In a long interview with the daily L’Equipe, the president of the Marseille club addressed all current issues concerning Olympique de Marseille.
While OM is traveling to Angers this Wednesday on behalf of the 17th day of Ligue 1, the last of 2020, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, its president, gave a long interview to the daily L’Equipe. discreet in the media since the start of the season, the manager toured the owner by evoking the various topical subjects of his club, but also of French football in general, plunged into an unprecedented economic crisis.
His record of the first half of OM’s season
“In the Championship, what has been done is quite exceptional. Being fourth with two games late is a great performance. The Champions League was a big disappointment. There were difficult evenings and nights when I didn’t get much sleep. We can see how much experience counts in these competitions. Everyone is learning even if, it’s true, in the performance itself, there were disappointments. The Porto match was painful for me. ”
The future extension, or not, of André Villas-Boas
“Pablo (Longoria, the sporting director) is in charge of this file, he discusses with his representatives how he sees the future, his personal projects, his vision for the club in a complicated context. I hope André will continue his adventure at OM. He appreciates the living environment, he has a personality that goes well with this city, this club. And, first of all, he has exceptional results. Before Angers, he has a little more than 57% of victories, he is quite simply the most successful OM coach in the 21st century. He’s also the one who brought us back to the Champions League. “
His vision of the next transfer market
“It will be an important year in the regeneration of this workforce. This will be one of our priorities, it is at the heart of the sports project designed by Pablo. I wish Florian (Thauvin) continues as a base man of this team. He may have personal, financial aspirations. Everyone will understand that the current period imposes extreme rigor on us. Our organizations are currently subject to the collapse of a model. I hear the voices asking that we keep doing what we have been doing from the start. We announced upon our arrival that we would spend 200 million euros to strengthen the team, and we have spent 220. The transfer window will be difficult, the situation has changed. We all hope a lot from England but, given what is happening, including in terms of a pandemic, there, we are in a deep crisis and the entry into force of Brexit will not help matters. The markets hate uncertainty and we bathe in it. I have full confidence in Pablo, who has been working on this transfer window for several months, who has already demonstrated his creativity this summer. ”
The economic crisis affecting OM
“We talk a lot about the cultural sector, but we are a theater that pays its actors to play in an empty room, performances that are broadcast almost free on television, since our main broadcaster does not pay us. It is an incredible situation, indeed. We arrived in this pandemic with no euro of debt on our balance sheet, except the shareholder debt of Frank McCourt, who converted it to the tune of more than 100 million euros in capital. With the Covid and Mediapro, we have roughly 65% of our turnover which soars in the space of a few months. Our trump card is Frank McCourt. He is the number one investor in Marseille, by far. He has invested more than 350 million euros in OM in four years. We must further accelerate the diversification of club resources, we can no longer rely solely on ticketing and TV rights. We must also work on wage moderation. ”
The withdrawal of Mediapro
“This affair leaves us with a very bitter taste. We were deceived. The Covid has a good back. You don’t stop a business two months after starting a four-year cycle. The objective, I do not know if it was to reach the billion euros … We had asked the presidents what they expected, I had not gone as far as that. Mediapro, at the time of the call for tenders, in 2018, is a company that generated nearly 2 billion euros in turnover, known to everyone in football and the media. An organization that had nothing to envy the best. This immense mess, that leaves very questioning. “
OM sales rumors
“At OM, we see, from time to time, disorganized gangs swooping down on us. These are the baroque coalitions of former dismissed employees, retired leaders who think that OM still belongs to them, ultra supporters excluded from the stadium, sidelined providers, local politicians in need of notoriety, frustrated former players not to have won a contract with the club. We look at it from a great distance (…) There is a quote from Clemenceau: “Don’t be afraid of having enemies; if you don’t have one, you haven’t done anything. ” Obviously, I did a lot … I regret that this story (the recovery by the Boudjellal-Ajroudi tandem) has become the soap opera of the summer, while five calls to qualified people would have made it possible to make everyone understand the extent of the deception. Bernard Tapie called me to tell me how outraged he was by these methods, with just words. ”