Traveling to Amsterdam to launch their Europa League, OM have been living on a volcano since the start of the week.
Panic on board. And deep crisis on all levels. On the eve of its entry into the Europa League on the field of Ajax Amsterdam, where Jacques Abardonado will take his place on the bench, Olympique de Marseille sank further into the crisis on Wednesday, with the departure now confirmed by coach Marcelino and a management which has taken a step back in the face of the anger of some of the supporters.
“It’s sure that it’s quite a storm…», admitted Marseille striker Pierre-Eymerick Aubameyang at a press conference in Amsterdam. At his side was Jacques Abardonado, born in Marseille, former player of the club and ex-coach of all the youth teams.
Only Papin was there to represent the leaders in Amsterdam
The departure of coach Marcelino, who arrived less than three months ago, having been confirmed at the start of the afternoon, it is Abardonado who will be on the bench at the Johan Cruijff Arena on Thursday for OM’s debut in the Europa League. “Pancho» was inducted as interim coach in tandem with David Friio, the club’s sporting director. “It’s a pride for me to represent this club“, he ured, also grateful to “sadness» in the face of the crisis experienced by OM.
After this quickly dispatched press conference, the Marseille players trained, in an apparently rather relaxed atmosphere. But contrary to usual, none of the main leaders were present at the edge of the pitch. Only Jean-Pierre Papin, club ambador, was there, sunk in an armchair in the stands. But behind the scenes, the situation remains extremely unclear and the future of president Pablo Longoria and his three main collaborators (football director Javier Ribalta, general manager Pedro Iriondo and financial director Stéphane Tessier) is still uncertain.
Longoria says no more about his future
While reading the nebulous press release published Tuesday evening by OM had left one perplexed as to the future of Longoria, Ribalta and the others, a source with knowledge of the matter explained that the four men had decided to “stand back” For “to reflect on“.
In the entourage of Frank McCourt, the American owner of the club, we wanted to deny this “indentation», ensuring that the management was “in place» even if, in fact, none of its members are present in Amsterdam. “We provide unequivocal support to the management board“, also ured the McCourt clan. According to a source close to the matter, the four targeted leaders would in any case have been “shocked» by the virulence of the comments of the supporters present and their retention at OM remains extremely uncertain.
“ At no time did we issue death threats or demand Marcelino’s resignation »
Rachid Zeroual, manager of the South Winners
In a press release published Wednesday evening, Marcelino mentioned “personal threats going as far as possible consequences on the physical and moral integrity (of managers) in the event that they refuse to resign from their responsibilities“. “The desire for intimidation and the individual attacks of which the president and his steering committee were the target on Monday, while the championship is only in its 5th day, suggest an uncertain future.», continues the Spanish technician. “At no time did we issue death threats or demand Marcelino’s resignation», Rachid Zeroual, manager of the South Winners, and Christian Cataldo, boss of the Dodger’s, ured AFP on Wednesday.
A petition launched for Longoria
“We want to meet the main shareholder who is Frank McCourt. He needs to come as quickly as possible to listen to what we have to say to him.», now demands Rachid Zeroual. In 2021, the anger of supporters took away Jacques-Henri Eyraud, Longoria’s hated predecessor. But the context today is completely different, Longoria retaining a good popularity rating with a large part of Marseille supporters.
A petition in favor of his continued presidency had collected more than 42,000 signatures on Wednesday evening and, on social networks, several groups of OM supporters abroad also took up the cause of the Spanish leader.
If the main groups of supporters (Winners, Dodger’s, CU84, Fanatics, MTP, Club des Amis de l’OM, Handifan Club OM) display a united front, the base is therefore probably quite divided, infinitely more in any case than at the Eyraud era. Thursday in Amsterdam, there will be more than 2,000 ultras at the stadium to encourage their team in this period of crisis.