Almost guaranteed to move into Ligue 2 on Saturday night on the 37th day of Ligue 1 after a draw in Lorient (0-0), the Girondins experienced the worst sporting season in their history on the ground. A year marked by twists and decisions that should send the club to L2 for the first time in 30 years. RMC Sport describes the reasons for the sports disaster in Bordeaux.
The transfer window fiasco
On the pitch in Angers in the final deciding game in hopes of staying in Ligue 1, only Benoit Costil has emerged as a survivor from previous seasons. Arriving in July, sports director Admar Lopes and his chairman Gérard Lopez made the choice to rebuild a questionable workforce. And Bordeaux has given itself the means to source players despite a difficult financial context.
Last summer, Bordeaux was the 11th biggest spender in France in the transfer market (8.5 million). The only real satisfaction is undoubtedly Alberth Elis. The Honduran striker (9 goals in 20 L1 matches) was injured and missed the entire season. A felt absence and probably no stranger to the club’s miserable second half of the season. The ensuing recruitment is a major failure. While Junior Onana had got off to a good start and internally we hoped to make a big capital gain on him at the end of the season selling him for between €15 and €20 million, he was almost never able to complete a full game. to play.
The fullbacks are the big flop this season. On the right, Timothée Pembélé was still too young to hold the post alone. On the left, Ricardo Mangas and Gideon Mensah chained mediocre performances. One of the worst signings of the year in Ligue 1 is called Fransergio, yet recruited as the future boss of the Bordeaux midfielder. The former Bordeaux captain has never adapted. He even disappeared during the second half of the season with David Guion before coming out of the hat against Angers with another very disappointing performance. The Girondins have invested 6.5 million in the Brazilian. A fiasco. The bet on Mbaye Niang, although successful in April, was inconclusive. Despite his talent, Dutch international Javairo Dilrosun will never have really weighed in for his new club.
Admar Lopes will not have managed to change the situation this winter. The arrival of Josuha Guilavogui and Marcelo are the main symbols of this. The former Lyonnais never made up for Koscielny’s departure and had a string of bad games. His lack of speed and his difficulties in restarting punished the club. Despite his undeniable desire to contribute, captain Guilavogui, installed by David Guion, disappointed in midfield and central defence. Even the impeccable Anel Ahmedhodzic eventually lost ground. Evidence of a team adrift. More than performance on the field, recent days have challenged the attitudes of several players recruited this season.
Fired executives who were sorely missed
It was the big project of the new management: lowering the wage bill. Last summer many players left free. This winter Admar Lopes wanted to separate from two key players in the locker room. Salaries too high, attitudes that were no longer appealing internally. The sportsman’s boss was quick to tell Laurent Koscielny that he was no longer counting on him. The blow is hard to handle for the captain of the Girondins, who has a conversion clause at the club. An agreement is reached in January, Koscielny becomes ambassador of Bordeaux. In the locker room, the suddenness of this decision and the way it was done shocked several players, especially the old one. Although the relationship between the French international and the staff (especially the youngest) was not always clear, he embodied professionalism and rigor within the pro group.
Another departure, less well-known but capital for the atmosphere of the group, weighed in. Otavio’s. The Brazilian midfielder had become a lover of the city. He played 127 games with the Girondins in four and a half seasons. “He was a solar player, even when the defeats were linked, says a witness from the dressing room. He always smiled to set the mood, got along with everyone. A real pillar of support for the South Americans too. His departure did a lot pain.” The club rented him this winter with a purchase option to Atletico Mineiro. A departure is never compensated.
Another part of the evicted locker room, central defender Paul Baysse. In January, the club informed him that he has been eliminated from the professional group and must train with the reserve. He is accused of being the “mole” of the locker room that management is looking for. Baysse’s behavior with the reserve remains impeccable. After a collective momentum from the players of the group, the former Niçois was reinstated in the professional group two months later. His attitude is praised by all. However, he didn’t get a chance on the field.
The catastrophic balances of coaches who didn’t hold all the cards
The huge failure of the new management will have been to entrust the team this summer to Vladimir Petkovic, the former coach of Switzerland. Known for his composure and interpersonal skills in all his professional experiences, Petkovic never managed to adapt to the Bordeaux environment without ever disrupting his training methods and tried to shake up his group until his departure in early February. “He never intervened during the sessions, trust a source close to the pro group. It was his style, but at no point, when we started to sink, he was in reaction and we kept getting bogged down.”
