“Should I stay or should I go” is a bit of both for the big Clash fan Jacques-Henri Eyraud. The 52-year-old leader is no longer the president of Olympique de Marseille since Friday, dismissed by Frank McCourt who had made him his trusted man in the field when he bought the club. Eyraud remains in the offices of the OM, and joins the supervisory board. But this change of post can only be seen as a demotion, the end of a tumultuous era between “JHE” and the 1993 European champion club. A four and a half year long history made up of clashes and misunderstandings.
The appointment of Pablo Longoria in place of Jacques-Henri Eyraud says as much about the new Marseille president as it does about the old one. “His main priority will be to put football back at the heart of OM“writes McCourt. Longoria is a shadow worker, crazy about football and who will mainly take charge of the sports management of OM. More or less the exact opposite of his predecessor. When he installed Eyraud as a newcomer. boss in October 2016, the American businessman thought he could rely on a man experienced in business and management. local plan and the fabric of clubs with OM for the detection of young talents in the sector.For the rest, the climate surrounding the formation of Bouches-du-Rhône in recent months is worth a thousand words.
Between the businessman of the grandes écoles and popular fervor, the symbiosis has never taken
Jacques-Henri Eyraud has become the symbol of the gaping divide within a club with a history as rich as its support is ardent and its management cold, distant. By his language elements, as by his PowerPoint presentations, Eyraud has slipped into his Marseille manager’s costume as in any of the companies he has managed before. The former Harvard graduate, professor at Sciences Po Paris, is a businessman, not a balloonist. The “Champions Project” mentioned on his arrival gave rise to the wildest hopes for the Old Port, ignited less than two years later by the epic of OM until the Europa League final. A rare clearing in the middle of the many thunderstorms.
Sportingly, the attempts to return to the European foreground have turned into a record of the shame of consecutive defeats in the Champions League this season. OM have collected more weighty salaries than trophies, to the chagrin of the supporters. The demanding Marseille public ended up getting annoyed, commonplace on the Canebière. But Jacques-Henri Eyraud, by his distance and his profile of “Parisian businessman”, never knew how to extinguish the embers.
A departure to ease tensions
His outings on the excess of Marseillais within the club last December, coupled with a bad series of results, ended up exploding the powder keg. His management of serious incidents at the Marseille training center, stormed by supporters on January 30, ended up making his position simply untenable. With his Agora OM, Eyraud hoped “redefining supporterism“, after having issued a formal notice against the fans following the invasion of the Robert Louis-Dreyfus Center. Eleven days later, it was his place within the club which was entitled to new contours.
The end of weeks of extreme tension in Marseille, which had seen bitter banners (“JHE, Marseille te vomit”, “Rendez-vous OM”, “Les Olympiens vous haïssent”) flourish in the arteries around the Vélodrome. But not yet the end of Jacques-Henri Eyraud’s adventure at the club. Its real weight in Marseille daily life through its presence on the supervisory board remains to be defined. His place behind the scenes rather than at the front could at least allow Marseille to move on, finally, to something else.