Three days after Jean-Michel Aulas and John Textor’s press conference, Olympique-et-Lyonnais gave the floor to several Lyon supporters about the American’s arrival. If a majority of them are reserved and expect to see more, the maintenance of the current president for at least 3 years tends to reassure.
Following the speech of John Textoralong with Jean Michel Aulason Tuesday, we posted on the Twitter account ofOlympique and Lyonnais a survey. The purpose of this was to question Rhone supporters about the statements of the American entrepreneur. As a result, the most popular answer was “yes but I have my doubts” at 46.5%, followed by a “yes” at 34.9%.
– Olympic-and-Lyonnais (@oetl) June 21, 2022
These more than 2500 opinions stick quite well with the opinion of the fans that we then questioned. Overall, the latter were reassured by Textor’s speech, but they are now waiting for action. “I am on the reserve for the moment, we slip Ed22, Gone exiled for a time in Argentina before returning to Lyon. I am aware that this is probably the turning point in my life as an OL supporter […] I am happy to see the arrival of a shareholder who appears to be active, interested in football and who wishes, according to his words, to bring Olympique Lyonnais to the top. I had big fears about the method of buying the club, especially if it were to be bought with an LBO, which could have put the club in debt and put its balance in danger. Apparently, Textor arrives with two big American fortunes at his side and will not resort to this process. The conference therefore reassured me on this point. We will take stock in a few years. He was convincing, but we know that speeches and actions are sometimes very far apart.
Mathys (18 years old and supporter since 2011) and David Gonneaud (34 years old and fan for more than two decades) also shares this opinion. “Since the presentation, I have wondered about the character and his business. I concluded that fortunately Jamie Salter is there because otherwise there was a risk of ending up like clubs like Bordeaux, Nancy, Bastia etc.says the youngest. But from a more human point of view, I find that the character John Textor is a kind of Frank McCourt but more passionate. He delegates while keeping an eye on the club thanks in particular to the social networks he uses regularly, like Jean Michel Aulas. So an endearing character but like all investors, to be wary of.”
David Gonneaud continues. “Compared to the press release and the conference, Textor is a very good communicator. He targeted everything the supporters expected (academy, results, ambitions, etc.). I also find that it is too well targeted, that the communication is too perfect. Where he will be expected, it will be on the management of difficult times of course, his ability to get up. So to see in 2,3 or 5 years from Aulas if the actions follow the words, he positions himself. If he applies what he has presented, we can be very happy with this change because it will be a continuation of what the president has built, but still be wary. We expect to see its management and its daily investment in a few years.”
“He conquered me on several points”
Some have also reviewed their judgment since the beginning of the week, like Gregory. “Before this weekend, I was very worried about him coming as we had no information on him except that he owned several clubs. But we had no information on his fortune, nor even on his vision of football and his work carried out. Finally, since Monday, I am happy with his arrival. We see a man who is passionate and invested in his teams, who has an interesting vision of football and who corresponds with Olympique Lyonnais, details the 26-year-old young man, a former subscriber to the Lyon 1950 group. Now, as always, we’re going to have to be patient and wait to see what his whole project will yield, with the announced development of OL and the link with its three other clubs. It will also be necessary to see with the financial investment of the three investors of Eagle Football. But on paper, it’s very promising in my opinion.”
Thomas Monin31 years, is also in this state of mind. “To be completely honest, John Textor coming alone would have made me doubt and I would have been very suspicious. But Tuesday’s press conference where he tells us that he is buying the club’s shares with Jamie Salter and Bill Foley allows me to be very clearly reassured. He may say that money scratches football and it is a truth, it is nevertheless a more than important factor in the success of a club. And in this game Salter and Foley are not only multi-billionaires but also very good managers. Textor appeared to me to be a good communicator, expressing what people wanted to hear. However, he won me over on several points, admits this OL fan “always”. Apart from the fact that he is very clearly a good speaker, he is someone who seemed to me to be sincere about his passion for football, humble about his “sporting” decision-making abilities and therefore still leaving full power to our dear present in this area of management. He is clearly on the right track when talking about the future thanks to young people and the academy. He also won me over with his desire to develop activity around the club. In my view, he is right to want to create profit through a new marketing and sales strategy. It gives me hope.”
