But it was the payoff of a successful season for a team that became the 10th in the CFG World Team, joining the likes of New York, Melbourne and Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan.
Troyes spent much of the campaign at the top, last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Dunkirk to clinch the Ligue 2 title – a year after the Covid-19 pandemic abruptly halted their promotion.
While Clermont and Toulouse will battle for second place in automatic promotion, Troyes could beat their previous point record (78) with a victory in Le Havre on Saturday.
Troyes have bounced between the upper level and lower divisions since the 1950s, although the current version of the club was founded in 1986 under the name of Association Troyes Aube Champagne.
They reached the elite under Alain Perrin in 1999 but were relegated in 2003 following his departure for Marseille. Since then, Troyes has returned to the top flight four times, only once while avoiding going down.
Batlles and co. hope it will be different this time around, especially with the new management structure in place. Interestingly, this is a deal that was only made after talks with another Ligue 2 team, Nancy, collapsed.
CFG has become the new majority shareholder of Troyes after having bought the stake of the former owner Daniel Masoni.
“At City Football Group, our goal remains to play great football, to identify and develop grassroots talents and to have a permanent presence in football centers around the world,” said Ferran Soriano at the time, Director General of CFG.
– ‘A lot of work’ –
Batlles, 45, appointed to his first senior coaching position by Troyes in 2019, built a team that plays attractive football and has a strong core, without a full-fledged star.
Veteran striker Yoann Touzghar, 34, has previous Ligue 1 experience with Lens, and is the second division’s third top scorer this season, while midfielder Florian Tardieu and goalkeeper Gauthier Gallon are others. key players.
A 12 matcThe undefeated streak from September to December propelled the club to first place, and despite a run of mixed results in February and March, six wins in their last seven games have secured promotion.
“As a player, you experience emotions differently, almost individually. Here, I live it for the whole club, the staff, the players. There’s a lot of work behind that, ”said an emotional Batlles after beating Dunkirk. .
CFG is also partly owned by US private equity firm Silver Lake, which last month received backing from New Zealand Rugby to acquire a stake in All Blacks and China Media Capital Consortium.
The backstage upheaval did not affect Batlles, with the new owners ostensibly heeding the coach’s warning.
“Everything that is done today, it is I who put it in place … nothing is dictated to me”, he declared following the takeover.
The financial power of CFG, with its global network and its pool of young people in the making, should give Troyes the means for a successful transition to the elite. And, perhaps, the resources to stay there for the long term.