A football and musical profile of the Auxerre, PSG and France goalkeeper.

Singing goalkeepers. There’s been a few. But how many of them have wrote poetry too…?

Today we are looking at the French national team goalkeeper Joël Bats, who has led an interesting life.

» A quick bio from Wikipedia:

“He became undisputed number one at Auxerre and soon found his way into the France squad, being selected for the 1984 European Championship, which France won. By now recognised as a safe, authoritative presence in goal, Bats was also the French number 1 at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, famously saving a penalty from Zico in the quarter-final against Brazil. However, he uncharacteristically let a free-kick from Andreas Brehme slip through his hands in the semi-final against West Germany, which France lost 2–0…”

This is from Pierre-Etienne Minonzio, the author of the French language book Petit Manuel Musical du Football (to which I contributed) and his recollections:

“What can I say about mister Bats ? He’s one of best French goalkeeper of all times. He especially took part to one of the greatest game ever, France Brazil in the World Cup 1986, during which he was amazing.

Outside the field he was amazing as well, because, as you know, he released an album in 1986, fulfilled songs for children.

Why did he do that ?
It’s a massive enigma.

You know that goalkeepers (like drummers in rockband) are often very strange people, sometimes lunatic or shy or egocentric…

Bats was a shy one, a bit uncomfortable with the pressure of his status of goalkeeper of French selection and he apparently recorded this album as a way to take his mind off this pressure.”

» There’s also this bit from his Wiki entry, which leads us to the musical part:
“Bats was stricken with testicular cancer in 1982, but made a full recovery after surgery. (There’s a good article on El Pais, if you run it through google translate.) As therapy during his convalescence, he took up writing poetry, and has had two volumes of it published.”

A few years later, in 1986 these poems were put to music and Joël released an album. Gardien De Tes Nuits (Guardian Of Your Nights) Note: That was a literal translation, it can also be translated as Keeper Of Your Nights. Arf.

» His first single, what he became known (and slightly ridiculed) was for a poem which he converted into a children’s song – L’Escargot (

I am unbalanced, but very nice,
and most importantly, I offer the guarantee
of a solid roof for shelter,
I will be your umbrella, [Chorus] Big gray snail lovers slug Seeking cheerful, nice to output in the rain To a test of life together on the grass, we will slip caressed by the evening breeze By the horns, we keep the light heart filled with hope [Chorus] With me sweet ingenue More need your coat, I’ll protect you from the cold, And in return, you will love me [Chorus] (x3)

» So after the above, he released this single. Soli Solitude. The video of him below is on a TV show with the French national team just before they flew off for the World Cup (Mexico ’86)

I wrote me a letter last night
to see how history is the life for me
I hesitated, sitting on the sidewalk
Fear bothering me, probably to be awkward
These are the stars who me blew the first words (Chorus) “Soli solitude” “Like a habit” I think we can tu us since the time we all made ​​two quatre cents coups You know, I found you tired the another night At the end of the stage under your umbrella Must say that you had played badly and lost Blame the ball deflected shot that I wanted to buy you a drink, just to forget But you refused, you ‘re gone, all alone “Soli solitude” “Like a habit” I met Nathalie coffee of Linden Seems it’s not going very strong between you You make rebuke him, you find the old game but it is not always funny, you know, for it If you want advice, scale down your dream Look at her, listen to her sleep Inconvenient silences that make both suffer But I know you too well It will be difficult “Soli solitude” “As a habit ” I write, I write , but I know that this letter, You’ll never receive the I dropped the pen paper drifting in the gutter “Soli solitude” “As a habit,” I wrote me a letter yesterday evening History to see how’s life for me It goes, it goes without you “Soli solitude” “Like a habit” “Soli solitude”

» This is a another single released in 1986, again like above it’s very mellow. I love it.
Même si je m’envole (Even if I’m flying)

I would be vague to die at your feet
You give gold flakes on the wet sand
Never get tired of stroking your body
Never get tired of being ripped from you
… Even
Though I am strong I would be guard your nights I would also be the morning breeze in your hair Play running on your person Make you dance to the flowers of your garden Bring the scent of your body shivers I would be the guardian of your nights Illuminate your heart in cold darkness for you to come to light dazzled me by the hand take me You see I do not wanna be the one who lags behind the gray walls of a closed forever forbidden kingdom I want to be the guardian of your nights goalkeeper your nights? I want, I want, but … Even if I’m flying, I’m still strong enough?

This is from the album, it is called Café-Chagrin-Pas bien (Coffee-Grief-Not good):

BONUS:
Another track from the album, this one is called Fantaisie D’une Plume:

So what is the singing poet up to these days ? He’s now the goalkeeping coach at Lyon.

His football and music exploits continue though – he is one of the organisers being the annual Foot Concert event. (Sadly it was cancelled for this year). It comprises of an indoor football tournament, featuring many well known names from sports and entertainment, with all proceeds going to charity.

From 2007:

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