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Bob Bradley’s Le Havre needs help on path to French promotion


Two games remain in the French Ligue 2 campaign for Bob Bradley and Le Havre AC, and the path to promotion is not entirely free and clear.

Metz, currently in second place with three more points and a better goal differential than Le Havre, can win both of its remaining contests to claim the third and final promotion spot to Ligue 1. Bradley’s side, therefore, needs to win its last two games against Auxerre on Friday and FC Bourg-Peronnas on May 13 while hoping Metz drops points in the final weeks.

Following Le Havre’s latest win — a 3-1 result against Nimes — Bradley said he had “no regrets” about not scoring more goals to close the goal-difference gap between his club and Metz.

A Le Havre loss or tie and Metz win would officially eliminate the former from contention this weekend. However, no matter what Le Havre does, a win from Metz — which hosts ninth-place Tours FC on Friday — would all but seal its spot in the top three.

Here is a look at the top of the Ligue 2 table and the remaining schedules for the clubs in the running for the third and final promotion spot:

Ligue 2 standings

1. Nancy (68 points | 19-6-11 | 54 Goals For | 30 Goals Against)
2. Dijon FCO (67 points | 19-7-10 | 58 Goals For | 33 Goals Against)
3. Metz (62 points | 18-10-8 | 52 Goals For | 37 Goals Against)
4. Le Havre AC (59 points | 17-11-8 | 44 Goals For | 36 Goals Against)
5. Red Star (58 points | 16-10-10 | 36 Goals For | 34 Goals Against)

Team schedules


Friday – vs. Tours FC
May 13 – at Lens


Friday – at Auxerre
May 13 – vs. FC Bourg-Peronnas


Friday – at FC Bourg-Peronnas
May 13 – vs. Metz


Friday – vs. Dijon FCO
May 13 – at Creteil


  1. Really helped that Dijon rolled over for Metz last week. That was the fixture that should have brought Le Havre back level with them.

  2. I almost think that Bradley’s time with the MNT was a bit of a detour on his route to a top league in Europe. I’m not saying that he would regret that experience, but rather that the folks who run clubs in such leagues would give more weight to experience at places like Le Havre than to experience with the MNT.

    • Of course not sure Stabaek takes a look at him if he’s just coming from Chivas USA either. Although, Hammarby picked Berhalter from the Galaxy assistants, but he had played in Europe for 15 years.

      I think there are quite a few US coaches that could get jobs with lower division or lower league clubs in Europe they just aren’t interested.

  3. Bob is doing us proud in Europe. I’m confident he will eventually get to the upper echelons of clubs (because reaching the second round of a World Cup is apparently not enough to get a sniff from top leagues…)

    • Coaching a national team vs a club team are 2 different things with latter involving A LOT more man to man development and day to day management. People mention coaching usmnt to the 2nd round in one world cup but people fail to realize that there are a lot of good coaches in Europe. Why should they give him a look in a top 5 league when there many coaches I’m Europe who already deserve a look. Network! !!!

    • This is the route an American must take to a top tier league. Get a chance with decent 2nd division team and lead them to promotion. Only way.

    • There isn’t much discussion about Bob Bradley specifically, so hard to quote anything, but where he is mentioned it is with respect. Some fans seem to consider him the team’s greatest asset, in so much that he knows what the highest level of the sport is like, what it requires, how to stay there, professionalism and work ethic, etc. A poster implied that, as 20-something ranked coach in the world according to 442 magazine, he is not the reason if they don’t get promoted. There is a consensus that a lot of their players just aren’t good enough, no stars, especially in attack, but a good foundation and a good coach. Whatever league they are in, it was said, they’ll compete and have staying power (le maintien), even Ligue 1. That is, if they make it, their fans think they could stay there… which is perhaps not the case with the current top 3 clubs, who are built around 3 or 4 really strong players but weaker in depth. So if nothing else, Bradley makes them optimistic. His interviews – he’s not a great rhetorician – are honest at least, hinting that the team hasn’t totally come together, could use more top-end ability, more focus at critical moments, but is cohesive enough as an eleven to compete against anybody. The fans basically agree with him. No negativity. So from reading the boards I’d say he’s done some good work to get the club behind him. That is no small task with the french !!

      • Well, he certainly picked the best region of France to be in as far as French attitudes towards Americans. I’ve been impressed with how the HAC fans have treated him from the very beginning, even before he took the reigns of the team. There’s been far more fairness and respect than what I’m used to reading on various team forums, especially here in the U.S.

  4. Who speaks French? Or can point me to the main Le Havre supporters site in France?

    I want to know where he stands with fans thus far. Do they support him returning regardless of results this season etc.

  5. Not a follower of the French leagues. I could do a google search, but does anyone know if France has similar foreign player requirements to England? If not, Bradley could possibly provide an opportunity to a few young Americans similar to what he did at Stabaek.

  6. I wouldn’t count him out quite yet. Tomorrow, Le Havre play Bourg Peronnas–a winnable game, if not certain (Le Havre haven’t been able to reliably win games against bottom-of-the-table clubs this season), and Metz is playing Tours, a team that has lately had a penchant for scoring the occasional odd upset over a higher-placed team. Besides, they’re the other “Americans Abroad” team in Ligue 2, as they have American backup goalkeeper Quentin Westberg, who was handed the starting job for some games down the stretch this season.

  7. Unfortunately, promotion is not looking likely, but stranger things have happened. I would hope that Le Havre’s American owner would stick with Bob for a second season to build on what they accomplished this year.

    • He signed a two year deal so I think its a pretty safe bet he will be around next year if he wants to be.

  8. There hasn’t been any indication that Bradley’s job is on the line. But man would it be cool if JK took the Everton job and Bradley returned to the national team

  9. Aaron, thanks for the update. Too bad the story is unlikely to end the way most of us would like. Hopefully Bradley is still there next season. Have you heard anything to suggest otherwise?

      • wasn’t the coach Bradley replaced also in Fourth place when he got replaced though?

    • Golden- There was a caretaker manager in there for about a month as well, they had gone I believe 4-1-0 and brought themselves back up to 4th in the table.

  10. Actually, if Metz wins and Le Havre loses that would eliminate them this weekend. Le Havre has not been nearly as good on the road and Auxerre is in the top 10 somewhere so it certainly could happen.

    • Even if Le Havre win both their final matches, as Metz has a +7 GD over Le Havre, they realistically need Metz to drop points in both of theirs. It is quite a long shot at this point, but not impossible.


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