5 March ~ Nobody can call Raymond Domenech's tenure as France manager boring. Following yet more calls from the Stade de France faithful for him to resign during the 2-0 home defeat to Spain midweek, even French politicians are now trying to get him the sack. The discontent surrounding all parts of the national team has never really lifted since his surprise appointment in 2004. This is despite Domenech taking France to a World Cup final in 2006, which arguably they would have won had the talismanic Zinedine Zidane not got himself sent off.
The politician who wrote the letter, Francois-Michel Gonnot, addressed it to secretary of state for sport, Rama Yade. The letter asked for the removal of Domenech with "extreme urgency" after the defeat to Spain. However, FIFA have strict rules regarding political involvement with the national team so the letter has possibly kept Domenech in his job until after the World Cup, when his contract expires anyway.
The French stuttered towards South Africa, finishing runners-up in their group before that controversial play-off victory over Ireland in Paris. This poor qualifying campaign followed an equally poor showing at Euro 2008 where they finished bottom of their group. The French press were infuriated further when Domenech used his final post-match press conference to ask his girlfriend, and mother of his two children, to marry him. It turns out she was as infuriated as the press and her answer remains unknown.
It seems pretty much everyone would like to see Domenech given the boot before the World Cup. That is of course apart from Domenech himself and a 1970s pornstar called Catherine Ringer who has made the hapless boss subject of Je Kiffe Raymond (I fancy Raymond), a song which has been viewed over 200,000 times. One lyric from it is: "If he attacked my penalty areas. I would be without defenders." This is probably for the best considering the defenders Domenech has at his disposal are Julien Escudé and Jean-Alain Boumsong, hardly the all-conquering centre-half partnership of 1998, Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf.
Any manager who survives the dreaded "vote of confidence" from their employers can count themselves lucky. Domenech has survived two. It appears, though, that he doesn't have the support of his captain Thierry Henry, who claimed the national team were "bored" during training sessions – hardly a glowing assessment of the manager. If he does miraculously survive until June it is almost certain to be his last act as France manager. Jonathan Walton