Penny for a Guy
He may well not turn out to be the next Alex Ferguson, but perhaps we have a budding Ronald Koeman on our hands, or Marc Wilmots, or a young Avram Grant. Hey, a young José Riga would satisfy me.
Known by Standard fans and most of the Belgium sports media as a clown, who brought some strange touch-line antics and the long ball to the Belgium’s Jupiler League that had along with the Belgium FA developed some excellent academies and talented young players in less than a decade, we will find out soon enough whether keeping Guy Luzon on the payroll was one of Roland Duchâtelet’s more insightful decisions or one of that of a madman.
The name Guy Luzon first came into our sightline when he was sacked by Standard Liege in October, and I wrote then with an element of surprise that Luzon would remain in the network.
Roland Duchâtelet fired Luzon following an ever souring relationship with Standard’s fans that ended with them rioting in a defeat to bottom placed Zulte-Waregem. At that time Standard sat in 12th place (out of 16 teams) 3 points off relegation.
Up until that fateful day in October Luzon had overseen just 3 league wins and had watched Standard get dumped unceremoniously out of the Champions League Qualifiers. After Luzon departed Standard won their next 3 league games and are now in the play-off places.
It was the dreaded play-off’s where Luzon showed his fragility, not I would suggest “his calmness and being good at his job at difficult moments” as Katrien Meire described the Israeli yesterday.
Luzon ‘won’ the Belgium Pro League by 4 points, and did only lose 3 games all season, letting in just 17 goals in 30 games. It was impressive, but the cracks had started to appear with rumours that some players were unhappy with Luzon’s style and that Duchâtelet had plans to cash in some of Standard’s best players, which he eventually did under Luzon’s watch.
The play-off’s, however ridiculous they are, were a disaster for Luzon as Standard drew too many of their games despite starting with a points advantage and actually beating eventual champions and rivals Anderlecht in their opening match.
What upset fans of Les Rouches was that this was the very best team for a generation, and whilst their rivals namely Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Genk were rebuilding, the 2013/14 season should have seen the first league title since 2009, and only their 3rd since the early 80’s.
Standard fans will tell you however that this team was not Luzon’s but previous coach Mircea Rednic, who in a short time had developed a passing game with a combination of experience and some very exciting youngsters. After qualifying for the Europa Cup, Duchâtelet sacked the popular Rednic, who famously left saying that Duchâtelet needed a “puppet and not a coach.”
Duchâtelet explained at the time that Standard had made the change due to a new policy prioritizing players from their own academy. “We will start preparations for the new season with 14 youth players. It does not mean we will not make any transfers, but only in terms of what we already have got in our own youth system. Rednic did good work, but I think Luzon can bring us more.” he said.
Duchâtelet was introduced to Guy Luzon by someone else this Blog has been keen to expose, Dudu Dahan, the Israeli football agent.
Dahan is a close aide of our network owner, and advises on players and it appears head coaches. Dahan has previously been accused of influencing team selections in his native Israel and then much to everyone’s embarrassment, except it would seem Luzon and Dahan, they sat next to each other at Luzon’s unveiling as Standard’s new manager (Duchâtelet wasn’t there of course) and showered each other with back pats and compliments.
Just glad Dahan didn’t take his place in between Katrien and Luzon on Tuesday. That would have been all too much!
Before Luzon took charge of Standard he was the Israel U21 coach, but became Israeli’s “public enemy number one” after failing to qualify for the 2013 European Championship semi-finals that Israel hosted and had a very high profile. Openly criticizing Israeli fans, following his team’s failure, wasn’t Luzon’s best moment either.
Luzon was U21 coach for the country of his birth for three years with mixed success, although I expect without a deep talent pool. Coaching a national U21 side is very different to a league side as Stuart Pearce is finding out again.
Luzon played football for just one club, Maccabi Petah Tikva, but had to retire at 21 following injury and by the age of 27 was coaching the same team. Under Luzon they finished runners up in the Israeli Premier League in 2004/5. Petah Tikva did win the Toto Cup, a Freight Rovers Trophy equivalent in 2004.
In 2007 for just one season Luzon managed one of Israel’s biggest clubs, Hapoel Tel Aviv. The job proved too big for him as he was sacked after just 7 months following some very disappointing results.
He returned to Petach-Tikva for a brief spell but moved to Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv for the 2008/09 season where they were runners up in the Israeli State Cup (FA Cup equivalent) in his last season. They also competed in the Europa Cup but in August 2010, after two years at the club, he was appointed as the U21 national team manager.
Guy is the nephew of recently retired Israeli Football Association chairman Avi Luzon.