SM Caen.  Malherbe and amateur clubs, much more than seduction

SM Caen. Malherbe and amateur clubs, much more than seduction

Olivier Pickeu and Thierry Deslandes, presidents of SM Caen and Maladrerie OS, surrounded by coaches Stéphane Moulin and Frank Dechaum. ©Aline Chatel

All the ingredients for a successful morning gathered this Wednesday 26 October 2022 in the beautiful grounds Awkwardness. Stade Malherbe Caen moved the training of professional players for the second time this season and settled in MOS, regional club 1. Under the hot sun, many children present did not hide their delight.

As his group prepared for their next trip to Saint-Malo in the Coupe de France, Olivier Pickeu had a long chat with his Maladrerie counterpart Thierry Deslandes. The two men then looked at the relationship between Malherbe, the engine of local football, and the amateur world.

Olivier, how does organizing a relocated training session at an amateur club benefit Stade Malherbe?

Olivier Pickeu: It’s a pleasure. The weather is wonderful, the children are here and our players are very happy. It becomes something normalized for us when we come into contact with our youth. Stéphane Moulin lends himself fully to the game. For him, this is not a limitation at all, on the contrary, it is an advantage. This will allow you to create a link.

I would like to thank Thierry (Deslandes) for his welcome. It is important to see the quality of the organization and the number of children present. Of course, this is a way for us to further develop our influence and get in touch with our audience. But before all that, you need to be able to meet great people. This is what I have been doing for two years with Thierry. We played a match at the beginning of the season, we rescheduled training… This is part of the relationship I want to maintain with the MOS club. It’s a relationship I want to last over time.

What is the interest of the MOS in these close exchanges with Malherbe?

Thierry Deslandes: The most important thing is everything we do with the club on a daily basis. The first animators of these bridges are educators. The more complicity between the two clubs, the more interesting it is for us. We are not at all in the same formats and in the same projects as Malherbe, but I am one of those who think that the more organized, structured and complicit we are with Malherbe, the better it will be for Caen footballers. If a boy is nice here, I’d rather go across the street than to Rennes or Angers.

T. Deslandes: “Caen lacks a club that plays sustainably at national level among young people”

Are there technical exchanges between the teachers?

Olivier Pickeu: We have a joint project. Mehdi Hocianat works on our relations with the clubs of the division and the region. We will show all this soon. This will allow us to carry out technical exchanges with educators. For example, we could organize a day with Stéphane Moulin, who would speak on a specific topic.

We want to continue to create a lot of things. It has to make sense between the professional club that we are and the amateur clubs that are doing remarkable work. We’ve talked about educators, but there are also volunteers who are there daily and who allow these Norman youth to express themselves. Seeing young people able to leave the seraglio and play at the highest level creates a bond, a pride for all the educators and presidents that we are. Despite that, I hope that they will become good men and good women, because women’s sports are also in the spotlight.

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What does a big amateur club like MOS expect from the locomotive that is Malherbe?

Thierry Deslandes: I used the word “complicit”, that’s it. Good communication, information sharing, creating the conditions for our best players to come home and also to take advantage of the players coming from Stade Malherbe. It’s easier today than it was seven or eight years ago. We have created the conditions for more players to come who did not perform well at Stade Malherbe and who need a second chance. We coped, we structured, we tried. It’s easier to convince.

Today Caen lacks a club next to Stade Malherbe that plays sustainably at national level among young people. This would make it possible to have a stronger nutrient soil and consequently more footbridges. In Malherbe, there are examples of players who didn’t perform at 15, 16, who left and came back.

O. Pickeu: “Let things only go one way”

Olivier, is it important for you to regularly return to the amateur world?

Olivier Pickeu: Training and the seraglio are at the heart of our project. We want to highlight players from our amateur clubs. Then, at what age do they come to us…

You are often criticized for accepting children too early.

Olivier Pickeu: Maybe it’s also a possibility to restore them afterwards using another formation. The choice is so difficult that we can also have this exchange that becomes very positive. This is what we need to create. We have to create trust. For that you need stability. I would like to rely with Stéphane Moulin and the staff on the stability of pedagogues, which makes it possible to have a project in which amateur clubs can be found. It’s a long process. We started it over a year ago. These are the beginnings of something very positive.

Is it also thanks to these operations that Stade Malherbe creates a very positive image?

Olivier Pickeu: Last week I saw all the district presidents who are connected to amateur clubs. They do an excellent job of getting operations up and running. Last season we experienced an extraordinary adventure, welcoming 12,000 people to the Coupe Gambardella, for the first time in the history of the competition.

Our relationships with the districts and the relationships we are starting to build with the clubs have allowed us to do this reception and make this connection. The link must be permanent. This is not a one-time operation. When I arrived, I was told, “Are you ready to sign a partnership? My wish was to meet the presidents first. I am very happy to have met Thierry (Deslandes) for all the work he is doing with his club and the region. Once these meetings take place, we can put things into practice, but things that don’t just go in one direction – the Stade Malherbe. There is a global vision because we know each other better. This is the next step.

T. Deslandes: “Sign of respect”

We feel that these exchanges are greatly appreciated by the amateur world…

Thierry Deslandes: It is recognition. Stade Malherbe is not obliged to carry out, for example, relocated training. Doing them contributes to a good image with his supporters, that’s for sure. For us, it is also a sign of respect. It goes towards the good relations we want to have with the club. It is time among other things. After that, there are phone calls, there are exchanges of ideas, there are meetings between those who are at the core of the project.

It is important to keep moving forward. We can write things and create conventions, if we’re not convinced behind us that it’s in our best interest to do it together, it won’t work over time. There are things we write and above all things we do. I think the most important things are the things we do.

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