However, Petkovic is not solely responsible for the sporting failure of the start of the season. Physical trainer Antonio Calado is a choice of Admar Lopes. He has been no stranger to Ligue 1 since supporting Miguel Cardozo for three months in Nantes in 2019. The new player’s performance manager bets on intensity during the sessions, but many don’t consider him “not up to the mark”. His management of the Covid’s many returns before the historic defeat to Marseille (January 7) has been singled out. Although the players remained in isolation for a long period of time, no specific work was done until the players were reintroduced into training. A lack of “cash” and in race volumes that has been felt since the start of the season. The situation between Calado and Petkovic was also tense several times, according to several sources.
Another case that caused a stir internally was the goalkeeper coach who supported Benoit Costil and Gaëtan Poussin. However, the club’s former management wanted to separate from Vitor Pereira because of “incapacity for work”. A dismissal procedure had even been started. The Portuguese coach is suffering from a knee injury that “prevented him from touching the bar from 16m50 on,” we are told. The current sports management has chosen to maintain it with the pros. The relationship with number one goalkeeper Benoit Costil remained very fresh until the end of their partnership. It was Costil who campaigned to bring Grégory Coupet to the Girondins this winter as he trained separately with an individual coach to increase work doses, which were too low at Pereira.
David Guion arrived on February 17, without an assistant, to take over from Vladimir Petkovic. The former technician from Reims wanted to quickly put his foot down with this team and relied on André Monteiro and Jaroslav Plasil to take the pulse of his group. With 61.54% defeats since his arrival on the Bordeaux bench (just 1 win in 13 games, only 8 points scored), he is doing even worse than Petkovic. “The players are exhausted, a source told RMC Sport. Adli, Oudin, Kwateng and Costil are exhausted. Guion has tried to put his principles into practice, but the players are focused on their personal cases and are not very receptive to what” he proposes.”
Plasil trying to change things up by activating various levers went unheard of all season. The two coaches encountered the constant presence of sports director Admar Lopes when choosing the players who were lined up this weekend. According to our information, Lopes has been regularly involved in Girondins’ team compositions since the start of the season. Paul Baysse, who rejoined the pro group a few weeks ago, never had a chance because management didn’t want to see him on the pitch.
A night out, the starting point of the Covid epidemic
This episode marked the beginning of the club’s descent into hell. On December 12, the Girondins won at Troyes in an important game for the remainder of the season. The Bordelais had met for a few days in Clairefontaine to do an internship in preparation for this meeting. In the days leading up to the game, the players go to a nightclub. Starting point of the cluster. Ten days later, 21 players tested positive. The leaders then tried to postpone the race in the Coupe de France that was scheduled for Brest. Without success.
Bordeaux is clinging to hopes of seeing its meeting with Marseille in Matmut Atlantique shifted. A capital match for the club that hadn’t lost at home to OM for 42 years. Finally, the game is played. It is January 7, the Girondins lose 1-0 at home in a stadium behind closed doors, the management team decides not to welcome supporters for this meeting. Since then, Bordeaux has won just two of their 16 Ligue 1 matches played.
The racism affair has left its mark on the group
Certainly the period that best shows the catastrophic season of the Girondins. The Ultramarines, Girondin’s main group of supporters, accused Benoit Costil and Laurent Koscielny of being the perpetrators of racist acts within the club. The mutual duel between the international goalkeeper and Ultras spokesman Florian Brunet during halftime in the match against Montpellier on March 20 left its mark. Since then, the evidence has never been released by supporters. The internal investigation opened by the club has not yet been followed up. Management has still not commented on this event, except through a press release.
The consequences were significant for the profession. Benoit Costil the first. The former Rennais has been “traumatized” since this episode and has never recovered mentally. After being sidelined because management announced to the Ultramarines that he would no longer wear the Bordeaux jersey, Costil made his comeback in goal in Nantes on April 24 (5-3 defeat). His replacement Gaetan Poussin has been heavily criticized for his performance and Benoit Costil has not been decisive since his return.
The case of racism has also left its mark in the group. Some players didn’t really show up to defend Costil and Koscielny. While there’s no major rift in the workforce or clans between the players, some tensions are palpable. The group has been bruised for weeks and the lack of reaction following Sunday’s defeat to Angers in a crucial game proves it. According to our information, no speech was given. The players returned to Bordeaux in dead silence, exhausted by a more than difficult season.