"Life After Goss" - Orange Is The New Black #FM19 #AllezLesMerlus


Achilles Goss is not dead. I thought I would clarify that and dispel certain rumours that were floating around the FM scene. Instead of being dead, Goss is seeing out the final years of his life with an active subscription to Canal+, whilst watching as many FC Lorient matches as possible with the accompaniment of red wine and carer Renée at his side.

This post is a simulation of 5 seasons without Goss at the helm of FC Lorient. Would the club continue to punch above its weight in European competitions? Or would it fall back into mediocrity? Read on to find out…

Season 8 (2025/26)

Manager: Ernesto Valverde

Life After Goss started with the appointment of ex-Barca manager Ernesto Valverde, a surprising coup for the Breton club. Valverde signed a one-year deal and was tasked with managing the club through their 1st appearance in the Champions League Group Stage. Valverde's first move was to appoint 21-year-old Brazilian 'Nivaldo' as the club's 1st choice captain, a surprising move considering he was only signed 12 months ago by Achilles Goss.

Valverde's trust in youth was apparent with the Newgen signings of Apolônio & José Henrique from Brazil and an emphasis on playing a young back-line of Julien-Richard-Gaudin-Rolland (average age of 22). Old boys Josuha Guilavogui & Mamadou Sakho were sold to Major League Soccer for under €1m. The club returned to a 4-3-3 under Valverde, with captain Nivaldo pushed further forward as a Winger.

It was a great season for the club. Finishing second in their Champions League Group, FC Lorient went out at the 1st Knockout Round to eventual Semi Finalists Liverpool. A 4th place league finish saw Valverde’s team qualify for the 2026/27 Europa League and there was also a Coupe de la Ligue Final to shout about too! PSG winning 2-0 though, meaning three successive final defeats for Les Merlus in FM19.

League finish: 4th

Continental: Champions League 1st Knockout Round

Stats [Goals/Assists/Av.Rating]: Slavko Vucetic (22 goals), Yannis Hanany (11 assists), Mohamed Diallo 7.29

Other Comments: Chairman Loïc Fery finally sold the club in 2025 on the 5th attempt. French-Tunisian Businessman Anis Lacroix led the consortium and became the new Chairman.

Ernesto Valverde became the first foreign coach at FC Lorient in 24 years (since Ángel Marcos in 2001).

Season 9 (2026/27)

Manager: Jocelyn Gourvennec

New season, new manager. For the third successive campaign, FC Lorient opened the season with a different manager. Ernesto Valverde moved back to La Liga to manage Athletic Bilbao. In his place, ex-Lorient youth player Jocelyn Gourvennec took charge…who immediately made changes. High-profile young French stars Mateo Julien & Phillipe Gaudin left for a combined fee of €77m to RB Leipzig. Gourvennec kept with the 4-3-3 and recruited some experience in the backline: Ivan Ordets & Aymeric Laporte joining from Shakhtar Donetsk & Manchester United respectively.

But it was January when the big sale would happen: Mohamed Diallo sold to Tottenham in a deal that could rise to €86m…vomits

Mo Diallo at Spurs - a truly sickening sight.

Wow - an incredible season for FC Lorient. The return of Champions League football was something I did not see coming under AI management. Not only that, a solid run in the Europa League (reaching the Quarter Finals before bowing out to AC Milan) and two domestic cup finals (French Cup & Coupe de la Ligue) to gloat about too. Sadly both cup finals were losses against Carlo Ancelotti’s PSG, which means it’s now five cup final defeats in nine seasons in FM19…truly heart-breaking!

League finish: 3rd

Continental: Europa League Quarter Final

Stats [Goals/Assists/Av.Rating]: Slavko Vucetic (20 goals), Alessandro Murgia (9 assists), Aymeric Laporte 7.19

Other Comments: Concerns grow regarding the wage structure, with five Lorient players now earning over €300k per month. Something unheard of during the Goss-era.

Season 10 (2027/28)

Manager: Jocelyn Gourvennec

Beating Beşiktaş home and away in the Champions League was enough for Gourvennec’s Lorient to drop into the Europa League. This meant another Quarter Final appearance under Gourvennec, before the journey ended against the World’s richest team: RB Leipzig. The German outfit selling €150m of talent to PSG the previous summer, including long-term Goss target Luc Tournier. It also meant a happy reunion for ex-Lorient boys Mateo Julien & Phillipe Gaudin.

Two-time French Cup winner in FM19, (with Brest and Olympique Lyonnais), Jocelyn Gourvennec would leave FC Lorient at the end of Season 10.

FC Lorient finished in 6th place, resulting in European football for the 7th season in a row next year. Yet it wasn’t enough to persuade Jocelyn Gourvennec to stay on as manager, who resigned in July 2028. In his place came Romain Brégerie, a French Centreback who played most of his career in the German Bundesliga 2. Since retiring in FM19, he has managed both Ligue 2 Auxerre and Spanish lower league Alavés for 8 month stints each. I can’t help but feel I am looking at the start of a downward ebb for FC Lorient…

League finish: 6th

Continental: Europa League Quarter Final

Stats [Goals/Assists/Av.Rating]: Slavko Vucetic (13 goals), Nikita Ozdoev (15 assists), Nikita Ozdoev 7.06

Other Comments: Academy Wonderkid from the Goss-era, Alex Rolland was sold to Olympique de Marseille for a measly €6.5m. Awful business.

