OWe certainly feared that the end of the era of Jean-Michel Aulas, 74, at Olympique Lyonnais (OL) – thirty-seven years – would be difficult, but not actually turn into an impossible handover to new owner John. Textor. He won’t be OL at 16 eithere A place in Ligue 1 after five days without a win was sacked by coach Laurent Blanc for the fourth time.
The new management has not only begun to address the sporting crisis that has bedeviled the club for many years, but must also manage the institutional crisis caused by the conflict between the two presidents. Ousted in May, the former secured a €14.5m freeze on OL Groupe’s accounts in late August, seeking compensation for his shares in a planned sale. He also filed a defamation complaint against the new man, who accused him of concealing the club’s true financial situation.
The dispute has marred Lyon’s transfer window: the new leaders’ desire to retain the best youngsters has been compromised by their predecessor’s commitments to the National Directorate of Management Control. Thus, they had to sell Bradley Barkola (Paris Saint-Germain) and Castelo Luceba (Leipzig), after Malo Gusto moved to Chelsea in January.
Bad times are in danger
In terms of timing, Textor did no better than Aulas to part with a coach who didn’t trust him so late. Lyon supporters are capable of procrastinating the former, as well as having the power to trouble the latter. However, after the defeat against PSG on September 3, the “Ultras” of the North Bend started preaching with a megaphone to the players.
Securing a further move for Jean-Michel Aulas was a challenge barring his poor start to the ground. If OL replaces sick governance with makeshift governance, it puts itself at risk for bad times.
In any case, it moves painfully from the economic modernity long embodied by Jean-Michel Aulas to the postmodernism of timeshare clubs. John Textor is actually a majority shareholder of Botafogo (Brazil), a minority shareholder of RWD Molenbeek (Belgium) and Crystal Palace (England), which a priori ensures that OL is a bridge to this group.
Beyond the clash of cultures between the paternalistic management of the all-encompassing Aulas and the goals of the American investor, there is the question of what tomorrow should look like. So far from the continental elite he aimed for in the 2000s, without a title since 2012 and facing a fourth season without a league title, what place can he hold in French and European football?
Source: Le Monde
Jason Root is a sports aficionado and a writer at Run Down Bulletin. With a passion for athletic competition and a wealth of knowledge on all things sports, he provides in-depth coverage of the biggest games and events in the world of sports.