“The club must grow”

Jean-Guy Wallemme, coach of Paris 13 Atlético. Twitter @Paris 13Atlético

MAINTENANCE – Appointed this summer to the bench of Paris 13 Atlético promoted to National, Jean-Guy Wallemme, great figure of RC Lens, aspires to solidify the foundations of the Parisian club.

The sun, alone in a great blue sky, illuminates the pitch of the Stade Jean-Bouin in Choisy-le-Roi. It was in the Val-de-Marne where Atlético de Paris 13 completed, on Sunday 7 August, in front of 70 spectators, their preparation against Quevilly Rouen Métropole (1-1). The club from the capital’s 13th district was still in the 8th division in 2011. With National’s smaller budget, but also the largest number of licensees of a French club (around 1,600), it dreams of being kept up.

It starts with a trip to Châteauroux this Friday (7.30pm). And under the leadership of Jean-Guy Wallemme, 54 years old, a former player who spent time on the benches of Lens, Auxerre and Saint-Étienne. The man with more than 400 appearances for the Sang et Or gave us a few minutes as the sun set in Choisy-le-Roi, where Paris 13 Atletico took advantage of facilities more developed than around their modest stadium de Boutroux, under construction.

How did you join Paris 13 Atlético?

Jean-Guy Wallemme: He had left Saint-Raphaël 4 games before the end of the championship (last april). In the past, I had some contacts with clubs. Fred Pereira (the president of Paris 13 Atlético) called me 15 days before the end of the season. We had already had contacts when I left Chartres for Fréjus (in the summer of 2020). We had already had a telephone interview.

He told me they were in the lead but there were 2 games left. I told him that I hoped they would make it to the end, for their sakes, and that we would remember later. This is what we did. I necessarily followed both games carefully, especially the last one because… it was hot until the end (smile). Fleury also played the up. Once validated, he met several coaches. I saw the leaders. They decided to bring me into contact, no doubt with my knowledge of the Paris region, as I have already coached 2 clubs in Paris (RC Paris between 2002 and 2004, Paris FC between 2007 and 2008). I was also interested in finding a higher level, with a showcase, even if the club needs to grow and evolve as it reaches a semi-professional environment.

“Being part of this project means doing your job, but also going beyond your job”

How was the project presented to you?

The DNA of the club is clear, it is a club that has been built little by little with the living forces. To be part of this project is to fulfill one’s role, but also to go beyond one’s role, because everyone has to get their hands dirty, as they say. It is the club that has the most graduates, but from time to time we lack some volunteers or people to accompany. I have a relatively full staff, it is also up to us to work on it. We have been here for a month and a half.

For now, the team mainly stays in Choisy-le-Roi…

And we are happy to have arrived in Choisy-le-Roi. It allowed us to be in an environment where we have a “green” field (with natural grass, ed), because we will play at the Charléty stadium. There is also a synthetic because we are going to play in the Boutroux stadium behind.

Will you be back there when the works are finished?

Yes. But here we are very well received, there is the mayor (Tonino Panetta) who was there, Henrique Marques who is also in charge of sports, who welcomed us, who allowed us to come and prepare. I think preparation is key. Here, we have a training center between quotes, even if it is an amateur one. But we have the possibility of having a meeting room, almost a refectory where we can eat, drink coffee, make videos. We have a synthetic there, a green field. Well, now that the president is back, we’ll be sharing the venue, but it’s still a pleasure to have found this place in the Paris region. It’s not easy. I think some of our preparation was an added value given where we are today.

Does the club stand out in this championship for its Petit Poucet dimension?

Yes, and as I said, it is this DNA that will have to be considered. But that won’t be enough. The mind, the spirit of work, the cohesion, we know it will be very important. But also for opposing teams. Maybe they have more budget than us, maybe a little more talent. We’ll have to bring something else. And there is also this reform of the championships which means that there will be 6 runs… It is not easy. It complicates the task a little, but it will complicate it for everyone.

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