Postcards From Anthony

Overtaking Lewandowski in a Golden Boot race – this man is absolutely on fire.

4 August 2007

It’s a cool, dry evening in Caen, where the local team is taking on the visitors from Nice. On the pitch: several well-known names, including stars of the past (ex-Bordeaux forward Lilian Laslandes, former Lyon midfielder Florent Balmont, RC Lens’ long-lasting servant Cyril Rool) and the future (Spurs’ Hugo Lloris and Newcastle’s Yoan Gouffran). They’re playing a match of missed chances for both sides – until the very end, when Gouffran’s cross from the right wing reaches Lilian Compan and the Caen forward directs the ball superbly in the top corner of Lloris’ goal. Seconds later, in a desperate bid for an equalizer, Frédéric Antonetti hands a top-flight debut to a 19-years old forward, Anthony Modeste. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work: his youngster only manages to receive a yellow card…

20 December 2008

Nice continue to produce mixed results. Three wins in August; no wins in September; eight games undefeated between October and November; four games without three points in December. During that time, Modeste remains a back-up player, only entering the fray in the late stages of games, mostly watching the efforts of Habib Bamogo (once in OM; today kicking the ball in Indonesia) and Loïc Rémy (grew up into a class player in Marseille and Newcastle; now, on loan from Chelsea to Crystal Palace). Against Toulouse, though (with Jérémy Mathieu, André-Pierre Gignac, Étienne Capoue and Moussa Sissoko in squad), the man in question scores the opener after only six minutes, by chasing a through ball from the veteran playmaker, Olivier Echoufani. Too bad it will be his only strike in the next five months…

14 May 2010

Ligue 2 season concludes. After picking up just eighteen points from 19 away games, Angers miss out on the promotion and finish the race fifth with 55 points to their name. As a consolation prize, their top goalscorer turns out to be the Golden Boot runner-up, with 20 goals. At that time, Modeste is more clinical than Nolan Roux (then Brest, now Saint-Étienne) and Sebastián Ribas (then Dijon; later, a forgettable career at Genoa, Sporting CP and Monaco). Only one forward, the leading Tours sniper, proves to be more efficient, with 21 goals. That striker would later move to Montpellier, win the Ligue 1 for the first time in that club’s history, move to Arsenal, score 65 Premier League goals and appear in several, glamour photoshoots. His name is Olivier Giroud.

The arch-rival. Now, going through the crisis at Arsenal.

19 January 2012

The rock-bottom Premier League side Blackburn Rovers (only 3 wins in the first half of the season) are signing Modeste on loan from Bordeaux. At Ewood Park, he joins the likes of Scott Dann (now Crystal Palace), Martin Olsson (Swansea), Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla) and a veteran, the Real Madrid icon, Michel Salgado. Despite netting ten Ligue 1 goals earlier that season, the Frenchman turns out to be one of the worst flops of the season, making only three Premier League starts and failing to score once. The only time Modeste really makes an impact is a last-chance away game against West Bromwich, where, at 0-3 down, the forward receives a red card for a violent challenge on now-Sunderland right-back, Billy Jones. On May 7th, his Rovers are officially relegated to Championship.

Dismissed: the short spell in England was nothing but a trail of disappointments.

26 May 2013

Corsican side SC Bastia finish their landmark, 30th consecutive Ligue 1 season with a home 0-0 draw against Sochaux. Loaned out to I Turchini, Modeste is the first name on his manager’s team sheet and scores in 13 league games, leading his team to a sensational, 4-1 home win over Olympique Lyonnais, among other big results. Him, Wahbi Khazri (now Sunderland), Jérôme Rothen (former Champions League finalist with Monaco) and Florian Thauvin (Newcastle United flop, recently back in form at Marseille) are the main factors in SCB’s uncompromising, all-out attack style of play (8th best-scoring team in France but the worst defending one, with 66 goals conceded). Modeste himself bags 17 goals in all competitions and finds himself on the radars of several Bundesliga clubs.

