Saturday, August 8, 2020

Targeted by the ultras and the mayor: who is Frédéric Longuépée, the president of Bordeaux?

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A discreet life with his wife and daughters in an upscale district of Bordeaux (Gironde). A few trips to the Arcachon basin to enjoy the charms of the lagoon. Habits taken in two addresses with a view to the coast, at Hortense in Cap-Ferret and at Co (o) rniche on the Pilat dune. More or less, Frédéric Longuépée’s new life resembles that of many well-to-do Parisians who fled the capital to join Bordeaux with the arrival of the high-speed line.

The little things close? His position as president of the Girondins has earned him today to be in the crosshairs of the club’s ultras and the new mayor of the city, the environmentalist Pierre Hurmic, who are asking for his head. Less than two years after his arrival at the head of the club, here he is forced to defend himself on the popular, political and now sporting fronts with a coach, the Portuguese Paulo Sousa, who has expressed his departure wishes to several executives of the locker room and began discussions in this direction with its management.

“He who likes to work in serenity, he is served”, slips a former collaborator. His entourage describes a discreet man, focused on the files of a club torn at the end of the year by disagreements between the two investment funds, GACP and King Street, behind the buyout of the club in M ​​6 at the end of 2018 Since the end of 2019 and the takeover of the shares of the former by the latter, of whom he is the trusted advisor, Frédéric Longuépée is proud to have his hands free at last.

“Today’s PSG owes him a lot”

“His vision of football is that of entertainment. He sees Bordeaux as a brand ”, tackles a member of the Ultramarines, behind a demonstration against the leaders of the Girondins de Bordeaux which gathered 2,000 people in town on the eve of the second round of municipal elections. In May, the ultra group also leaked recordings of a meeting during which the club boss exchanged with the ticketing manager, Anthony Thiodet.

“He knows the sport much better than many of those who criticize him today,” said Michel Mimran, marketing director of PSG when Longuépée arrived as deputy general manager of the capital’s club in 2012. His job in Paris, it was business. He is extremely competent in this area. He is criticized for managing a football club as a business, but it is just one. “

Passed by a business school, ESCP Paris, the strong man of the Girondins left very good memories to the current management of the Parisian club. “Today’s PSG owes him a lot,” continues Michel Mimran. He set up the sponsorship service. The ticketing strategy he has put in place, by surrounding himself with competent people, is one of the best in Europe. “

With the French gymnastics team at the 1988 Olympics

His thing? “Bring back money, says a former French Tennis Federation, where he also managed the ticket office and met the current deputy director general of PSG, Jean-Claude Blanc. But that’s not a bad word. Today’s sport needs people like it to spin. After that, seeing him as club president, that surprised me a little. There is a passionate side which perhaps suits him less. “

To take the lead of the Girondins, Frédéric Longuépée abandoned a position of marketing director of the organizing committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, occupied for only two months. An opportunity that was not missed at 54 this Lille native, “demanding, competent and hardworking”, in the eyes of Michel Mimran.

Frédéric Longuépée at Parc des Princes with Jean-Claude Blanc and Nicolas Sarkozy./Icon Sport / Dave Winter

Presenting him as a cold administrator devoid of any sports sensitivity would be simplistic. In 1988, Frédéric Longuépée was part of the tricolor delegation which flew to the Seoul Olympic Games. In South Korea, the future boss of the Girondins de Bordeaux is competing in the all-around gymnastics team competition with the Blues. He is then the only athlete in the world capable of performing a “jaeger”, a gymnastic figure, of an arm.

“He was an elegant gymnast,” emphasizes Stéphane Cauterman, his partner in the France team and former roommate at Insep. He was a bit of my big brother with the Blues, I only have good memories with him. He had goals beyond his sport, he was already thinking specifically about his post-career. He was a very orderly person, nothing sticking out of his bed. “

He refuses to resign

“Even as a child, he always stored his bag very well,” says one of his first coaches at the Madeleine club, Carl Marécaux. With emotion, the latter remembers this sportsman whose adult height – 1.80 m – forced competition organizers to raise the bar. “He does not forget where he came from, he is an exemplary boy. He comes to see me when he goes back up north to see his parents, ”he breathes.

After gnawing his brakes when GACP was at the helm and seeing his first weeks in office disrupted by the health crisis, Frédéric Longuépée is about to experience his first summer transfer window in the shoes of the commander-in-chief. The leader, who says he does not want to resign, says he is ready to meet the new mayor of Bordeaux to put things flat.

At the same time, he tries to give guarantees to the ultras. He thus gave up lodging a complaint for the diffusion of the recordings and promised that the person in charge for the security of the club David Lafarge, a threatened time, would be well under the authority of a new director of security, but would continue to make the stamp with tribunes. This is called playing politics.

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