How young England coach Will Still technically led a Ligue 1 match against PSG: ‘S**t, this is what I dreamed of’
When Paris Saint-Germain showed up at the Stade Auguste Delaune – Reims’ home stadium in Ligue 1 – on 8 October 2022, Reims manager Oscar Garcia was absent from the sidelines and missed the match due to family reasons.
This left then 29-year-old assistant manager Will Still in charge of the side, tasked with stopping Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and co.
He eventually succeeded, with Reims holding the Ligue 1 juggernaut to a 0-0 draw in a bad-tempered game that saw Sergio Ramos sent off. Just five days later, Reims had sacked Garcia and appointed Still as caretaker manager, before finally offering him the job full-time after a five-game unbeaten run.
Speaking exclusively FourFourTwoStill describes how unreal that moment felt, and still feels now.
“It was insane and utterly ridiculous, one of those moments in life where you pinch yourself,” he explained of that game against PSG. “Strangely, it also happened the year before because Oscar [Garcia, the head coach] was suspended when we [Reims] played them at home, so I was on the sidelines like I was a head coach, even though I wasn’t.
“Standing in front of these stars with Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar… When I look back now I think: ‘S**t, this is what I dreamed about 10 or 15 years ago’. It was very, very weird.
“If you see your face in it L’Equipe and someone hands it to you and says, “Great article,” I think, “Holy s**t, that’s me L’Equipe‘.”
Still had time for some complimentary, unsolicited words for FFT.
“It’s the same with FourFourTwo spoken to me – I always read the magazine. But for all these people to call me, I must be doing something right. I try not to get too carried away because I know how quickly it can go the other way.”
However, he would be forgiven for getting carried away. In the second leg against PSG, at the Parc des Princes, loaned Arsenal striker Florian Balogun scored in the 96th minute to equalize for Reims, stunning the aforementioned superstars.
In addition, Still is only 30 years old and has yet to complete his UEFA Pro license, which he is currently studying for.
Under Ligue 1 rules, all managers must be licensed to manage a club at that level, meaning Reims will be fined €22,000 for every game they play, due to Still’s alleged lack of experience.
Obviously, it’s all been a whirlwind of emotions – and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.
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