“If a player is interested in me, I look at everything about him … / France / Le Havre / SOFOOT.com

Your appointment as sports director at Le Havre was announced on June 20. Has it been in the pipeline for a long time, or is it all done?

It happened quickly. We started talking with Mr. Volpe in the month of May, to explain our project and the way in which we see the movement of a professional club. After that, there was a second meeting and, around June 10-15, he decided to take us to the club. I say “we”, because on my side, there is Jean-Michel Roussier (named president, Editor’s note)Mohamed El Kharraze (Assistant sports director) and Julien Momont (data analyst).

Accessing a management position, is this something that interested you even before the end of your career on the pitch?
I have been leading the Évreux club for four years. I did everything at the same time: president, sports director, general manager, CEO… It gave me a little overview of all the functions, except the coach, which did not interest me. Going to a pro club, yes, it’s a dream.

What do you like about this role in DS?

What I want is to put my ideas, my sports policy, to discuss the technical staff that we have chosen, together with the players that we have brought, to give a chance to some, to launch again the others. , create a recruitment strategy. for adults and young people… It’s a job that takes a lot of time, but it’s exciting.

“There are many resources in this club. Only, sometimes they fall asleep for various reasons. »

How do you instill a new dynamic in a club like Le Havre, endowed with a rich history, but which has suffered in Ligue 2 for thirteen years now?

Good question! (Laughter.) We try to do our ideas, trust a coach (Luka Elsner, Editor’s Note) which corresponds to my vision of football, by finding players with a certain mentality, by launching young people from the center, etc. On a daily basis, you need to show people that you are working hard, talk to each other to encourage everyone to rise. There are many resources in this club. Only, sometimes they fall asleep for various reasons.

How to sum up your first three months at HAC?
It’s very absorbing, because I haven’t had a day off yet. But this is the beginning, it’s normal! We have to get technical staff, handle hot issues in the market transfer… It’s busy, but interesting.

Mathieu Bodmer with Nicolas Douchez, the HAC goalkeeping coach.

How long have you had your foot in the transfer window, which started when you arrived?
The players that we recruit, either I have played with them before, or I know them through my network. Because of that, we avoid exaggeration. Fortunately, because we have to make quick decisions and have a competitive team when the championship continues.

“If our young players have 30 or 50 games with Le Havre and Ligue 1 clubs offer offers, it will be difficult to continue it. »

HAC is a very good training club, but it cannot keep the best young people, as we saw again this summer with Isaak Touré (19 years old, Marseille) or Saël Kumbedi (17 years old, Lyon). It must still be frustrating, right?

No, it’s just that we come up against complex contractual situations and a financial reality that is that of a Ligue 2 club. If these kids have 30 or 50 games with Le Havre and Ligue 1 clubs are making offers, it will be difficult to save. They want to leave, this is the logical next step. Now, we have the added expectation of signing aspirant or trainee contracts. We must also succeed in enrolling these young people in a project, keeping them for one or two more seasons, always making them good and, at some point, hoping to go to the Ligue 1 with them to make them stay longer.

Humanly, is it complicated to tell players who stayed for many years at the club, like Jean-Pascal Fontaine or Alexandre Bonnet, that you no longer trust them?
These are two different cases. Jean-Pascal decided to go home (in JS Saint-Pierroise, in Reunion, Ed), he called me as a courtesy to explain his choice. Alexandre would have liked to stay. It was not the will of the shareholders, so I picked up my phone and shouldered my responsibilities. It’s part of the job, we can’t just announce the good news.

Did you expect such a good start to the season?

Honestly, no. There is no particular goal or pressure, except to place a staff and build a competitive team. The results are excellent (Le Havre is in second place after four straight wins, editor’s note), which means that the players follow the way the coach and the physical trainer work. But it’s just the beginning of the championship and we still have work to do, we lack players in some positions and we will try to solve it in the coming months.

“If I want to talk about football at 11 pm, I have to find people to answer the phone, and with Luka, that’s the case. »

What is your relationship with Luka Elsner?

It’s a beautiful relationship. We met when he was in Amiens. He only stayed for a few months, but things were very good between us. So when I had the opportunity to join HAC, I chose Luka as my coach. We were very happy with the work he offered. Like his staff, he is a man who does not count his hours, who sleeps and lives in football, like me. If I want to talk football at 11 pm, I have to find people to answer the phone and with Luka, that is the case.

In your team, there is also Julien Momont who, as a journalist, is known for his tactical analyses. What does it bring you, concretely?
With him and Mohamed El Kharraze, we were three in the same office. Julien implements all my ideas. I have many of them, throughout the day, and since I am not or little able to transfer them to software or establish algorithms, he does that for me, adding his personal thoughts. It can be done in ten minutes what I could spend all day, because computers are not really my thing. So when an idea pops into my head, I say it out loud, and he knows it. This is a valuable time saver. Now, being with us allows him to understand things that eluded him before. He can learn a lot.

We know you watch a lot of sports. Is this still the case, or will you leave this mission to others?
I see more than ever! (Laughter.) It’s part of the job. If a player’s profile interests me, I have to watch all his matches, sometimes in divisions that I follow little or nothing. Before, I never had time. Now, I do it a little more.

For example, have you found yourself in front of matches that cannot be divided, recently?
(Laughter.) I’m watching games in Libya!

“My activity as a consultant allows me to contact club managers and other staff on weekends. At the end of the transfer window, it became very useful for closing 2-3 files. »

At the same time, you are still working as a consultant for Prime Video. Isn’t it too complicated to do these two activities at the same time?

For my family it is more difficult! There were many trips, trips, but I stayed in constant contact with Le Havre, thanks to my laptop and my phone. Additionally, this event allowed me to connect with club leaders and other staff over the weekend. At the end of the transfer window, it becomes very useful for closing 2-3 files.

Do you mean that you take advantage of these trips for Prime to launch or continue negotiations with other clubs?
Definitely. I find the players, I talk to DS, presidents, coaches… I can get information about such and such a player, know his contractual status, know how much estimated price of his sale, if a loan is possible, or even if there are players from our region who may be interested in the club in question in the future. In short, we can start building links. And then, the result is that I really like being a consultant.

You started your professional career in Caen. Are others angry with you for taking on responsibilities within a rival club?
Nothing at all. I was trained in Caen, Caen launched me in D2, but twenty years ago.

Besides, one of your sons (Mathéo) is in Le Havre and the other (Timéo) is in Caen, so from this point of view, there is no jealousy…
Absolutely. Plus, with the youngsters like the pros, HAC wins the derby!

Interview with Raphaël Brosse

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