Hibs 21st century XI - The first centre-back revealed

The ball is helped back across the Hearts box. Steven Pressley dives unnecessarily at the ball, poking it out of the box. It appears the danger has been cleared.

Friday, 21st June 2019, 3:37 pm
Franck Sauzee is 'Le God' to Hibs fans. Picture: SNS

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Hibs 21st century XI - Vote for the centre-back (1)

It hasn't.

For those watching at home or in the pub Franck Sauzee comes out of nowhere. The French legend runs onto the ball and fizzes a shot into the bottom corner of the Hearts net at the Gorgie end of Tynecastle Park, Dirk Lehamnn adjusting his position to get out of the way.

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Franck Sauzee is 'Le God' to Hibs fans. Picture: SNS

It was the second in a 3-0 win for the Hibees, and one of nine derby matches as player or manager he was unbeaten in.

How do you put into words the influence and the quality of someone fans refer to as 'Le God', someone who picked up 82 per cent of the vote at the time of writing.

A Champions League winner. A three time Ligue 1 winner. A 39-cap French international. Pitching up at second tier Hibs.

But he was exactly the type of figure the club needed, someone the fans could cherish and simply enjoy.

A midfielder when he arrived, Alex McLeish converted him to a sweeper. But, I'm afraid, that term is simply too mundane for Sauzee. He was a libero.

Franz Beckenbauer, Ronald Koeman, Franck Sauzee.

His marauding runs, bending games to his will. The vision and composure and sheer ability oozing from every pore. He was football and operated on a different plain to most of his team-mates and opponents.

A "casual colossus" according to author and Hibs fan Irvine Welsh, his importance was transcendent as Hibs finished third in the top flight, thumping Hearts 6-2 in the process.

McLeish often played a back three to allow Sauzee to forage and foray forward, finding space and bamboozling opponents. Such was his quality Hibs could have played Sean O'Hanlon and Ryan McGivern either side of the Frenchman and supporters would still have felt at ease.

He possessed an aura. It wasn't arrogance, but he knew he was better than those he was coming up against. The opponents knew it, Hibs fans knew it. Supreme confidence.

Since leaving he has kept his distance from the club but it has only fed into the mystique of 'Dieu'. One of, it not the best.