Former Fulham Manager Jean Tigana was left to reflect on what might have been on Monday – and the discarded candidate for the role of France coach could only speak of “huge disappointment” as his dream job went to Raymond Domenech.
Tigana, widely tipped for the role over the past six months, had been on the brink of being appointed after a positive interview with French Football Federation president Claude Simonet last week.
But former France Under-21 coach Domenech surged into contention during the latter stages of the FFF’s discussions, leaving Tigana and fellow candidate Laurent Blanc sidelined.
“I have always been a competitor and not being chosen is a huge disappointment for me,” said Tigana.
“I do respect president Claude Simonet’s decision to name Raymond Domenech and I wish him good luck.
“I will always remain a great supporter of ‘Les Bleus’.”
Tigana had stated last week how leading the France team would have fulfilled a long-standing coaching ambition, and of the three leading candidates he had the greater experience of club coaching.
The former France international, a member of the victorious Euro 84 team, looked to have risen to the top of Simonet’s shortlist last week after a one-hour discussion with the FFF chief.
Simonet was determined to appoint a worthy successor to Jacques Santini, who announced on the eve of Euro 2004 that he would be joining Tottenham following the tournament.
Domenech’s virtues were talked up by former national coach Aime Jacquet, which persuaded Simonet to appoint the 52-year-old.
But Simonet revealed on Monday morning how close Tigana came.
“I had a very interesting discussion with Jean Tigana and after it I almost felt I would give him the job,” said Simonet.
“But the decision was taken in consultation with the (FFF) federal council.”