Opposed to PSG on Friday evening in a sold-out Gaston-Petit for the first time in 18 years, the Berrichonne saw, behind the party favors, a perilous sporting situation. This 32nd final of the Coupe de France must help rekindle a flickering flame.
01/06/2023 – 21:00
She was almost always there, in a corner, often in the peloton, sometimes a bit ahead, sometimes a bit behind. She had been able to find a rocking chair in a corner of the giant living room that is French football, pull out, here and there, a few talents from the closet, and even make a place for herself in the history books. Then silence. After a first bowl followed by an ephemeral return of four seasons in Ligue 2, she slipped again, this time without succeeding in returning, and has since disappeared from the majority of minds. But where has the Berrichonne gone? Rest assured, she is there, ready to welcome Paris Saint-Germain for a 32e of the Coupe de France final and to see Gaston-Petit close its ticket offices for the first time since the souvenir photo of a whole generation of supporters of the city.
“We really did not see this situation happen. We said to ourselves that with the same team, plus a few reinforcements, which ultimately weren’t too many, we were going to do well, but in the end, it’s a bit of a fiasco. » Patrick Trotignon, general manager of Berrichonne
In the spring of 2004, Victor Zvunka on the bench, Sébastien Roudet prince of the city from the height of his 22 years, a semi-final of another Coupe de France won against Rudi Garcia’s Dijon to challenge another PSG, in Saint -Denis: another time. The wink is beautiful, even if Michel Denisot, returned to the head of the first club of his heart at the start of 2021 and who is preparing to find the other club of his life, of which he held the reins from 1991 to 1998 , ruptured his Achilles tendon during the holidays and is expected to go to the Friday night party limping. He is also naughty: while this reunion between the Berrichonne de Châteauroux and Paris Saint-Germain should be a big party, they will above all be a parenthesis at a time when the castelroussine institution, 14e of National 1, drives in the middle of a thick fog and that one speaks in its corridors of “hot situation” . Odd.
“It’s not yet the Berezina”
At the end of the line, the general manager of the store, Patrick Trotignon, who also returned to the club at the start of 2021 after having left it in July 2008, is not hiding: “It is true that it is very bizarre. We would have liked to receive PSG without all these worries, without having the maintenance in mind. It would have allowed us to approach this match with a little more pleasure. There, despite our joy of filling our stadium, where a lot of seats haven’t seen a buttock for a long time, of having this match filled with symbols, we can’t really not think about our situation. » Here she is: fifth in National 1 last season, the Berrichonne, managed since March 2021 by the United group, also owner of Sheffield United, Beerschot, Kerala United FC and Al Hilal United FC, is today relegated and has not won a single league game since a success over Nancy (3-1) in mid-October, his most successful match of the season. After seven days, the Castelroussins had both feet on the podium and the leaders imagined the troop capable of leaving a better season than the previous one. “We really did not see this situation happen.supports Patrick Trotignon. We said to ourselves that with the same team, plus a few reinforcements, which ultimately weren’t too many, we were going to do well, but in the end, it’s a bit of a fiasco. We started to chain setbacks, glitches, and it went wrong. Behind it, football can be like rifle shooting: if you miss the target ten times in a row, you think you’re going to miss it an eleventh time. Today, confidence is leaking from the players, but I don’t want to panic. It is not yet the Berezina. »
In the entourage of the club, several arcs are now bandaged in the direction of the strategy of the United group, while the DNCG decided at the beginning of December to supervise the payroll of the Berrichonne. Questioned this week by the New RepublicMichel Denisot, who does not hide his desire to soon let go of the steering wheel, intervened: “We have the budget to play in front, except that we’re not in front… It’s true that the way the group works is totally new, that it needs to be tamed to be effective. I think we are on the right track, that there are more exchanges than before. What reassures me is also that United’s other two clubs in Europe, Sheffield United and Beerschot, are at the top of their league. This means that their method is good and that we have to adapt to it. » This method is simple: do not recruit players over 26 and rely on the few veterans (Roux, Delecroix, Grange, Fofana, Sunu, Sanganté and M’Bengue) of the workforce to make the young shoots bloom .
“We want to play a very big match, to take advantage of the opportunity. We have to maximize the chance we have, put on the intensity, have no regrets. We must use this meeting to rekindle the flame of the Berrichonne. » Julien Cordonnier, sports director of Berrichonne
“It’s very nice on paper, but it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to get out of the National with tradingblows a close friend of the club. Today, you pay certain limits of the model. The club sold Thomas Robinet, then Siriné Doucouré on the last day of the summer transfer window, and the United group refused to anticipate by going on experienced profiles like that of Fahd El Khoumisti, who was coming out of a season with 20 goals, because that he was too old. Several people at the club wanted a profile like his, but today they don’t really have a free hand on strategy. The problem is that the Berri have found themselves without any reliable scorer, are second in xG behind Concarneau, but have only the thirteenth attack in the championship. It is prohibitive to go up. » Additional hammer blow: Kévin Fortuné, sold to Orléans in the summer, is currently the second top scorer in National 1.
Dolphins, sharks and the flame
If you have to find a tipping point in this first part of the season, bag of knots, you just have to go back to a trip to Bastia-Burgo, which was walking around at the time with only one small victory on the clock, at the end of October. “We come out of the great victory against Nancy and suddenly, everything fallsexplains Patrick Trotignon. On this match, we are below everything. Absolutely all of the signals that had just turned green go back to bright red. We always say that performance is the addition of details, but here we have subtracted the details. » In Corsica, the Berrichonne is dried (2-1) and Mathieu Chabert, who has since been replaced by Maxence Flachez, destroys the locker room in anger. He will then choose to stay in Bastia for a few days rather than returning with the rest of the group to Châteauroux. “This match brought out the bad sides of this groupslips another source close to the locker room. You have a lot of good individuals, but you don’t have a team. That’s what’s at stake at the moment, but it’s difficult to motivate players without great outside pressure. There, the fear of relegation awakens the pride of the guys a little, but you don’t transform dolphins into sharks overnight. And in National 1, you need sharks. » Otherwise, you get dangerously stuck.
Since the last outing of 2022, a defeat against Sedan by Olivier Saragaglia, a man who had helped the Berrichonne out of the third division in the spring of 2017, three weeks have passed, the arrival of PSG in town has been able to be tamed , Maxence Flachez, landed as assistant during the summer to replace Karim Mokeddem, has finished making his mark in his new number one parka and half of the workforce has been able to get used to the idea of facing guys for who they vibrate every weekend. On November 13, Nama Fofana, a fan of the Parisian club like several players in the group (Basque, Bianchini, Mendy, Sanganté), took his son to the Parc des Princes to see PSG-Auxerre. “We talked a lot about the match after the draw and we had to manage the excitement, because our bread is above all the championship, even more so in our situation.adjusts the sports director castelroussin, Julien Cordonnier. Since the recovery, I feel the boys are very focused and it has to be. This match must be a great celebration for the whole club, for the city, for the people. We want to play a very big match, the objective remains to qualify, to take advantage of this opportunity. We have to maximize the chance we have, put on the intensity, have no regrets. We must use this meeting to rekindle the flame of La Berrichonne, regain color and make people want to come back with us. » If the takeover of the club almost two years ago may have engendered in some minds disproportionate dreams, seeing him find his rocking chair will require patience. Under the party favors and the wind of nostalgia, the Berrichonne, who will have 18 championship bullets left in the barrel and who cannot afford the slightest madness this winter, is in any case plunging into one of the most decisive turns in his history. Burning, they said.
By Maxime Brigand
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