Season 11 (2028/29)

Manager: Romain Brégerie

Throw all your doubts about Romain Brégerie out of the window, this was FC Lorient’s best ever season. The second half of the league campaign saw his FC Lorient side win 14 league games, with only 2 league losses in 2029. FC Lorient romped to 3rd position again with their highest ever points total; 83 points! FC Lorient will once again return to the Champions League. Brégerie signed no players either, Slavko Vucetic continued to shine (his 5th season as Les Merlus’ top scorer) as the focal point of a new 4-2-3-1 system. In this team, Yannis Hanany & Alessandro Murgia played as the deeper double pivot…contributing to 15 goals and 25 assists between them.

Not only that, Romain Brégerie had done what Achilles Goss, Ernesto Valverde & Jocelyn Gourvennec could not do: win a trophy! The Coupe de la Ligue was won with 3 first-half goals in a 3-2 Vs Bordeaux.

In Europe, the club continued to be a Europa League Quarter Final team: losing to AC Milan, as they did two years previously in Season 9.

League finish: 3rd

Continental: Europa League Quarter Final

Stats [Goals/Assists/Av.Rating]: Slavko Vucetic (23 goals), Yannis Hanany (18 assists), Slavko Vucetic 7.24

Other Comments: In other news, Mo Diallo won African Football of the Year for the first time. His Ivorian countryman, and ex-Lorient forward, Fonsinho made the switch from Köln to Bochum, who currently play in the Bundlesiga 2.

Fonsinho in 2029, powers on the wane.

Season 12 (2029/30)

Manager: Romain Brégerie

After 326 appearances for the club, Goalkepper Raúl Rivera moved on to AS Monaco for €14m. Here was me thinking that this would finally mean Romain Brégerie’s game was up…but no. Another great domestic campaign, with the club retaining Champions League football into the 2030/31 season. It was another case of Brégerie’s Lorient hitting form in the second half of the season too, with 13 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses.

In the Champions League, Les Merlus finished 2nd in a group containing FC Bayern, FC Porto & Lokomotiv Moscow. In the next stage they went out, as they did 4 seasons ago, to Liverpool.

But there was another cup final! The seventh FM19 cup final would not be as successful as the sixth, FC Lorient losing out to AS Monaco 3-2 after extra time in the French Cup.

Romain Brégerie has overseen two 3rd place Ligue 1 finishes and a Coupe de la Ligue win in his two seasons at Lorient.

League finish: 3rd

Continental: Champions League 1st Knockout Round

Stats [Goals/Assists/Av.Rating]: Slavko Vucetic (17 goals), Nikita Ozdoev (19 assists), Slavko Vucetic 7.08

Other Comments: 25-year-old ex-Lorient Academy Left Back Matteo Julien is capped for France, now at VfB Stuttgart. PSG also win their 7th straight Ligue 1, equalling the record set by Lyon (2002-2008):

It will come as no surprises but the Manager of the Year award has remained in Paris for the last 7 years.

Who managed Lorient better?

It’s been 10 years with FC Lorient back in Ligue 1…the question nobody is asking, but me, is: who managed Lorient better during this golden decade? I’ll leave you, the reader, to make your own mind up with a series of graphics:

League Finishes 2020-2030

Cup Finals 2020-2030

Manager Statistics

So are you #TeamGoss, #TeamValverde, #TeamGourvennec or #TeamBregerie? To be in with a chance of winning a copy of FM20 that I won’t be giving away, simply let me know which manager you preferred at the helm of Brittany’s most amazing club. I would love to hear people’s thoughts.

Oh, and even if we disagree…I think we can agree that they’re all better than Ligue 1’s all-time most average manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Now managing the arch-enemy in Brittany:

OGS in FM19, nemesis to Goss.


I did a similar projection back in FM16, where I simulated 10 seasons after my time with Grasshopper Club Zürich.  I remember feeling a bit downbeat about how the AI had butchered things at the club I spent a whole decade at.  Although this look forward in FM19 is a lot shorter in seasons than FM16, I am really positive about how well the AI has done.  There’s a temptation to sim even more, in order to see if Lorient’s young manager can keep up his bright start.  But I like ending Orange is the new Black on such a vibrant high.

I think these two concluding posts (today's look forward and last week's look back) have shown that PSG & Monaco aren’t going away anytime soon.  There is a, dare I say it, “concrete ceiling” above FC Lorient in terms of further progression.  The two super clubs continue to outspend most of Europe, let alone those clubs in France! 

Despite this, Achilles Goss can die a happy man…whenever that may be.  He's seen FC Lorient reach the Champions League on a number of occasions and he saw his beloved Les Merlus lift a trophy!

Orange is the new Black and this is the end of the story.

FM Grasshopper / Achilles Goss