“Here, we have something special”: Rodez president Pierre-Olivier Murat deciphers the crazy season before the decisive match

“Here, we have something special”: Rodez president Pierre-Olivier Murat deciphers the crazy season before the decisive match

Pierre-Olivier Murat doesn't deny himself anything, including dreaming of Ligue 1: “People who know me know that I have no limits.” MAXPPP – Cédric MERAVILLES

This Friday, May 17 (8:45 p.m.), Rodez welcomes AC Ajaccio for a final match which could send it to the play-offs. An incredible result for an amazing team. Its president Pierre-Olivier Murat gives the keys to this crazy success and rise.

In Rodez, they all call him “POM” or president. Tracksuit and club cap, Pierre-Olivier Murat looks like a supporter that day. Between two cigarettes, with a laughing eye sitting on the steps overlooking the Vabre pitch, he rooms his players in training. “Sound” Rodez Aveyron football is on the verge of the Ligue 2 play-offs and the man who has been the boss since 2005 is enjoying it. It also measures the crazy trajectory of this club from a town of just over 20,000 inhabitants, part of the underbelly of National 2. "Rare in an interview& quot;, “POM” takes the time to detail the ascent and the recipes before an evening against Ajaccio, this Friday, which could be historic.

Have you found yourself pinching yourself in recent weeks to believe it ?

Yes and no. At the start of the season, it was not our objective to be in the battle for the play-offs. But we had been building something for several years, we knew that at one point we would mix with the first 7-8 places.

When you are in this position two matches from the end (interview carried out before the 1-1 in Saint-Étienne, Editor's note), you have to struggle with the values ​​of the terroir to be there. That said, at the start of the season, if you are told that you are going to be 6th, you sign straight away. But today, in the best scenario, we can offer the supporters a roadblock.

Despite your 8 M€ budget, you don't like it when people say that Rodez is a small club. However, do you accept the term miracle to describe the performances ?

So no! It does not fit me. Indeed, we are in the 4 or 5 smallest budgets of L2 but we have been building for years, little by little, with these local values ​​where we work a lot. And we work differently, especially for recruitment. We are not afraid to look for young people who have not signed professionally in Montpellier, at TFC, to look at CFA, National.

When you work and when you have these results, it’s not a miracle. It would be if I could afford Téji Savanier in Rodez

We were also the first in France to use data software (TransferRoom). In Rodez, a redneck town of 20,000 inhabitants (smile). We are always looking for something new. So when you work and when you have these results, it’s not a miracle. It would be if I could afford Téji Savanier in Rodez (laughing).

You once said that your geographical location, far from big cities, was an advantage for Rodez. Why ?

Because we are calm. Our pool for young people, in addition to Aveyron, is Lot, Cantal, Lozère, departments which are similar to us. Then our pros, if they want to do stupid things, they have to drive 2 hours (smile). And in this territory, as you are far from everything, people help each other. A player who arrives at the club, comes from Paris or who knows where, he locks his car twice. We tell him to leave it open, there’s no problem (laughing).

Almost a year ago, you experienced an evening of chaos in Bordeaux (match stopped for the attack on Lucas Buades by a Girondin supporter, on the 2nd) ;June 2023, Editor’s note). Has she changed your story ?

I'm convinced of it. Convinced (he repeats). In fact, it above all strengthened the spirit of solidarity around the club, our sponsors, our supporters, our group, the employees. We all came together even more closely than we were. It brought incredible strength, rather than liquefying us. Which could have happened because it was hard with social media. In the end, it was a founding moment.

In May 2016, Rodez was relegated to CFA 2 (N3). Do you ever realize how far you have come ?

(Laughing) I think about it often. It’s incredible. It’was “Laulau” (Peyrelade) the coach, we were relegated to Marignane, we were saved by the DNCG then the following year we moved up. And there, “bom, bom, bom” (he mimes a staircase). Same thing as for Bordeaux, it was a founding act because no one got angry. Any president would have fired the coach. We said to ourselves that we were going to work differently, play differently.

When I see a mother come to sign the jersey with her little one, if my players don't stop, they take a pie in their mouth!

