I couldn’t be in front of my television. I spoke with former present. There were a few chances… This match comes at the end of a chain. The hope that I had was not based on a logical reality but on the fact that when one is Navy and White, one said to oneself why not… I find it difficult to realize because the descent is not something attached to this club. I knew, in my beginnings, seasons where the initial objective was maintenance. We got there, and then we took on a dimension that allowed the club to assert itself as a monument. Lowering…
I couldn’t be in front of my television. I spoke with former present. There were a few chances… This match comes at the end of a chain. The hope that I had was not based on a logical reality but on the fact that when one is Navy and White, one said to oneself why not… I find it difficult to realize because the descent is not something attached to this club. I knew, in my beginnings, seasons where the initial objective was maintenance. We got there, and then we took on a dimension that allowed the club to assert itself as a monument. The descent of 1991 was not sporting and there was always this serenity on the continuity in Ligue 1. To say to oneself that for the first time since 1960, we are going to fall sportingly, it is brutal.
What is your feeling ?
Sadness about the representation of this club. And anger because this is the end of all the mistakes made since the Americans took over in 2018. Instead of preserving a story, we went in all directions with people who were not very competent in terms of football then with the history of the logo, clashes with supporters.
You had been part of the Surveillance Committee set up by the town hall of Bordeaux. Did you hope for a rebound when the club was taken over by Gérard Lopez?
This Committee had been set up with the aim of helping to pacify the environment. But we the elders, the town hall, the partners, had our limits: the Girondins are not an association. The club almost disappeared. The recovery by Gérard Lopez made it possible to continue. I do not have the information on the financial part. But sportingly, the season got off to a bad start quickly with a team that did not correspond to the reality of football in France, players without the state of mind to play maintenance. There was nothing dishonorable. I hear they lacked confidence. I understand. But the survival instinct?
“The situation must be terrible for employees in Haillan”
What were the contents of your discussions with Gérard Lopez?
When he took over the club, he asked to see me. I spoke to him about what this club was, its way of functioning and living. Then I met him a few times at games. We exchanged cordially. He told me that the team was blocked, had trouble expressing itself completely.
Would you have liked to be offered a role?
I have always said that I was available, not in a role of coach but of adviser, coordinator. I was in advanced discussions with other takeover candidates: Pascal Rigo, Didier Quillot. Afterwards, I have my limits of intervention. The club is set up.
You are now coach of Kosovo. Is this ancient history?
It is obvious that I have these colors in the blood. Now, what will be the reality of the next few weeks? The central element, now that the athlete has failed, is the finances. The situation must be terrible for employees in Haillan.
How do you feel about the operation?
In the chain from top to bottom, I don’t know if there was really any coordination. I discussed with partners who told me that they were not very happy. When the whole sphere has things to complain about, it’s because things aren’t going well. We did not know these concerns before at the Girondins: the club was square, in place, had a strong framework. The player who arrives must feel that. By nature, he will always look for excuses. If he hears everywhere – this does not work; so-and-so does that – he’s only going to remember that. We must ensure that the club once again becomes a strong institution that moves forward with one voice. When the club immediately reassembled in 1992, there was a dynamic, a common momentum around it. The Americans broke everything.
“In L2, players fight every week with the idea of going higher”
As a coach, you raised Toulouse twice from L2 to L1 (in 1998 and 2000). What are the keys at this level?
The game is less calm than in Ligue 1 but the commitment is total. The players, many of whom have never experienced the L1, have the idea each week of fighting to go higher, with contexts, stadiums, media coverage that are not the same. Every game counts. Players will have to integrate this and adapt to it.
Is the speech, linked to the financial situation, that there is no other choice but to go up immediately, dangerous?
Whether you say it or not, the Girondins will be expected everywhere. When you see how some teams used to L1 have gotten stuck in L2, it’s better not to stay there for long. The place of the Girondins is in L1, it is normal and obligatory to affirm it.
If this descent must be useful for a reconstruction, what are the important axes in your opinion?
Recreate a sporting dynamic, find all the supports that have not felt comfortable this season. This carrier current will pull the athlete with it.
If a delegate president is appointed, must he be from the “Girondins” seraglio?