Nancy, a relegation to the National punishing a sporting fiasco

If you look for trouble, you will find it AS Nancy-Lorraine (ASNL) motto has never seemed so firmly anchored in the reality of recent seasons that the club has experienced. Since its descent to the second tier in 2017, the institution has often come close to relegation, with several maintenance in extremis.

This year, the current Ligue 2 red lantern does not have the means to survive. Unlike Quevilly-Rouen on April 22, Nancy had to win to keep hopes of maintenance, but the rescue ended in a shipwreck. First on the field (three goals against), then in the stands, from where the smoke bombs that stopped the match, from the 40and minute play.

The ASNL should move to the third national level in 2022-2023 – it will be officially established on May 4 – a first since its foundation in 1967. However, the thistle training is thought to have found its second wind at the end of 2020, with the acquisition of the club, owned by Jacques Rousselot since 1994, by a Chinese-American consortium.

An organization in crisis

Gauthier Ganaye, appointed ASNL president, parallels the same position at the Ostend club, in Belgium, another training run by the group, with Barnsley, in England. A concentration that should create synergies between the teams, but which so far has not borne fruit, neither in Nancy, nor with its Belgian or English counterparts. Barnsley finished in last place and will play in the English Third Division next year, while Ostend finished their season in 12and square.

Winner of the 1978 Coupe de France under the tunic of Nancy, Olivier Rouyer laments the lack of vision of the new shareholders, who nevertheless hoped for a rapid rise of the elite. “How do you motivate guys who are almost all on loan or at the end of their contracts? People who aren’t really involved in the Lorraine mentality, and who certainly have agents who say they have to be careful not to get injured with a view to next season. It was inevitable.” analyzes the former tricolor international (17 selections).

With a low-cost transfer window based on loans and free transfers, the waltz of tickets has given way to that of coaches. In the year and a half since the takeover, four technicians have been on the bench in Nancy.

Demanded from all sides, Jacques Rousselot was silently walled off, before finally returning to the situation of his former baby. “We all thought the new management would breathe new life into ASNL financially. Also on a human level there has been a catastrophic approach for several months. There is no more perspective, no more common project.” he said in the columns of The Republican East

“There is no one to steer the ship”

It is indeed difficult for the 114 employees to understand who is at the helm in Nancy. Until recently, the club had three directors: Paul Fischer (sports department), Pascal Rivière (accounting) and Romain Terrible (marketing and sales), who left his post in February without answering. As for Gauthier Ganaye, many in the club lament the absence of the 30-year-old, who is rare in offices.

President of the supporters group “ASNL fans connexion”, Jean-Michel Gonçalves, believes this lack of hierarchy played a big part in the results of the season. “No one runs the club, there is no leader above the coach or above the staff, left to their own devices. Decisions are made at the last minute. There is no one to steer the ship, that is missing all season.” he develops.

Also read: AS Nancy-Lorraine no longer knows how to win but takes no offense

Whoever is also a member of the “Socios Nancy” will not fail to scratch Jacques Rousselot. “He was the one who put the directors in their place. He didn’t surround himself with the right people. Paul Fischer is my friend for life. Treasurer Rivière was someone you could trust and Romain Terrible was his ex-son-in-law. If drivers do have driver salaries, but don’t do their job, that’s worrying.” he believes.

Training to get back to Ligue 2

If the institutional crisis suggests a degree of instability, the consortium should continue to exist, and it is not the crowdfunding launched by the supporters to attract potential buyers that should stagger the current workforce. However, the need to reduce the wage bill could lead to the departure of certain chiefs. In a 2022-2023 season of National where the first two clubs rise and the last six disappear – federal championship reform mandated – man’s choice will prevail.

“I hope they realize it’s a reconstruction. And you can’t rebuild without leaving the local network. We should not stubbornly leave with people from outside the home of Lorraine, be it at the level of future players or in the choice of direction,” warns Olivier Rouyer. That’s not how shareholders hear it, those who have just appointed German Max Kothny and Indian Vikram Sud as President Ganaye’s relays.

With limited resources (six players still under contract, if we exclude loans), the sporting rescue could go through training. Despite the poor results of the first team, ASNL occupies tenth place in French training centers in 2021. “We have been told that there has been a generational void since 2016, but that is not true. A youngster from the reserve – Thanawat Suengchitthawon – is having a blast with the pledges [moins de 23 ans] van Leicester and Hakim Ghenouche was voted Austria’s best left back. We had these young people in the center and we didn’t hire them as professionals, I don’t know why.” tease Jean-Michel Goncalves.

Cast errors should not be reproduced if Nancy plans to rejoin Ligue 2 by the summer of 2023.

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