With a slim waist, hands clinging to crutches and a sometimes trembling voice, Philippe Boutron his first public appearancethis Wednesday, May 4, at the Domaine des Portes de Sologne, for the American Orleans end-of-season partya little over four months after his victim of an attack on the Dakar†
All the guests present will tell you the same thing: he is a happy president, happy to be among his people again, clearly stared at by the audience, which they found. As an aside, he also took the time to talk about his health, his strategy to bring the club back to Ligue 2 and a possible resale that he no longer excludes “provided you meet serious people”.
Philippe, how do you feel four months after the attack on the Dakar?
“I do a lot of rehabilitation, I am making progress. The crutches give me an autonomy I didn’t have. I was able to travel with it for about ten days. I had special permission to go out tonight (yesterday) but tomorrow I’m going back to the hospital in Clamart. I hope to be out by the end of May. I will return to the stadium, to Saint-Pryvé, om the last day of the championship against Laval†
We can imagine that your presence at the club’s end-of-season party (yesterday) is a small victory for you…
Yes, I am very, very happy to be here. This allows me to see my friends, my partners, who are essential to the future of the club.and of course my players, whom I had not seen for four months. I had to be there.
What role did football and the UPD play during your recovery?
It was a relief. Football brought me happiness in these difficult times. I watched matches in the hospital, the results were also very good, has done me a lot of good. When I saw the players with the (“Courage president”) t-shirt, my heart warmed. I have many testimonials : believe me, it speeds up recovery. I got them from all walks of life, but a lot from football. I will not forget.
Despite everything, have you ever thought of handing over during these complicated weeks for you?
my only concern, it is the sustainability of the club and that it is moving forward† When serious projects arise, I am open to anything. From the moment there are new resources and ideasI’m open. Have yet to meet serious people.
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Do you confirm that the training center (opened in 2020) will close next summer?
We have to close it. If you’re not in Ligue 2 anymore, it’s economically unsustainable. On the other hand, we asked to keep pro status, and we hope to achieve this† The advantage of keeping is that we keep our players under contract and that we are more attractive to recruit.
What will your strategy be to bring the USO back to Ligue 2 next year?
We want to leave with a smaller group and recruit senior players, confirmed, to have a framework of experience† It’s one of the keys to rising, we saw it this season with Laval† We have arguments to convince these players: our beautiful facilities, our reputation and the quality of life in Orléans†
Interview by Raphaël Coquel