Will Triaud build or destroy Bordeaux?

Is Jean-Louis Triaud a bad businessman, or just cheap?

During the last six or so months, one has to wonder if Bordeaux is serious about being contenders in Ligue 1 in the near future. The situation that is currently happening at Bordeaux reminds me of my favorite ice hockey team here in the United States, the Chicago Blackhawks. So, before I go any further, let me explain this analogy to my European and non-NHL following readers.

The Chicago Blackhawks between 1973 (the year I was born) and 2006 were horrible. The Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup in 1961 and didn’t win it again until this year. What happened between now and then which lead the Blackhawks to their Stanley Cup winning season in 2010?

Yes, the old owner died.

During the 70s, 80s, 90s and the most of the 2000s, the Blackhawks were owned by a man named Bill Wirtz. Wirtz was notoriously known as one of the cheapest owners in the NHL. With the exception of the early 1990s, Wirtz thrived on bringing in players that were past their primes. This lead to the Blackhawks having a horrible team for years. The only thing Wirtz strived for was 1. selling merchandise (the Blackhawks have the highest selling merchandise in NHL history) and 2. getting enough people in the seats. All Wirtz cared about was the he was “in the black” and making money and not necessarily having a good team. In fact, ESPN called the Blackhawks the worse franchise in all of sports.

But then Wirtz died. When this happened, his son Rocky promised the Chicago fans a competitive team and a Stanley Cup. Not only did Rocky provide that, but the Blackhawks have sold out every game since last year, season ticket requests have gone through the roof and merchandise selling is even hotter than before.

And with Bordeaux, I am kind of wondering if Jean-Louis Triaud is turning into the next Bill Wirtz.

It all started last summer when Bordeaux had the chance to sell Marouane Chamakh for a decent price to an EPL team, most notably Arsenal. Chamakh even said in the press that he wanted to go to the EPL and he would not be at Bordeaux the following season. But Triaud had some “pie in the sky” idea that he could convince Chamakh to stay. Well, he was wrong, and Chamakh left Bordeaux without the team making a dime off the deal.

Following the departure of Chamakh, every Ligue 1 expert realized that Bordeaux needed a World Class striker to replace Chamakh. And what was Triaud’s answer? Anthony Modeste and Moussa Maazou. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are decent, solid players. But they are nowhere near the caliber of player that Chamakh was, not even close. During the summer, Triaud could have secured the services of Kevin Gameiro, David Trezeguet or a number of high-quality strikers that were (and still are) available. Yet, Modest and Maazou was Bordeaux’s answer. Was his decision made so that the team could get decent players for cheap and “making a profit (the Bill Wirtz way)” as opposed to “building a winning team (the Rocky Wirtz way)?”

And finally, with Bordeaux failing to qualify for any European Championship, it was only a matter of time until Yoann Gourcuff found his way out of the club.

Bordeaux is at a very important part of its history, and Jean-Louis Triaud is the man who will either build that history or destroy it.

First, Bordeaux really does need to get that star striker. After the money that they secured from the Gourcuff deal, they easily have enough money to spend on a really talented striker.  Even before the sale of Gourcuff, Bordeaux wasn’t considered a financially troubled team by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, it is extremely important for Bordeaux to find an offensive leader.

Second, they should add some depth to their team. While Bordeaux has a good team on the surface, how would they deal with the loss of a Plasil, Tremoulinas, Ciani and other key players. They have already dealt with some major losses already. Therefore, they need to really build some depth. Even if they buy a top player like Gameiro, they should have more than enough money to get extra midfielders and defenders.

Third, they must qualify for at least the Europa League. If they miss a second year of European competition, Plasil, Tremoulinas, Planus, Chalme and Carrasso could easily go the way of Yoann Gourcuff. They are already out of the League Cup, and the could possibly win the French Cup (but so can a ton of teams right now). But if they don’t have a solid Ligue 1 finish, there might be a mass exodus out of Bordeaux.

The question for Jean-Louis Triaud right now is if he is going to be Bill or Rocky. Of course, the fans want to see a Rocky. But Triaud might just be satisfied just having an average team that can still fill the seats and sell the merchandise. Also, as long as there are 20 teams in Ligue 1, Triaud would rarely have to worry about Bordeaux being relegated.

