Raymond Domenech (born 24 January 1952 in Lyon, France) is a thespian dandy and pantomime villain, who has inexplicably managed to coach the French national team for six years.
Despite showing very little interest in football, Domenech was appointed manager of Les Bleus after their disappointing Euro 2004 campaign. The decision came as a shock to many in the French game and to Domenech himself, who hadn't applied for the job and only really watched bits of Champions League football during the breaks in 'France's Next Top Model'.
Domenech wasted little time in establishing himself as a pantomime villain for French fans. His 'distrust of Scorpios' led to poorly bearded ex-Arsenal winger Robert Pires being cut out of the national set-up, Pascal Chimbonda was selected for the 2006 World Cup squad after 'telling a particularly darling joke' and midfield nobody Vikash Dhorasoo was chosen for 'the sheer number of o's he can bring to the squad'.
Rather than shying away from the controversy he created, Domenech revelled in it and regularly turned up to press conferences wearing a distastefully tight devil costume.
Baffling success at World Cup 2006Edit
France made a slow start to the 2006 World Cup. Domenech's lack of a comprehensible formation and insistence on practicing show tunes rather than set-pieces in training sessions, led to dismal draws against Switzerland and South Korea. The opening 0-0 with Switzerland was so dull that referee Valentin Ivanov blew for full time after just 65 minutes without any protest from players or fans.
However, after squeezing past Togo to book a place in the last 16, the French pushed Spain and Brazil aside and an increasingly eccentric Domenech saw the results as validation for his bizarre, foppish antics.
By the time France fell to Italy on penalties in the Final, Domenech was watching the game from a garish blue, white and red throne on the sideline, only taking time out from sipping Appletinis to tell lengthy anecdotes packed with sexual innuendoes to the fourth official.
World Cup 2010 QualificationEdit
France's qualification for the 2010 World Cup was less than convincing. Les Bleus lost to Austria, struggled to beat the Faroe Islands and eventually finished second in their group, forcing a play-off against the Republic of Ireland.
The French prevailed in typical Domenech fashion with Thierry Henry handling the ball 19 times during the winning goal in the second leg. Swedish referee Martin Hansson admitted after the game that he had suspected something was amiss during the 30-second period during which Henry juggled the ball between his hands like a pizza chef making dough, but he had 'kind of wanted to get off home'.
Unsurprisingly, Domenech's World Cup 2010 squad was littered with omissions and apparent misprints. Samir Nasri and Karim Benzema were left at home, while Marc Planus was chosen in defence to give the coach 'a wealth of innuendo options'.