On 27th January, Anthony Mounier (above) signed for Saint-Etienne on loan for the remainder of the season.
By 31st January, he was gone, gone, gone.
The reason? The French midfielder was hounded out of Saint-Etienne by fans after just four days on account of him once playing for bitter local rivals Lyon.
According to ESPN FC, fans began protesting before Saint-Etienne had even completed the signing, with one supporters group displaying a banner at the Ligue 1 club’s training ground that read: “Mounier, our colours will never be yours.”
Sure enough, without so much as kicking a ball for Les Verts, Mounier was sent back to parent club Bologna – from whom he promptly joined Atalanta on loan instead…
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) January 31, 2017
As well as making 20 appearance for Lyon almost a decade ago, it also emerged that Mounier once aimed a “profanity-laced tirade” at Saint-Etienne fans after scoring twice against them for Nice back in 2012.
In the wake of the dramatic about-face, Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier told press:
The situation in regards with Anthony Mounier is not a pleasant one for anyone involved.
It was the right decision. Sometimes one does not need to be ashamed to take a backward step.
It’s also reported that Mounier – who hails from a family of Saint-Etienne fans – also received death threats after signing, though police denied that he had to be put under surveillance for his own safety.
For what little it’s worth, the midfielder sought to meet with several ASSE fan groups to discuss the matter last week, only to receive short shrift in return.
“I was a 22-year-old, it was a youthful mistake,” Mounier said, though his plea, very definitively, fell on deaf ears.