But still, it could happen. Storied programs like Nantes, Reims and Strasbourg have fallen from the top French league. Even Paris St.-Germain were in danger of being demoted to Ligue 2 a few years ago. Most of these relegations happened because of useless owners. And if Triaud is a useless chairman, then Bordeaux could, within three years, be destined for Ligue 2.

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11 Responses

  1. One major point is that JLT is not the owner of Girondins. French tv channel M6 is and has already said there was no money for the summer transfert window.

    Chamakh left for nothing because Marouane didn’t want to sign some kind of a false extension deal to give an opportunity for Bordeaux to receive some money. Bordeaux was offering him the same salary as the one he has now in Arsenal with a release fee around 6M€. He didn’t want to sign it. One player did this in France : Jimmy Briand for Rennes. He extended is contract in january only to thank is club by adding a release fee. I have to mention that Cavenaghi did a similar thing : whereas his contract was ending in June 2011, he extended it to had a 3.5M€ release fee to it. If Mallorca wants him at the end of the loan, they’ll have to pay.

    You mention Gameiro and Trezeguet. David’s salary can not be assumed by Bordeaux and Gameiro release fee has been fixed to 15M€ by his president. Since he did so, you can see that no one has made an offer.

    To come back to Triaud and M6 (you can’t separate both). One thing is for sure : since 2003, they don’t want to invest money in Girondins. They did it with Blanc and we sow the result : the coach left when things were starting to be wrong, and major players did the same (thank you Gourcuff for leaving the club 3 days before the end of transfert window). As a Girondin fan, I don’t like them. But I have to be honest and say that for now, giving what happened this year, I would do the same.

    To conclude : Bordeaux won’t go to Ligue 2. We are not worried about it. For sure we missed a real occasion to start a winning cycle. This won’t come back ’til a long time.

    • See, with M6, JLT and everyone involved with the management of the team, I just see another FC Nantes happening. I see M6 like another Dassault Group, that will do nothing to improve the club whatsoever.

      I was going to write my article about the similarities between Nantes and Bordeaux, but took this approach instead. Still, I think that M6 has the money, but like you said they don’t want to spend it.

      I don’t think they will go down to Ligue 2 because there are enough teams like Arles to be relegated. But, in 2003, if you were to tell me that a team like Nantes, with Toulalan, Landreau, Cetto, Armand, Vahirau and Da Rocha would have been relegated three years later, I would say that you are crazy. So anything is quite possible.

    • Nico, just a few points because it seems to me that you do follow closely.

      From the beginning M6 has always stated that they are not a bank, not that they did not have any money. They (Nicolas de Tavernost) also stated that the club does have a deficit of 15 to 20 million euros because of the non-qualification of the Champions League (stated late June). But also keep in mind that the club made a 8ME bid (and Bellion) for Loic Remy (10ME according to reports from L’Equipe and FF). So what is clear here is that before the of Gourcufff M6 was willing to cover a deficit and spend 8ME. That is anywhere from 23 to 28ME.

      As for Chamakh, the whole affair was miss managed by Triaud. Two years before his contract was expired he asked for an extension and Triaud refused! If a player is running on his last two years of his contract there are a few things that Triaud must be prepared for: 1, Offers from other clubs; 2, to let the player go on his final year of his contract for less than his entail value, and 3, have an adequate replacement prepared for his departure. Triaud was not prepared for any of these which is clear. On the final year of a players contract it’s too risky to try to start contract negotiations because chances are the player has already got offers from big clubs, namely Arsenal. Triaud refused to sell, which in my opinion he was right to do, but he again failed in every respects to prepare an adequate replacement. I don’t think anyone in their right mind can hold this against Chamakh, but rather, Triaud’s mismanagement.

      The fact that Bordeaux did not make an official bid for either of these players is astonishing. There were absolutely no bids for Gameiro, whatsoever, and Trezeguet does have a high salary (which is about 5ME – 1.5 million more than what we spent for Modeste), but the fact that he is a RELIABLE goal scorer should be enough for M6 to spend a little more to ensure UCL qualifications. Remember, we knew that Loic Remy’s asking price was also 15ME, but we still made an offer and were in the running next to West Ham. Gameiro’s actually wanted to leave and made it known in the media several time. The money for the sale of Gourcuff should have went into purchasing him. The means should justify the ends ,and as it is, Champions League and Maazou and Modeste do not go hand in hand. Maybe Europa League.

