Sylvain Marveaux: Where are they now?

Following a huge response by yourselves, the forgotten Frenchman makes up our second episode of ‘Where are they now?’.

Signing for Newcastle United

Marveaux was born 33 years ago in a place called Vannes, located in the North of France. Just six years on the Frenchman already had a keen interest in football, playing for his local team AS Menimur. 

After progressing through the youth ranks at his local club, he signed for Vannes OC, the largest football team in the city. After representing this club for around a year Marveaux was offered the opportunity to attend INF Clairefontaine, an elite footballing academy. This academy had overlooked the growth of some of France’s biggest talents past and present including national top scorer Thierry Henry, Blaise Matuidi and Kylian Mbappe. At this stage Slyvain had committed his future to football, training with the academy during weekdays and playing for Vannes OC on the weekends.

In 2001, Marveaux left the academy and officially signed for Rennes, as part of their youth team. Here, the Frenchman spent four years in one of the most highly regarded French youth teams, it was in the final of these four years that the spotlight had started to shine brighter on the tricky winger. 

The attacker notched 7 goals in 21 appearances  while consistently impressing the coaching team, these performances earned the Frenchman a place in the senior team for the following season. 

Again, it took Marveaux time to adjust to his new surroundings, spending the first 3 years alternating between the bench and the football pitch, it was not until the fourth year in Rennes that Marveaux really began to make an impression. Following a lengthy 5 month spell on the sidelines the Frenchman appeared reinvigorated and the appointment of new manager Frederic Antonetto spurred Marveaux into the form of his life. 

During the  2009/10 season he bagged 12 goals in 38 appearances earning links to Manchester United and Chelsea. The form continued into the next season, until another unfortunate injury put the Frenchman on the sidelines until the end of the season. It was at this time Newcastle secured his services on a 5 year deal.

Newcastle Memories

Marveaux was restricted to cup competitions when signing for the Magpies, making his debut against Scunthorpe United, and appearing in all matches until our 4th round elimination. 

In regards to league appearances, the Frenchman was starting to adjust to the Premier League. Accumulating substitute appearances, Marveaux was put into the starting lineup against Everton, and put in a solid showing, showing good pace, technical ability and an impressive passing range, this was until the 70th when injury struck yet again. Following injury, this time to his hip, Marveaux was required to travel to Colorado to undergo surgery forcing him off the pitch for several months.

The following season, 2012/13 Newcastle had European football on their fixture list. This presented the opportunity for Marveaux to impress, he did this by scoring his first goal for the Toon Army in a 2-2 draw with Martimo. He shortly followed this with a Premier League goal and assist against Arsenal within the 7-3 hammering we suffered at the Emirates. This was the highlight for the Frenchman, in what would be his last Premier League goal for the club, before he was loaned out to French club Guingamp. 

Marveaux playing for Newcastle United in the Europa League against Martimo, where he proceeded to get on the scoresheet for the Magpies

This move was brokered with the anticipation that the winger would re-discover his previous form which lit up Ligue 1. This however was not the case. It appeared that the constant injuries Marveaux had picked up over his career had impacted his bursts of pace, and with the pace of the wingers game deteriorating, he appeared to lack confidence and conviction when taking on players. 

He scored a single goal for the club across 24 appearances before returning to the North East at the end of the agreed loan spell. After having no suitors in the following transfer windows Marveaux was released from his contract, alongside countryman Gabriel Obertan.

I do have fond memories of watching Marveaux play in black and white, however I think that was due to the excitement of a European campaign for the Magpies, rather than the dazzling performances of the Frenchman. 

The signing offered a sense of the unknown, with a highly regarded French talent making the move over to English Football on the back of a heavy injury. There were some flashes of promise across Marveaux’s Newcastle career but the lack of consistency was his ultimate downfall

Where have they been?

Since departing from the North East, Marveaux returned to France signing for Lorient, here his career appeared to be back in track. After starting slowly, Marveaux added goals back to his game and looked a more confident player on the ball. The Frenchman was performing good enough on a personal level, however the team was not in a good moment, and after 11 years found themselves towards the bottom of the table at the end of the campaign. In France, promotions and relegations are decided by a play-off match between the teams aspiring to climb the leagues, and those facing the drop. Lorient lost their match 1-2 and were subsequently relegated to Ligue 2. 

Marveaux stayed with the team following this relegation, enduring a fairy average 2 seasons in the second division. Although the performances of Marveaux were not disappointing the club felt the age of the Frenchman, 32 at the time, was preventing younger, and perhaps more viable long-term options from gaining  important match experience. This resulted in another loan spell for the winger at fellow Ligue 2 team Nancy. 

During this spell Marveaux totalled 5 goals in 9 appearances, before returning to his parent club. At 33 years of age it can be determined the Frenchman never quite lived up to his true potential, but this is of no detriment to his character or footballing ability, instead a torturous sense of luck regarding injuries, that always occured at the most inconvenient of times. The exciting winger seemed to lose a notch of pace after each injury, which clearly impacted his confidence on the pitch.

Was the grass greener?

Yes – I do believe things slightly improved for Marveaux after leaving the North East, but this only comes in the sense of playing time for the Frenchman. It is no secret that perhaps Marveaux wasn’t given enough time to adjust to the PL, which can be evidenced when reflecting on his previous moves. Previous transfers to both Vannes OC and Rennes highlighted he was not necessarily the type of player to hit the ground running, but instead required time to settle and gradually improve his performances. In a career riddled with unfortunate injuries it is pleasing to see that he did to some degree re-forge a career back in France after departing St James Park, but it is also a saddening story that the Frenchman had the potential of a brilliant career pulled from under his feet due to the constant occurrence of injuries.

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