One-club man

Saint Etienne may be the most successful club in the history of France but in the last decades the squad didn’t achieved very important results. So, the fourth place in the actual edition may be a new start and a really big chance for the ‘greens’ to reach the Champions’ League, former European Champions’ Cup, a competition in which they played a final in 1976. But what do people do know about this team? OK, you might know about their 10 league titles, about their legendary Michel Platini or about the great rivalry that separates them from Olympique Lyon, the most popular club from France in the last decades. I mean they won seven titles in a row, right?

But what few observed during the years is the presence of Jeremie Janot, a goalkeeper, now 34 years old, that plays for Saint Etienne since 1996, when the team was in the second tier. In fact he is a rare kind of one-man club who dedicated all his career to one single club. For Romanians his name may sound familiar and that’s surely not because he is Banel Nicolita’s team mate right now. No, because after a long period Janot is only the reserve of new signed, last summer, Ruffier, from relegated AS Monaco. But this is another story. The main idea is that, you’ve guessed, Jeremie appeared in both games between Saint Etienne and CFR Cluj, which were played in the summer of 2005, in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. After a 1-1 in Transilvania, a 2-2 on French ground assured Dorinel Munteanu’s squad qualification. So, from there you know the mentioned goalkeeper.

All though he has only 1.76 meters, Janot was first option between the posts for ten seasons out of a total of 16! And he is also holding a record that marks the most minutes without conceding a goal on Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, the home ground of ‘The Saints’: 1534 !!! It all started on 9th of November 2004 in a 2-1 victory over Nancy, when Agali scored in the 29th minute and ended after almost a year, on 21st of September 2005, in a 0-2 loss with Nice, while Lecluse put the first in after 34 minutes. Totally, Janot maintained a clean sheet in 17 matches, a record that no other goalkeeper managed to reach until now.

Born in Valenciennes on 11th of October 1977 he felt in love with Saint Etienne from his first years of life. And how can be such a love exposed if not by showing an unlimited hate for the biggest rival, Olympique Lyon? Especially when you have to witness a period in which Saint Etienne doesn’t win a single distinction mean while the enemy puts in seven titles in a row! A weak consolation is that Saint Etienne has won 10, even though not consecutives, and has played a European Cup final. A similar thing might happen also with Lyon, but the French side was put out of the Champions’ League quarterfinals by AC Milan, in 2006. Nothing interesting until now, but few know that the next match of the Lyonaise, after they lost 1-3 in Italy was against… Saint Etienne. And fewer know that Jeremie Janot tried to appear between the posts of his team in a… Milan’s kit! Unfortunately or luckily, take it as you want, he wasn’t allowed to do so. But for him it shouldn’t be that a problem, if we consider that Janot played in 2005, against Istres in a… Spiderman kit! And it was a costume that also included a mask, which he eventually took off, but only after he took his place in the goal.

You think that is strange? Well he is one eccentrically guy, who loves MMA fights and idolatrize Wanderlei ‘Wand’ Silva, a Brazilian fighter. To show once again a love proof he tattooed on the back of his skull a similar tribal symbol that the South American has.

Janot wasn’t selected a single time in the national team of France, but this thing surely doesn’t bother him as he did appeared for Saint Etienne in 345 league games in both first and second French divisions. His first was in 1996, when he had only 19 years, when he appeared between the posts in a second division dispute against Toulon, on away field. After, on 16th of February 2000 he at last played a first division match, but in which he unfortunately let in… four goals! Hopefully, his mates put in one more and assured a 5-4 win over Montpellier. Also, he gathered 12 national Cup appearances, 24 League Cup matches and 10 European clashes, 4 in the 2005 UEFA Intertoto season and 6, in the 2008-2009 UEFA Cup year, even though, in this last edition, he missed the first matches.

In may 2011, he played his number 384 match in all competitions in Saint Etienne’s shirt, becoming the goalkeeper with the most games in the history of the squad, by surpassing Ivan Curkovic. By now, he has 391 encounters in all competitions, from which 255 in the top flight and 90 in the second division. All though people may think he is a rough goalkeeper, actually Janot wasn’t sent off in his career even once and got only 10 yellow cards during years.

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