      Actually. Nico, you can separate the two; Triaud is a puppet, he’s a part-time president that manages the daily affairs of the club and speaks in the media often to earn a high image. I actually doubt that Triaud would have sold him. de Tavernost said himself he personally stepped in and pushed the sale of Gourcuff, and he was the one who advertised is sale the whole summer through. So we see that Triaud has a smaller role in the club…

      • What you say about M6 is true since the death of Jean Drucker and I agree with it.

        For sure we all know in Bordeaux that Triaud is a puppet. That’s also why he should’nt be the only one to be blame. M6 should.

        About Chamakh, the guy knows how we operate in Bordeaux. Except during Blanc’s era, we never discuss about contracts before the last year of it. The point is that Arsenal would have never paid for Marouane. They never made an offert to attract him and were too happy to see the player coming there for free on his own willing.

        Bordeaux has made offers for Gameiro this summer. But Lorient wanted too much (even Lyon tried). We also tried Remy (long time before OM), the player asked his club to facilitate his transfert to Bordeaux. There were rumors also for Tomas Necid. For all these guyz, we needed money and M6 told that this could only come from Gourcuff transfert. (the “we are not a bank” argument)

        The problem is that Gourcuff has wait until the end of transfert window to take a decision. Then we were stuck.

        We are quiet far from Nantes at least in our gestion : we never had almost 40 pros and didn’t kill our young development as Kita did in Nantes.

  2. Interesting points raised, as a regular in the Virage Sud though I’d dispute that Modeste & Maazou are decent players….their first touch is appalling.

    The ideal striker signing for them would be Robbie Keane of Spurs. He’s going to leave and would be a revelation in French football as well as a leader on the pitch.

    If Clive Allen could come to Bordeaux why not Robbie Keane?

    • Yeah, well I said that Modeste and Maazou were decent just to be nice 🙂

      • Don’t be nice to Maazou… If I was at the stadium on Sundays I would boo like a madman.

    • Wow, Clive Allan! That’s 1989 — I didn’t know he played for Bordeaux back then! The 1989 team was considered one of the top 20 teams in Europe at the time and the best in France for the past 4 years. Also the salaries in England weren’t as high as they are now. We don’t even look at the English market anymore.

      I would like someone like Fernando Llorente who would really assume a presence similar to Morientes in his earlier days, or Ciro from Sport club do Recife who’s like a Gameiro/Villa type player.

      Anyway, Modeste is good, he has some real potential, but I’m afraid he’ll never become a real goal scorer; he’s too clumsy; he’s not an immediate solution, but in time he could become something special. Maazou has to go! He’s probably the worst player to play at the club in the past 10 years!

  3. Destroy, whether it’s the fault of Triaud or M6.

    Not wanting to spend the money doesn’t excuse stupid, financially-damaging decisions. Selling Chamakh so they can keep Gourcuff would’ve been the sensible decision. They didn’t need to spend money to do that. It’s hardly surprising that the remaining players have lost heart, seeing as how the heart of the team has been ripped out.

    Shooting yourself in the foot so you have to sell the best & most marketable French player is suicide. Blanc must be soooo happy he got out just in time.

  4. M6 will have to spend 100m on the new stadium, so it’s highly unlikely they are going to invest into the squad. Nicolas de Tavernost has said after Gourcuff departure that he was going to be more involved in the club’s deals in the future, showing that he doesn’t believe in JLT’s managerial abilities either, but he won’t spend. Bordeaux’ problem at the moment is more to keep our best players than buying some new ones. Gameiro + a bunch of midfielders and defenders? That’s a dream that never going to happen. Tigana considers a 4m Ben Khalfallah deal as an expensive and overpriced. We just have to face the reality that until the new stadium is built, we’ll have to deal with the situation by the means we already have (+ cheap deals like Modeste and BKF), since M6 is not going anywhere anytime soon.

    • At market value Ben K is only worth 2 ME at most, but because he was purchased in the last 8 days of the transfer market his price sored Nothing that you can really do about it.

      I personally think any business owner like M6 rather be in the UCL while paying off a huge debt than playing in mid-table and having to pay off that kind of debt. It’s their choice of they want to invest. The means has to justify the ends.

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