The name Alain Pochat might mean absolutely nothing to Nottingham Forest fans, but to their manager, he’s someone held in high regard.
Sabri Lamouchi was appointed as the man to try and help the Championship club return to England’s top-tier, which is exactly what he was on course to doing before the Covid-19 pandemic, sitting relatively comfortably in a playoff spot in fifth in the league after 37 games.
The French manager wanted Pochat, who is himself a manager at FC Villefranche in National 2, to be one of his assistants, but the timing of the offer last summer couldn’t have been worse.
Speaking to Made In Foot, the 52-year-old looked back on that moment where a big decision was needed, not just for him, but for everyone else around him.
He said: “The timing was problematic. I’d had contacts for a while, with Sabri Lamouchi and the person I know very well in his staff. I looked at it, but it was really late. I’d already started my season here, at FC Villefranche. I’d already done all the recruiting. They called me on a Thursday, and they needed me to go to Alicante on the Saturday for preseason.
“There was also my family to manage. There’s no French school there. There were many parameters that were really tight timing wise… I didn’t really see myself leaving the club, the players I’d convinced to come. It’s a choice. When there’s the family behind you, it’s complicated. It was an interest that flattered me. It feels nice to see they thought about you, that they want to work with you.
“It was an attractive offer, in an important league, at a historical club that has won two Champions League. After that, it’s simply choices”.
Having had time to think on it some more, Pochat doesn’t feel the choice to reject Nottingham Forest was that difficult after all, especially since the season at FC Villefranche has gone well.
As for what his future holds, his contract is up at the end of the season, which could mean another chance for the Championship side to try and convince him to come.
If they do, they now know they’ll need to give him a bit more time than a couple of days.