Stade Reims have been left to fight in a mid-table battle in Ligue 1 since gaining promotion in 2018. But at least they still have a rich history to back themselves up.
The Red and Whites have a stark reputation in France for their contribution towards the success of the national team in the past.
They were responsible for forming France’s first ‘Golden Generation’ after dominating the French Football scene in the 1940s and 1950s.
The likes of Just Fontaine, Raymond Kopa and Jean-Vincent all gained prominence at Reims before going on to star for France on the international stages.
Reims have been fighting for a place in the Ligue 1 top half this season and have received a lot of new viewers in the process.
A major reason for that is because of Arsenal player Folarin Balogun spending the season on loan with them and lighting up the league with his amazing goal-scoring heroics.
With 14 goals scored, Balogun has outscored Lionel Messi and removed Kylian Mbappe from the top spot in Ligue 1 scoring charts with his hat-trick against Lorient.
A big reason behind the young striker’s good form is how well he’s been managed and used by Reims manager William Still.
Still, a British-born coach, is doing an admirable job at the French club and has recently gone viral for a very interesting reason.
He’s fascinating football fans with his bilingual talking ability and interesting accents for different languages.
Who is William Still?
Still only took over the club in October 2022 but has been doing a solid job with a 50% win rate from 12 matches managed so far – all at the age of 30.
He is yet to lose a game as Reims manager and is showcasing impressive man-management skills and tactical prowess. He even helped Reims get a hard-fought point against PSG, with his motivational speech before the game went public too.
Still was actually born in Belgium to English parents in 1992. He was raised in English and went to a French school, learning the language from a young age. Will also learnt Dutch when playing for the youth academies for Sint-Truiden and Mons.
After playing for a number of amateur clubs, Still was fascinated by the prospect of football management by playing Football Manager and Championship Manager. He got so intrigued that he decided to give up on his playing career to pursue a coaching career at the age of 17.
He started studying to become a football coach at the same age at Myerscough College in Preston, England.
How did will still get the Reims job?
While still pursuing his courses at Myderscough College, Still managed to become the assistant to the U14 manager at Preston North End. He also did an internship in football studies during his time at the club.
In 2014, he became a video analyst for Sint-Truiden. After helping them get promoted to the Belgian Pro League a year later, he left the club to follow manager Yannick Ferrera to Standard Liege. In 2016, Still left the club after Ferrera and his assistants were sacked.
After that, he spent the next five years or so jumping in between France and Belgium. That was because his UEFA Pro License was registered in Belgium, while he often worked in France in assistant coaching and video analyst roles.
Last year, he rejoined Reims as Garcia’s assistant and after the Spaniard was sacked in October – Reims gave him a full-time job. It’s one he’s been able to keep to this day and has done a pretty good job, being unbeaten in 12 games.
Why has he gone viral?
Still appears to be one of the most unique managers in Ligue 1 right now.
It is his astonishing bilingual ability and speaking technique that appears to have bamboozled a lot of fans on social media. In a recent video released by Amazon Prime, Still can be heard making fun of Balogun’s inability to speak proper French.
He tells him ‘Bal (Balogun) Your French is absolutely shocking, absolutely terribe’, with his accent being one of someone you’d probably expect to meet in Preston, England – where he did his coaching degrees.
While his British accent is rather believable considering his parents are from the UK, it was his French accent that really stands out.
Despite having a cockney accent when speaking British, Still seems to turn into a whole new character when talking in French.
When speaking the French language, it almost comes off that he is almost a Frenchman – having a natural fluency.
It’s almost as if he has two different voices when speaking the different languages, something which is extremely difficult to master.
Fans have been left stunned by his rare bilingual ability and how fluent he is when speaking in a variety of languages.
Another thing that must be noted is that Still is also fluent in speaking Dutch.
In modern-day football, it is extremely important for any successful manager to have a fluent and friendly way of communicating with the players.
Having mastered the French and English languages perfectly, the 30-year-old is able to get his orders clearly to his players and help them enjoy some admirable form in Ligue 1.
At the rate he is climbing the ranks in management, it won’t be surprising if Will Still was to become the manager of a well-known European club in the next few years.