Thomas Mangani, Ismaël Traoré, Romain Thomas. The transfer window has not yet officially launched as the SCO of Angers has already lost three of its historic captains. A year after the end of the Stéphane Moulin era and a few weeks before a probable takeover by an American investment fund, the SCO will launch its eighth consecutive season in Ligue 1 in a complete artistic blur.
The information has come out in bursts over the past few days, as if to underline a runaway and a change of pace in the Angevin trajectory that had been so calm and stable until then: first the departures of Thomas Mangani and Ismaël Traoré, then an interview with a another historical executive, Romain Thomas, to clarify that he was leaving on his own. And finally, the first revelations of a sale of the club to an American investment fund, pending formalization which will concretely record the change of era. A year after the departure of its emblematic coach Stéphane Moulin – and his staff – the SCO of Angers is therefore preparing to live its eighth season in a row in the elite of French football without the majority of the strong men who installed there: the coach, the sports director Olivier Pickeu, the president Saïd Chabane, and above all three locker room executives, who can still potentially be followed by two other former employees, Pierrick Capelle and Vincent Manceau, whose negotiations for an extension of contract have not yet been completed. Too tight timing put forward as the main reason by Romain Thomas in the columns of West France to justify his desire elsewhere: “What you have to understand is that we have a life, a family, people who ask us questions every day. February, March, April, May…”
Laurent Viaud: “There is a real risk of loss of identity and dynamics”
Laurent Viaud is another “former” SCO, responsible for the U17s at the training center for a decade before leaving to manage the U19s at Stade Rennes last summer. For him, trained and launched as a pro player in Angers, the announced departure of the Mangani-Traoré-Thomas trio is already a revolution: “These are the representatives of the prosperous period of the SCO, the symbol of a success, sporting and human. » In principle, he can understand that “players are not eternal, that at some point the physical dimension catches up with them, or that the need to ensure renewal is essential” . Nevertheless, he believes that the transition would have benefited from being smoother. “Between the departure of Stéphane Moulin and his staff last summer, and that of at least three historic executives at the same time, that’s a lot, there is a real risk of loss of identity and dynamics. » Because, according to Laurent Viaud, these players were not simply sportsmen, but also guarantors of a state of mind. “Simple, humble men, who were irreproachable, especially in their attitude towards the youngest players and the kids at the academy. »
The hardest part is yet to come for Gérald Baticle
Today, the former Rennes and Monaco midfielder assures us that he has ” evil ” when he reads the words of Romain Thomas on the reasons for his departure. “Preserving the spirit of a club is important, and sportingly, when we see the seasons of these players or what Hilton and Dante have done in other clubs, we can imagine that other solutions existed. . » It remains to be seen whether the big turnover in the final generation of the Coupe de France 2017 has a link with the prospective sale of the club. “Perhaps potential future buyers want to create a structure and a team in their image, this often happens in the business world, but it is risky. » Above all, when we look at what exists elsewhere in the world of football, “In Lyon or in big foreign clubs, we try to provide a good exit for the old ones, even to find them a role in the club after their career, it is a way of preserving an identity and a continuity of values. » Last summer, the enthronement of Gérald Baticle in place of the historic Stéphane Moulin appeared to be a major risk of breaking the club’s good dynamic since 2014-2015. It now looks like a mere formality compared to the coming season.
By Nicolas Jucha
Comments by Laurent Viaud collected by NJ, those by Romain Thomas taken from an interview for Ouest France
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