Michel Le Milinaire, iconic Laval coach, has died

Nicknamed “Mimi”, the emblematic coach of Stade Lavallois died Friday evening at the age of 92, following pneumonia.

Michel Le Milinaire, emblematic coach of the football team of Stade Lavalloiswhom he took to the European Cup in the 1980s, died Friday evening, at the age of 92, AFP learned Saturday from a source close to his entourage.

Born in Côtes-d’Armor on February 7, 1931, “Mimi» enjoyed a modest amateur career alongside his job as a teacher, before successfully retraining as a coach of the “Tangos» of Laval, who named it “coach of the century“.

First in charge of young people (1965-1968), he then spent almost a quarter of a century in charge of the team (1968-1992), combining technical qualities, humanism, pedagogy and psychology to enable the club, despite his own attachment to amateur football, to reach the first division and the professional world in 1976.

The club then experienced its finest hours, finishing 5th during the 1982/1983 season and reaching the round of 16 of the UEFA Cup the following year, defeating the formidable Dynamo Kiev in the first round (0-0, 1-0), led by center forward Oleg Blokhine, Ballon d’Or in 1975, before falling with panache against Austria Vienna (0-2, 3-3).

“Wizard” and “Wizard”

The know-how of the one who is in turn described as “Wizard» by his supporters and “Wizard» by his opponents is recognized by all, France Football designating him as best first division coach in 1980 and 1984.

The magic ended up evaporating in Laval, which went down to the second division in 1989 and in the fall of 1992, “Mimi» is pushed towards the exit.

He bounced back the following season at Stade Rennais, where with a new generation of players, from the training center and led by Sylvain Wiltord, achieved promotion to Ligue 1 in his first season.

Reached by the age limit that prevailed at the time, he left his post in 1996, but his silhouette and his cap screwed on his bald head remained a familiar sight at the edge of football fields in the West.

He still sometimes advised Laval on recruitment, despite declining health and he succumbed to pneumonia during the night from Friday to Saturday.

The president of Stade Lavallois, Laurent Lairy, indicated that a minute of applause will be held before the match against Grenoble, for the 16th day of Ligue 2, Saturday, and that other tributes will be organized afterwards.

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