Finally, supporters like Kevin Heredia have a very positive opinion. “The arrival of John Textor as the majority shareholder of OL Groupe can obviously help the development because, as he announced, he is arriving gradually and wants to leave it to Jean-Michel Aulas control because only he knows the management of the company, says the subscriber since entering the new stadium and CM of HandiSupOL. Unlike other club takeovers, it changes everything. I think he wants to get more involved in the commercial part and the supporting experience.”
The fans rather favorable to the maintenance of Aulas
To achieve a smooth transition, Jean Michel Aulas remain at least three years as President of the institution. A good thing for the majority of fans. “The fact that Aulas stays at the club seemed essential to me. The empire he built and continues to grow couldn’t pass from hand to hand so quickly, think Thomas Monin. There is so much data to take into account that it would have been unthinkable for me that no transition phase was imposed. And I recognize here the mode of operation of Aulas who wanted to make the pact of governance a non-negotiable clause. And that’s good. I now hope that they (all of the leaders) will work hand in hand so that the torch is passed on as smoothly as possible.”
However, knowing that the Rhone boss is now close to the end of his career leaves some perplexed about the rest. “I am both reassured and worried. We now have a “deadline” for the departure of Jean-Michel Aulas. The fact that he has been a little behind the club for a few years made us expect him to leave soon, but the people who seem to be taking power in Lyon do not reassure me in any way and give no guarantee, judge Ed. Many things have to be changed to regain our ambition. I hope our president is well aware of this and that he will give the maximum to leave on a magnificent note, and leaving a healthy club in all aspects.
On another side, Gregory would have preferred a more in-depth renewal. “I’m not completely calm. I trust Aulas to manage the club well, the extras with the Disney Land made in OL, the finances… But in terms of sports organization, I’m not reassured, he shouts. We know all the problems that there have been at this level on the male side. Between stories with Garcia, Juninho, Ponsot and Cheyrou, and a new season not at the level, I would have liked a new sporting impetus with a change of staff and sporting direction to have a new team, ready to work hand in hand in a year with a new cycle announced. All in order to correct all the errors on which we are late (having a real sports director, a recruitment cell worthy of the standing of OL, etc.).”
No worries about a possible loss of identity
With this passage under the American flag, the question also arises of the preservation of Lyon’s identity. But on this subject, Rhone fans remain confident. “From this side, I really have no fear, this DNA is in the region through the young people who enter the academy, the supporters who live for their club, but also the great players who continue to cultivate this identify. And that, American buyer or other, no one will be able to make her leave. There is no doubt that John Textor will ensure that the Lyonnais are still and always proud to be red and blue, welcomes Thomas Morin. You just have to see Botafogo, his work has been done in this direction and it is not for nothing that he is particularly well seen in Brazil.”
“The fact that we are also linked to a Brazilian club (Resend FC)what better way to stick with OL when we know all our legends from Brazil”adds Gregory.
With this change of majority shareholder to come, but also the capital increase which will follow, Olympique Lyonnais intends to find the heights of Ligue 1, but also the Champions League and the big European evenings. “I expect OL to return to their rightful place, that is to say that every year they compete with PSG for the title and with a minimum of participation in a round of 16 C1 or a good course in the Europa League”developed Mathys.
Supporters now want an ambitious OL
In 2022-2023, it will be important that the results are good in order to counterbalance with the failed previous exercise. “I want to see a renewed ambition, raise my head following this terrible failure of this season and give ourselves the means, finally, at all levels of the club, to compete with PSG on a national scale, request Ed. Many teams have taken titles from PSG in recent years, whether in the cup or in Ligue 1. Not us. We must now work to regain our past glory. And money from North American shareholders can potentially help.”
But in addition to the sporting plan, the arrival of a new shareholder can also shake things up in the other strata of Olympique Lyonnais. “Now, I hope that Textor and its partners will bring a breath of fresh air with more substantial international business for the club, with the possibility of expanding the marketing, communication and sales aspect which I find a little too ‘chilled’. You have to know how to take advantage of American culture while keeping our Lyonnais know-howoffers Thomas Monin. And why not see our teams doing American tours.“While waiting for a development in these areas, it will be necessary to let several months, even years, pass to judge the work of John Textor at OL.