A speech that contrasts sharply with speeches on the subject since Ilan’s change of hand. And that, if the situation between the various stakeholders in the club is normal, is likely to leave deep marks. including for him.
Taqwa Pinheiro is quite a novice in the position, however he is tackling a major project for the club’s future. What it assumes is an acquisition confirmation by CSG president and co-founder David Otto, and a repeat that US buyers will carry out their projects for Elan Béarnais. New part…
At the beginning of the week you had very harsh words for your predecessor…
When I connected Pau and CSG, I explained to them what makes it a special club, the history, that it was necessary to adapt to the culture and the people. Tom Houston was not involved in these discussions. Then I was fired from the project. Yes, it looked good from an American point of view, it was impressive, but I also saw the disconnect between CSG and Pau. In my opinion, there was a lack of respect on the part of Mr. Houston. From there, you can see the project moving backward instead of moving forward. That’s why I want to re-establish this relationship. The link is there, it’s me. As a former player, I know the context.
What is the biggest mistake?
The biggest mistake in the first place was not working on the connections with the people and understanding of Bao and its culture. Here, not Paris. He thought differently and soon it became difficult. He has put himself in a situation where he has made promises that he cannot keep. That’s what I’m here for, to fix as many things as possible.
Has more attention been given to major projects, which are abstract, such as the “climate garden”, than to basketball?
That’s what I told them. First basketball! That’s what it’s all about first and only then comes the rest of the project. But they did the opposite. And for patrons, this is not ideal. Here, too, there is a break.
Would you say Ilan Bernier has been very American this year?
Somewhere, yes. We Americans see ourselves first, but that’s not the way to do things. To give you an example, one of the reasons I regret it as a player is not making the time to learn French. It was disrespectful. I will do it now. On a larger scale, we should have shown more understanding, be more present.
How are these famous links recreated?
We must rediscover the family atmosphere that once reigned in the palace. When I played it was full, this is no longer the case, why? This is my number one concern, rediscovering the electric atmosphere that DJ Cooper and I loved here. Of course, I know there has been Covid, with rugby and football in recent years becoming more and more important, but there are things that need to be done. There is also a space created with partners, especially locals. They were able to sense that we were looking down on them, and my priority was to show them the opposite, that we love basketball and this club as much as they do. The story is there, we’re just expanding it, we need it for that.
I’ve been there already for the past few months, have I failed to make CSG understand that it’s not working?
My hands were tied. I was there but my voice wasn’t heard enough. Since then, David Otto has taken full control of the operations, realizing how seriously what was being done. He decided that all of this had to be fixed, which is why he put me in this position. David Otto is a serious man who does what he says. He will do everything to correct the situation.
What did David Otto finally decide to act on?
The fact that the project did not take the direction it should. There are also these things being said throughout the club, including what is being done internally, these are warning signs that I have talked about and that ended up being taken into account. Before, he was very busy working in the cryptocurrency space and working as a lawyer. Then he refocused on basketball and worked. Now, we are going step by step and we will not give up. You know, I’ve attached my name to this project, and I’m very proud of it, and my reputation depends on it.
My hands were tied. I was there but my voice wasn’t heard enough. Since then, David Otto has taken full control of the operations, realizing how seriously what was being done.
Wasn’t the biggest warning sign the complicated financial situation?
I don’t want people to imagine that CSG has no money. But they trusted him to attract sponsors, perhaps too much because that’s not the case in the end. It took a long time for that to stop, maybe a long time.
Fans dread seeing the club disappear, with this two million euro shortfall, Greg Hughes who preferred not to comment… Can you tell us the club will continue?
It made things worse, I agree. And no, the club is not going to disappear. I totally understand the crowd’s reaction when he said he’d rather not answer. They waited so long to work and now we have so little time to do so. But it is possible, otherwise I would not talk to you. the pressure ? It works both ways. I love that. Maybe people, CSG included, will find that I talk a lot, but that’s what I am now! I think the time is right, and we’ll get there.
In the near future, the CSG gave you the keys?
That said, I’m here until they find the person they’re looking for. Yes, I don’t know all the details, I’m the opposite of basketball, but the point of all of this is basketball and it’s my whole life. I have to surround myself with the right people, I don’t have the ego to tell myself I’m a general manager, nor am I afraid to say I have a lot to learn.
Do you understand that your appointment raises questions, you are a “newbie” who discovers the job …
I have mentors, like François Lamy with whom I talk a lot (editor’s note: ex-Athletic Director of Asvel and Kaunas, who will be joining Borg), and everyone had to start somewhere. The best were all starters, that’s how it is! I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I was born for this.
I don’t want people to think that CSG has no money […] And no, the club is not going to disappear.
How do we build the team with all these concerns?
We are too late. This is also a red flag I waved at. Team, preparation begins in January. This is the most stressful, and the hardest. They said this year will be a transitional period, and I think next year will be especially. We need to lay the foundations.
How do the players react to the situation?
I’ve seen them in the last two games, and they’ve shown us what they deserve, and I don’t have much to add. They have overcome the challenges of this season, and they are ready. As for what’s to come, the best teams are those with the strongest core. Look at Dijon when they’ve performed in recent seasons. We have Brandon, Giovan and Gregor who is a key player as well. Justin too, and I’m so proud of him. He knew how to put his ego aside. He is young but understands.
Pepins’ contract has expired, so will Alain Bernier keep him?
He wants it. But it will depend on our financial ability to do so. I want to keep it, the fans love it and it loves it here. Maintaining this foundation will allow us to make the right transition.
And what is your relationship with Eric Barczyke, whom you knew as a player and who you discover as president?
I had to adapt. As a player I adored, he is a man who is very accessible and understands players. It doesn’t kill you, it pushes you to do better. It is the right position to build on a good foundation.
Do you imagine the future with him?
Of course ! We’ll talk about that, talk about how we can build all of this.
We are very far behind (on the athlete). Team, preparation begins in January.