Who is WT Franco?
The name WT Franco has recently exploded across world football following the announcement that he’ll be succeeding Arsene Wenger as the head coach of the French national football team. The decision to put a relative unknown in charge of the World Champions has been criticised by pundits and public alike, with some going as far as to label him a “Bizarre choice” and a “Laughable appointment”. I sat down with Mr Franco this week to find out a bit more about him.
DC: Franco, it’s a pleasure to meet you. How are you?
WTF: The pleasure’s all mine Don and I’m great. It’s Franjo though, with a J.
DC: Glad to hear it. I bet it’s been a bit of a strange Summer, hasn’t it?
WTF: (Laughing) Yeah it has been. There’s been a lot of celebrations going on in Auxerre and then the France job came along. It’s been pretty surreal to be honest.
DC: That’s right, so you lifted the Ligue 2 title with AJ Auxerre last season, a club that’ll be quite familiar with those of us of a certain age! Do you think that the France job came about as a result of that success?
WTF: I think it has to have played a part in the FFA’s decision, yeah. I don’t think anybody was as surprised as me when they came knocking though!
DC: The word surprise probably sums it up really, doesn’t it? I mean, you’ve obviously enjoyed massive success this season but overnight ‘WT Franco’ has become a household name out of nowhere!
WTF: (Laughing) Well I wouldn’t say that! It’s Franjo by the way, with a J. You’ll put that in the final write up, won’t you? F-R-A-N-J-O.
DC: (Laughing) I’ll put it all in the final write up, don’t you worry.
WTF: Right. But not this bit though, obviously?
DC: So you’ve spent the last year in Auxerre, brushing up on your French I hope! Where have you been before that, because I think it’s fair to say that you were unknown at least in England until recently.
WTF: Yeah, I think that’s fair. Well before Auxerre I spent a couple of seasons in Cape Town with Santos FC…
DC: Oh, I thought that they were a Brazilian club!
WTF: Well yes, but… It’s a different one. Top tier in South Africa. Surely you know this, you’ve researched me before this haven’t you?
DC: (Laughing) I probably should’ve done by the sounds of it, yes! So you were in Brazil…
WTF: South Africa.
DC: Sorry yes, South Africa. What about before that?
WTF: Well, before that was a year in Katowice…
DC: Katowice? Lovely, where’s that?
WTF: Katowice? It’s in Poland. Have you seriously not researched me?
DC: (Laughing) Poland, that’s it! I knew it was somewhere hot.
WTF: I’m just going to press on. Before Katowice I spent 18 months in Terceira with SC Angrense…
DC: Lovely, where…
WTF: …And before that I had a short spell in charge of FC Höllviken. Which is in Sweden. Which is in Scandinavia. Which is in Europe.
DC: So it’s been quite the journey to get you to this point?
WTF: It has, yeah.
DC: So what else do you want to talk about?
WTF: I’ve got to be honest, I think you’ve done a pretty poor job with this interview so far. And I mean this is my first ever time being interviewed so I have nothing to compare it against, but even so I get the feeling that you’ve done a subpar job.
DC: (Laughing) Oh dear, don’t let the higher ups hear you saying that!
WTF: You’re still laughing as well, which makes me think that you think that I’m joking, but I’m serious. You know that, don’t you?
DC: But seriously, what kind of football can the people of France and indeed the people of the World expect to see from a Franco side?
WTF: Great question, thank you. My name is Franjo though. Franjo. Obviously cut this part out of the final write up like the other bits, but I don’t think you’re listening when I’m telling you that you’re saying my name incorrectly literally every single time you say it.
DC: (Laughing) Right!
WTF: Right. Are you… Never mind. Great question, thank you. Well it all depends on the players I have at my disposal really. I think my style of football has developed over the years as the standard of players in my teams has grown, but overall I look for a few things: Hard work, determination and high fitness levels. I’m probably a bit old fashioned in that regard but for me, if you have all of those things throughout the squad you’ll do fine.
DC: When we’re talking about the French national team though…
WTF: No, you’re absolutely right. When you’re talking about the likes of Pogba, Griezmann, Laporte, Coman…
WTF: (Laughing) Yeah and Frank Lebouef!
DC: Another good player, definitely.
WTF: You’re joking, aren’t you? Olivier Dacourt? What an obscure player to pick. He must be nearly 50!
WTF: Look, my point is that… Yes, if you’re talking about the stature and quality of players available to the French national team, the football needs to be high quality as well as just functional and that’s going to be a top priority for me, building on my own philosophy to make the football both effective and beautiful.
DC: Well it sounds like we’ll be in for a treat! Now, you’re an Englishman, right?
WTF: You don’t even… Yes, that’s right.
DC: So firstly, will there be any hard feelings from you towards the French side after they beat your home nation in the World Cup Final?
WTF: (Laughing) No, that’s just football isn’t it. As an Englishman it was a blow to see us get so close but as the new French head coach it’ll be great to work with the World Champions.
DC: And do you expect any backlash from English fans who have just found out about you and have then seen you join the nation that just scuppered their World Cup Dreams?
WTF: Huh. I didn’t until now.
DC: Great. And finally, is the dream to manage in the Premier League?
WTF: Some day.
DC: And if I can just ask one more question, why is it that half of your face is robotic?
WTF: (Standing to leave) I told the bloke on the phone, no questions about the face. It’s so jarring the way you switch between being very good and very bad at this.
DC: (Laughing) Well I for one cannot wait to see how you do Franco, and I wish you the very best of luck with both of your teams this season!
So there we have it. WT Franco: The manager who’s travelled far and wide from Sweden to Turkey, from Poland to Brazil and the man who’s going to be juggling 2 huge jobs in France next year. The World, and presumably a whole host of clubs in his homeland and beyond, will be watching.