Once again SM Caen is at a crossroads. The period is crucial on the field and behind the scenes. If the sporting reorganization is underway, upheavals in the club’s organizational chart are also possible. We have come up with several solutions for the current crisis.
For the fourth time in four and a half years, SM Caen is experiencing a crucial period in its history, both sporting and structural. Chairman of the supervisory board, Pierre-Antoine Capton, has a lot of work to do. On the one hand, he must complete the purchase of shares in the American investment fund Oaktree, which still owns 80% of the club. On the other hand, it is necessary to launch a new sports policy.
Will he make some adjustments, or will he go so far as to fundamentally disrupt the organizational chart of the Normandy club? SMC fans probably won’t have answers until the end of this month. Oaktree has been visibly slowing down negotiations since Pierre-Antoine Capton’s last offer expired on Wednesday, November 15, and the day after this deadline there was still no white smoke.
As for the appointment of a new coach to succeed Jean-Marc Furlan, we will also have to wait at least another two weeks. The coach, who made five appearances in Ligue 1, was fired on November 7. Yesterday, November 15, he received notice of his dismissal. The next step is passage before the LFP’s legal committee, normally scheduled for November 28. However, an early meeting is also possible. What will happen until then? Here are several scenarios available for Pierre-Antoine Capton, from the most plausible to the most unlikely.
- Hypothesis #1: Stay the course during the storm
After several weeks of strong turbulence, SM Caen is moving forward again. Without a doubt qualified in the Coupe de France, the Normandy club won in Angers to everyone’s surprise. At the same time, Oaktree has just sold out, Pierre-Antoine Capton is the only captain on board. However, without an expandable budget, he decides to believe in his men.
Olivier Pickeu remains president and Patrice Sauvaget, until then interim and on hold, is finally promoted to head coach. The Fougères native makes it clear that it is still the opportunity of a lifetime to be alone at the helm of a professional team. Change in continuity.
- Hypothesis #2: Hero Hour
Caen is still in major sporting difficulties. Patrice Sauvaget’s interim is not decisive. Especially since the one who is officially a deputy does not express a fierce desire to occupy the position of number 1. His faithful accomplice Stéphane Moulin has recently declared himself on the market again and is only waiting for one thing: to find him for a new adventure.
On the management side, Pierre-Antoine Capton finally got Oaktree’s shares back, which did not go smoothly during the negotiations. As a result, the budget is tight. It is impossible to attract a confirmed coach, especially since interested parties absolutely want to come with their staff, to avoid finding themselves in Furlan’s indelicate position. In this crisis, an internal solution is essential: Nicolas Seube.
Since tying up his boots in 2017, the most capped player in the club’s history has had only one ambition: to coach SMC. It’s not the ideal time to be sitting on the couch, let alone, he’s seen others. Although he does not have the diploma required to coach professionally, the training center director resigns and the club decides to pay the fine of €12,500 per match. It is always cheaper than hiring an experienced technician and the assistants that come with it.
- Hypothesis No. 3: Two great-era veterans at the helm
Relieved but tired by the long process of total recovery of the club, Pierre-Antoine Capton does not have the energy for a second revolution. He sticks to his original idea of overhauling the club through the weeds.
Olivier Pickeu is thus confirmed as president, despite the revolt against him by certain supporters. To replace Jean-Marc Furlan, the latter proposes to hire an old friend, former partner in red and blue in the early 90s: Philippe Montanier. The arrival of the ex-coach of Toulouse, the last winner of the Coupe de France, is not unimportant from a financial point of view.
However, Malherbe cannot afford to miss again. The sports policy must be clear and ambitious. Montanier seems to be the ideal solution after his successful periods in Lens and Toulouse. After several missed appointments in recent years, the Vernon resident is finally on the SMC bench.
- Hypothesis #4: Back to the future
In this hypothesis, Pierre-Antoine Capton managed to make a good deal with Oaktree. Satisfied after months of difficult negotiations, he wants to rearrange the cards within the club, looking for peace at any price. He reluctantly separated from Olivier Pickeu, who received too much criticism and sowed division. Moreover, the audit carried out at the end of the summer shows that the organization within the club is not optimal.
Both disappointed and nostalgic, PAC climbs into the time machine to convince his friend Jean-François Fortin to help him turn the club around. As a reminder, it was the former boss of the Maîtres Laitiers du Cotentin who sponsored the man who was then just the young TV producer on the rise. Furthermore, when Capton came to power in 2021, he said of Fortin that he “the DNA of the club“.
Who else than Manchois and his sixteen years of presidency can guarantee stability. On the field side, the two men agree on the return of Patrice Garande. No other free coach knows the SMC better than he does. Above all, Garande in Caen is synonymous with success and emotion: 4e in Ligue 2 for his first season, promoted to L1 for his second, he also achieved four stays in the elite. No other coach has done so well in the history of the Normandy club. Since leaving, he has come within a whisker of Toulouse and has managed to keep Dijon off to a very poor start.
If these hypotheses are clearly fictitious at the time these lines are written, it is not impossible that some part of the truth, intuition and hunch lies hidden there. Within two weeks, perhaps longer, the red and blue planets will be placed on a new axis to hopefully rotate in the right direction.