“It was a bit of a darling”: PSG mourns its podiatrist Gilles Watelle

When she saw the PSG tweet evoking the disappearance of her dad Gilles Watelle, the club’s former podiatrist from 1978 to 2007, Marion could not contain her emotion. “It doesn’t seem like much, but we absolutely didn’t expect it and it made us happy for him because he gave so much to this club, confides the young woman, communications director of the Paralympic Committee. and French sportsman. It may be a sign that at some point he left an imprint. »

Marion Watelle does not believe so well. The death, at the age of 68, of his father, on December 30 and whose funeral will take place this Wednesday, at 2.30 p.m., at the church of Villennes-sur-Seine (Yvelines), has revived emotional memories in all those who have crossed paths for nearly thirty years. “It pains me a lot, breathes Luis Fernandez. Today, I’m sad to see him go, that’s all. »

“Everything went behind this club. Even his children, sometimes…”

Marion Watelle adds: “My dad had quickly lost his parents, his brothers, and it’s true that he found a second family in PSG in the 1990s and early 2000s. They were personalities he loved. a lot, whether it’s the staff or the players. I remember that with my little brother, we went on training with him and we were with the children of the players. It was a real family and he was very attached to PSG. Everything went behind this club. Even us, sometimes… But hey, he did it with passion. He was able to contribute modestly in the shadows to the performance of the players and this was the greatest reward for him. Without drawing laurels. And always in the search for the well-being of the other. »

On social networks, Jérôme Rothen hailed “a passionate person”. Former club president Michel Denisot highlighted a man who participated “greatly and discreetly in the success of the club”. Luis Fernandez makes a point of specifying: “Everyone loved him. He has always done good for everyone. If you know anyone who didn’t appreciate this man… The people who knew him all said to me: How effective is it! Besides, he didn’t play it. This discretion was really something to emphasize. He remained very humble, simple. »

Gilles Watelle has also worked with athletes and tennis players. DR

At the mere mention of the death of Gilles Watelle, the former players are moved. “He was a charming, adorable person, immediately puts Édouard Cissé. He made me feel at home at Camp des Loges very quickly from the height of my 19 years. The Prime Video consultant will never forget “his anecdotes about tennis players” and the “best advice” he has ever been given: “Your feet are your work tools, pamper them! »

This very special relationship owes as much to Gilles Watelle’s profession as to his personality. “He was a bit of a confidant, says former defender Jimmy Algerino, now a consultant for Europe 1. It is true that in the staff, there was Francis Lepage, Éric Rolland, Joël Le Hir or Dédé Lansade . But Gilles, it was quite special, because we put our feet in his hands. It was a bit of a darling because of that. When there were little problems, he always managed to come up with something to heal us. And then he was so kind. Always in a good mood. It may be banal to say that, but he was adorable. It was Gilles. »

On the phone, Marion Watelle continues: “My father is my hero. We are very proud of him because he was passionate, he liked to be in contact with athletes but also with an average patient. He was a perfectionist, but he was very humble and kind of course. He was a man in the shadows, he liked to define himself like that. »

Mayor of Poissy but also president of the Variétés Club de France, where he met Gilles Watelle every weekend, Karl Olive remembers: “Gilles, it was kindness and benevolence in the service of his professionalism. The greatest athletes have passed through its soles! From football to tennis to athletics. He worked a lot with Federer with whom he had a real bond. But no one knew. As I often say: he was a real man, Gilles Watelle, the one who put his actions in front of his words. We lose a companion of adventures, I lose a brother. »