Football: “If it’s to piss me off, I’ll do something else”, Dider Santini, the Rodez coach, accepts his game ideas

Football: “If it’s to piss me off, I’ll do something else”, Dider Santini, the Rodez coach, accepts his game ideas

Ancien latéral gauche “showman”, Didier Santini recherche le spectacle et le plaisir, dit-il. MAXPPP – Martin ROCHE

If the season of the RAF, host of Paris FC, in the playoff this Tuesday, May 21 at 8:30 p.m., is exceptional, it owes it in part to its coach, a great football traveler and atypical personality .

He "broke his knee six times", during his career in Ligue 1, and said « contonement that, like Molière », he could "die on land". But when he talks about his method, he goes from Tiger Woods to Tony Parker, from basketball to handball, whose downtime he envies, and talks about the & ;quot;shoulder position" of his players or the videos he shows them during training. Left rear "barge", according to him, shot at the “grinta” bastiaise,

Didier Santini has become a methodical, jack-of-all-trades coach whose philosophy today offers Rodez the most beautiful journey in its history, at the gates of the elite. This is good because the Marseillais by birth, but Corsican by adoption, lives only for adventure. That of a life in a round ball. Son of a banker father and a mother from Avèze, in the Cévennes of Gard, he started as a player at OM in 1987, helmed by Éric Di Meco, under the orders of Gérard Gili. It’s another Gilli, Stéphane, coach of Paris FC who he faces this Tuesday.

Scotland, gardens and imbalance

A play-off to continue a technician's journey swallowed with a mantra: "I have chosen my life since the age aged 16", assures the 55-year-old man with salt-and-pepper mane. "When I was pro, I ended my career by refusing five Premiere League clubs to go to Scotland, to the club (Livingston, Editor's note) that paid me the least, he continues. I had found things that I loved. A trip."

After the stadium lawns, he led him to those of individuals. For seven years, Santini swaps crampons for pruners and shovels and becomes "swimming pool gardener". He also completed his coaching diplomas. "I loved it when I left a place and saw the swimming pool, the palm trees. There had to be harmony. Today, it’s the same. When your player tells you that he is happy, has fulfilled his objectives, like with Andreas Hountondji (Editor's note, RAF top scorer, 14 goals), you are proud because you gave him everything."

Green thumb in the gardens or the locker rooms, Santini had to scour the clubs before taking to the light. Calvi, Borgo, Dunkirk, Béziers, Stade Briochin or even a year's experience as assistant to the Chinese U19 selection: the former big mouth of TFC, Lille or Sporting Club de Bastia , where he also coached the U14s of a certain Wahbi Khazri, did well.

To build yourself better and "put yourself in danger", he says.
Santini gained a philosophy, that of constant intensity and claimed imbalance, the trademark of his RAF, 2nd attack and 13th defense in L2. "When I was younger, I was excited to score a goal. But I realized that in the end, people have to enjoy themselves, he explains.

"I love being the little one"

This taste for spectacle brings him back to Bastia again and again. On the Isle of Beauty, Santini the full-back experienced from the stands the trauma of Furiani in 1992, about which he spoke very little. He did it for Center Presse, aware "that we shouldn't die for football. After that, I became less stupid." On this pebble in the Mediterranean, he also reveals himself “show-man”.< em> "I was giving a show, I was performing a play with the supporters. I never took red but it was a fight, a boxing match to get people."

In Rodez, "Corsica without the sea", he compares in reference to the ~60 mentality ~em>"hardworking" of the Aveyronnais, he perpetuates this quest for guts. Convinced that he does this job "to give pleasure". "If it's to piss me off, I'll do something else",sweeps away this bon vivant, capable of going to pay for his tour to Ruthenian and opposing supporters, a few weeks ago. "That’s what sport is for me", he breathes.

Football: “If it’s to piss me off, I’ll do something else”, Dider Santini, the Rodez coach, accepts his game ideas

It’s also the results. Sensational this season, they offered him a nomination for the trophy for best L2 coach, won by Christophe Pélissier (Auxerre). Santini refutes the revenge, but regrets the lack "madness" too frequent of clubs preferring the "names" on the adventure.

His, in Rodez, began in November 2022 with a meal lasting "five hours instead of one hour, speaking of football, about me, about life". "Sometimes, people tell me that I talk too much", he admits. It was also a bet by President Pierre-Olivier Murat, who refutes the term. The blood and gold were 18th and Santini had never coached at this level. Six months later, he confided to his assistant (Émerick Darbelet) that his group "would finish within five ". "I’love being the little one", he smiled. Well aware that travel forms youth.

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