2 March 2014

The Bundesliga surprise package Hoffenheim are taking on Wolfsburg, who are out to pick up three points and climb to the fourth place. Five minutes into the game, Modeste picks up a clever through ball down the left, crosses it low and Roberto Firmino (now at Liverpool) chips it wonderfully over Diego Benaglio. Wolves might be level less than ten minutes later, but a header from Niklas Süle (soon Bayern Munich) and two wonderful, pitch-perfect passes from Rudy to Modeste are putting Achtzehn 99 back into a commanding lead. The match finishes 6-2 for the hosts; upset visitors go on a slump, losing 1-6 to Bayern a week later and then, only draw with Braunschweig and Augsburg. At the same time, Modeste’s team finishes 9th, with an outrageously huge goal difference: 72-70!

19 June 2015

After finishing 12th in in their first return to Bundesliga, FC Cologne are looking for a striker to replace their top scorer Anthony Ujah (10 goals and a decision to join Werder Bremen). The manager Peter Stöger targets Modeste: now, after Firmino’s departure, the leading striker from a team that finished four positions higher than the Die Geißböcke. A £4 million fee and the magnitude of a change (from a 3000-men village to a one-million city) eventually convince the forward: “Cologne is one of the biggest and most prestigious clubs in Germany” – he remarks, not knowing what a thorny path he’s entered. After scoring six goals in the first eight games of the season, he goes on a two-month long drought and his team picks up only one win in eight games, netting as few as three goals in the process.

17 April 2016

Köln are out of contention for the European qualification and remain interested only in a comfortable, mid-table finish. On the other hand, their rivals from Mainz are chasing an unexpected chance for a Champions League qualification. In a clash at Opel Arena, it’s Modeste, who swallows two bitter pills first, as the hosts take the lead after a corner kick scramble and then, the Frenchman does not manage to beat Loris Karius with a fierce shot from a very dangerous position. After the break, Mainz score again and the game seems over – until Marcel Riise’s long-range cracker and Miloš Jojić’s tap-in have even it out in the space of just ten minutes. In the end, it’s 1FCC’s number 9, who has the last word, as he smashes a very long, over-the-top pass home seven minutes before the final whistle.

19 November 2016

Gladbach’s terrible, terrible run of form in Bundesliga continues. Die Fohlen remain winless since September and have just registered a five-game spell without a single goal. At Borussia Park, Dieter Hecking’s team finally unlocks their attacking potential when Lars Stindl puts away Ibrahima Traoré pass. However, after the break, Dominique Heintz’s cross reaches Anthony Modeste and the Frenchman, despite losing a header with Vestergaard, still accidentally manages to score the loose rebound. That day, as usual, he’s dominant in the air, winning 7 duels and getting to display his favourite ‘fingers-around-eyes’ celebration. Unfortunately: his massive impact is eventually overshadowed, when Riise hits an absolute free-kick blinder in the injury time, to secure all 3 points for the visitors.

Little do they know that their main man will not be able to score once during the next month and that the whole team won’t win a single game until 28 January 2017…

18 March 2017

Following another poor spell (five games without a win), Cologne are hosting high-flying Hertha. Die Alte Dame have just beaten Dortmund and are still well in the race for Champions League football next season – providing, of course, that they beat Die Geißböcke. Unfortunately for them, the show starts after just 6 minutes, and it’s 1FCC who are running it. First, Yuya Osako picks up the ball and powers an absolute rocket into the top-right corner. Then, 30 minutes later, Modeste volleys Osako’s cross. 40 seconds after that, Köln’s forward abuses the failed offside trap to make it 3-0. That’s not the end: in the second half, Modeste chases a through ball from Marco Höger, gets in one-on-one with Jarstein and beats him to the near post, completing his second-ever Bundesliga hat-trick.

Unfortunately, those heroics are not enough for him to earn a France call-up: Didier Deschamps still has more faith in AM’s former rival Giroud and former teammate Thauvin…


2 thoughts on “Postcards From Anthony

  1. Terrific summary, but may i (as a life-long Cologne supporter) ask for a small favour: Just change “1FCK” to 1FC Cologne or just “Cologne”. 1FCK are our long archrivals Kaiserslautern 🙂 🙂


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