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“The club needs to grow”

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

The sun, alone in a big blue sky, lights up the lawn of the Jean-Bouin stadium, in Choisy-le-Roi. It was in the Val-de-Marne that the Paris 13 Atletico completed, on Sunday August 7, in front of 70 spectators, their preparation against Quevilly Rouen Métropole (1-1). The club from the 13th arrondissement of the capital was still in the 8th division in 2011. With the smallest budget of National, but also the largest number of licensees for a French club (around 1,600), it dreams of being maintained.

It starts with a trip to Châteauroux this Friday (7:30 p.m.). And under the leadership of Jean-Guy Wallemme, 54, a former player who passed through the benches of Lens, Auxerre and Saint-Étienne. The man with more than 400 matches with the Sang et Or gave us a few minutes as the sun was setting on Choisy-le-Roi, where Paris 13 Atletico took advantage of more developed facilities than around his modest Boutroux stadium, under construction.

How did you join Paris 13 Atletico?

Jean-Guy Wallemme : I had left Saint-Raphaël 4 matches before the end of the championship (last april). Behind, I had some contacts with clubs. Fred Pereira (the president of Paris 13 Atletico) 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 that they would go to the end, already for them, and that afterwards we would remember. That’s what we did. I necessarily followed the two matches carefully, especially the last one because… it was hot until the end (smile). Fleury also played the climb. Once it was validated, he met several coaches. I saw the leaders. They made the choice to take me in relation, certainly, to my knowledge of the Paris region, since 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 because it arrives in a semi-professional environment.

How were you presented with the project?

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

For the moment, 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 a setting where we have a “green” pitch (with a natural lawn, editor’s note), because we are going to play at the Charléty stadium. There is also a synthetic because we are going to play at the Boutroux stadium behind.

Will you be going back there once the work is finished?

Yes. But here we are very well received, there is the mayor (Tonino Panetta) who was there, Henrique Marques also who takes care of the sport, who welcomed us, who allowed us to come and prepare. I think preparation is key. Here, we have a training center in quotes, even if it is amateur. 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 over there, a green pitch. Well, now that the president is coming back, we’re going to share the premises, but it’s still nice to have found this site in the Paris region. It is not easy. I think part of our preparation was an added value given the site we are in today.

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

Yes, and as I said, it is this DNA that will have to be put forward. But that’s not going to be enough. The mind, the spirit of work, the cohesion, we know that it will be very important. But for the opposing teams too. They may 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’s not easy. It complicates the task a little, but it will complicate it for everyone.

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