• Dropped in Ligue 1, in 12th place, OL play a key match of their season, Sunday (1 p.m.) in Lille.

  • The contrary events having been seriously linked, in recent weeks in Lyon,

    20 Minutes

    is looking into the responsibility of Jean-Michel Aulas.

  • If the Lyon president is perceived as "a visionary" for the structural development of his club, his sports policy is facing criticism, after 10 years without a trophy won.

On April 28 and May 4, OL will be celebrating two milestone anniversaries. Namely the 10 years of his Coupe de France 2012, the last trophy won by the club, then the 20 years of his first coronation of champion of France in a Gerland in fusion. This symbolic sequence returns the Lyon supporters to a tenacious sinistrosis, exacerbated for a week by the end of the Juninho adventure as sports director and by a 12th place in Ligue 1. Before a new turning point for the band at Anthony Lopes, Sunday in Lille (1 p.m.),

20 Minutes

examines the responsibility of Jean-Michel Aulas in this sporting scarcity that lasts.

With an underlying question: is he personally much less inspired in his strategic choices than 15 or 20 years ago?

For Anthony (34), a long-time OL subscriber, there is little doubt: “The organization chart he has put in place has no clear guidelines.

It was obvious that in appointing Vincent Ponsot director of football after Juninho arrived as sports director, there were going to be conflicts.

And then the time when Bernard Lacombe could go alone to the Netherlands to spot a "Djila" Diarra is over.

Today, you are out of the game at the level of your recruiting unit if you do not increase your number of scouts like all the clubs do.

"

"The coaches pass and the results remain on alternating current"

An “aging” sports structure (with now only one operational recruiter pending the arrival of Alain Caveglia) who would have contributed to pushing Juninho, who arrived in May 2019 with “all the sports powers” ​​(dixit JMA). "But did 'Juni' do everything right? Asks his former partner Nicolas Puydebois. It went badly with everyone he came to work with at the club. It is also in my opinion because he did not fit into the costume of sports director that Jean-Michel Aulas returned to the front of the stage. "

The ex-lining of Grégory Coupet, now a consultant for Olympique and Lyonnais, does not point first to the president of OL in this possible third season without qualification in the Champions League: "The first responsible remain the players, that I see like spoiled children.

More than a sports career, they come to Lyon for a financial career.

We can see their difficulties to get out of their comfort zone and perform high pressing as Peter Bosz wants to put in place.

In the 2000s, we used to do two training sessions a day and it never killed us.

At OL, some have been there for 4 or 5 years, the coaches pass and the results remain on alternating current ”.

"He is necessarily out of step with the current generations"

In office for almost 35 years, President Aulas would not have succeeded in thwarting this finding of a failing institution in the face of its professional workforce? "The mentality of the players at the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s stuck much more to the personality of the president than what we can see today," continues Nicolas Puydebois. Even if he is a visionary, he is necessarily out of step with the current generations of players and spectators, who are between 30 and 50 years younger than him. And then it's still not easy to renew on such a long lease. "

Former Lyon side from 2000 to 2003, Jean-Marc Chanelet, who was recently surveyed to join the OL recruiting unit, goes in the same direction: “Jean-Michel Aulas has always been able to take the lead for good develop your club, step by step.

But it's never easy to synchronize a successful team with a period of investment to have its own stadium and then the construction of an OL Land all around.

And there, there is a more complicated phase ”.

Guingamp, ASSE and Strasbourg titled for 10 years, not OL

A phase of 10 years of scarcity too often summarized as being entirely overflown by the PSG version QSI. Montpellier, Monaco and Lille have all been able to be champions, and Bordeaux, Guingamp, ASSE, Strasbourg and Rennes have been able to enrich their trophy cabinet with a national cup. During this period, JMA notably bet for three and a half years (from January 2016 to May 2019) on the Maurice-Genesio tandem, currently very successful at Stade Rennais.

On April 3, 2019, Bruno Genesio's 2-year contract extension was almost complete, before the surprise elimination in the Coupe de France halfway against Rennes (2-3) led to a lunar press conference, in which Aulas retracted and crashed his coach.

