his maiden stint in management, with impressive results.

He led them to the French League Cup in 2012-13, earning him joint Ligue 1 Manager of the Year with Carlo Ancelotti.

Christophe Galtier on the return to Pompey first-team training in the summer of 2005. Picture: Robin Jones

Galtier left Saint-Etienne in May 2017 after 361 matches – and within seven months became Lille boss.

His time with the Blues was remembered by former midfielder Richard Hughes in Played Up Pompey Three.

‘He did nothing, seemed moody, spoke far less English than Perrin, but later did incredibly well at St-Etienne as a manager and went on to take charge of Lille. We saw nothing of this.

‘You could tell they thought we were rubbish as a group of players – and we weren’t good enough, that was a poor team.

‘I don't know who was signing the players at the time, but some of them were bad, let’s be honest.’

Now aged 54, Galtier is poised to claim the French title with Lille for what would be a remarkable achievement.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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