You are very attached to continuity. She is found within the team but also within the staff, almost unchanged for around ten years. Is this the key to your success ?

These are the foundations of the house. I'm not a consumer of trainers, for example. I have been president for 19 years, I have had (Franck) Rizzetto, (Rui) Pataca, (Laurent) Peyrelade and Didier (Santini). This is the basis of this continuity.
As a child, I signed my first license with the RAF. I then left but at one point, I said to myself that people allowed me to play football, to educate me. And when Joël Pilon (predecessor) unfortunately died, and there was no one there, I took up the torch wanting to preserve this spirit.

We have something special here. When I see a mother come to sign the jersey with her little one, if my players don't stop, they get a pie in their mouth! This proximity is our strength.

However, in 2022, this continuity was broken with the departure of Laurent Peyrelade, your coach since 2015. Were you afraid ?< /p>

It was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make since I've been at the club. He had been there for a very long time, he did the job, took us from CFA2 to L2. It was hard at the time, for both of us because we were very close. But in hindsight, it was necessary.

When you choose Didier Santini at that time, who has never coached professionally, you are 18th out of 20. Didn't you have the feeling of a very daring bet? ?

No, never. Before, I took Rizzetto who had never coached professionally, Pataca and Peyrelade ditto. At that moment, I wanted a real break, in terms of gameplay, character, philosophy. I thought the key wasn't a guy who had 200 matches in L1 or L2.

Ligue 1? People who know me know that I have no limits

We are measuring this break today: we are scoring at every turn, we are also conceding at every turn but the philosophy is accepted. Didier doesn't care, isn't afraid of anyone, whether he plays Saint-Étienne or otherwise, he doesn't change. He embodied this change. And it matched straight away.

Since Rodez is constantly pushing his limits, would he be ready for Ligue 1 ?

People who know me know that I have no limits. Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes not. L1 is hypothetical, we are not sure if we are a roadblocker but we must have ambition. This is not necessarily being pretentious. But by working like you work, you can play at any level, higher, lower (laughing).

The renovation of the stadium, started several years ago, is nearing its goal. Would he support an accession ?

Yes, in any case, there are no longer capacity standards but lighting, changing rooms, pitch, etc. For the first match of the next season, three of the four stands will be completed. And it will be completely closed at the end of the calendar year for a capacity of around 6,800 people. That’s enough. I prefer a full stadium, in the English style, with reception, which will allow us to take a step forward in terms of attendance and then also in the number of partners.

Casually, the first year of Ligue 2, we played for 6 months at the Stadium. The following year, it was Covid, then a single stand of 1,000 people until December 2022. The economic equation is very complicated in L2 under such conditions. We must manage to stay in L2 with the stadium completed, this will allow us to take a step forward. As a general rule, there is no professional football project without a stadium. It’s impossible. We often talk about it with Laurent Nicollin (president of Montpellier HSC, Editor’s note) elsewhere.

The challenge of the coming months will be to maintain the momentum born this season. How to achieve it ?

We've been in Ligue 2 for five seasons. It's no longer a coincidence. We are an L2 team, we have to accept it. Sometimes we are not recognized as such. The rest will be complicated because with the season we are having, there will be covetousness. But we've been working on the future for a long time.

I have this club in my heart. I'm here, yes. As long as I can, as long as I bring something extra and my health allows it

Raux Yao will leave (Rapid de Vienne), Rajot, Captain Danger, Younoussa and Depres are at the end of their contract in June. Is it already the challenge of the summer to renew this team without distorting it ?

It will be necessary to renew but also bring more. This is what we have been doing for years, each time bringing something more. We will have to find this balance between retaining certain things but also bringing added value. If you want to evolve, it’s essential.

You are only 47 years old but you are one of, if not the oldest, active presidents of L1 and L2, at the head of Rodez since 2005. Do you ever think about the after?

I have this club in my heart. I'm here, yes. As long as I can, as long as I bring something extra and as long as my health allows it… hellip; For the moment, I'm not asking myself the question.

I subscribe to read more

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= "https://counter.yadro.ru/hit?t44.6;r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)