To see the sports project of the second budget of Ligue 1 change because of a goal from Ramy Bensebaini (embellished with a "Genesio resignation" chanted in the turns), from an extension of Genesio to an inexperienced Brazilian ticket Juninho-Sylvinho , we understand that Aulas has not always had a well-defined vision for his club in recent years.

"It is after all he who built this club"

Tackling such an icon, which led OL in the 2nd division to seven French league titles (from 2002 to 2008), remains very difficult for any Lyon supporter. “We didn't always say amen to everyone concerning him,” notes Richard, a regular at the south turn. Self-righteousness and the culture of permanent excuse are also Aulas. And then when you proclaim yourself the second French club, when sportingly you are no longer, it tenses your supporters. “Since the septuplet, Lyon has only finished second three times (2010, 2015 and 2016).

Often with a lot of sporting inconsistencies, such as the chronic absence of winger in a professional workforce of 24 players, while from 2018 to 2020, no less than three right-backs were in competition (Dubois, Rafael and Tete). On recurring criticisms about possible intrusions into the athlete, the former coach of the Lyon women's team (from 2017 to 2019) Reynald Pedros is keen to take his defense.

He may sometimes say the opposite, he knows football.

He offered me many interesting sports ideas, such as the use of new technologies to improve training.

Some are surprised that he gives advice to his coaches, but it is still he who built this club.

I was in constant contact with him.

He always respected my sporting choices, without the slightest reproach, even when I was not fielding American players for example.

It was precious to listen to his advice on a daily basis.

"

"It's as if football has become a pretext"

However, whether it is for the premature end of the championship in 2019-2020 with the Covid-19, or more recently his management of the after-quack of the bottle throwing on Dimitri Payet, his positions are still so divisive, or even misunderstood. "Until this OL-OM episode, where he was able to say everything and its opposite hot, his com 'was more calm, softer, and he became audible again", notes Nicolas Puydebois, victim three years ago of an attack on his physique from the twitto sniper JMA. But much more than its sometimes hardly mastered communication, it is the diversification pushed to the extreme of OL Groupe which exasperates the turns.

At the end of the 2000s, a banner “OL Pizza, OL Coiffure, OL Conduite, when will OL Football? Had been taken out at Gerland. Since the move to Décines' “formidable tool” in January 2016, this trend has exploded: merger with Tony Parker's Asvel, takeover of the women's football franchise in the United States Reign FC, concerts by Coldplay, Rihanna, Céline Dion and Ed Sheeran at Parc OL, Felyn festival finally weighed down by the Covid-19, OL Vallée and All in academy de tennis. Likewise, EBITDA is part of the everyday language of every Lyon supporter. Nicolas Puydebois deciphers this trend.

In the early 2000s, the president was already thinking of developing an OL franchise.

But his supreme objective was to become champion of France.

The athlete helped build this OL institution, but now the mercantile part, the entertainment, this "OL Disney" side sometimes seem to have taken over.

It is as if football has become a pretext to launch other projects.

Ultimately, these revenues will perhaps allow the club to become competitive again.

But for now, all the money invested is not going to the sports pole.

"

Towards a passing of the baton at 75?

A strategy that has just pushed a historic recruiter recognized as Patrice Girard to join Angers, where he will receive a better salary. Another bad signal likely to worry the supporters. “There is a risk of vegetating in Ligue 1 and management is eager to build an Arena for Asvel, sighs Anthony. JMA should have reinvented itself, or else abandoned the athlete. Personally, I no longer hope for anything from him from a sporting point of view. "

Aged 72, the person is approaching the 75-year mark he had set in April 2020 in

L'Equipe

, to hand over, with a sweet dream of winning a European Cup with the boys in the same timing.

We can imagine him lifting an 8th Champions League alongside his women's team, before installing Tony Parker in his office.

"Deep down, I think that apart from a case of force majeure, he will die president of OL, as Louis Nicollin did," said Nicolas Puydebois.

And like all great builders, his work will be recognized above all after the fact… ”

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