« Helpless », Red Star supporters could not prevent the sale of …


« Helpless », Red Star supporters were unable to prevent the sale of their popular football club to an American investment fund. The « power of nuisance » of the ultras weighed little against the logic of football business.

The sale of this historic club based in Saint-Ouen (Seine-Saint-Denis), one of the oldest in France, took a political turn with a column published Friday in Le Monde, signed by several personalities, including the leader of rebellious France Jean-Luc Mélenchon, asking to « block the sale » of « this common good ».

Two days later, Sunday, the « anger » and « disappointment » have not disappeared from the aisles of the Stade Bauer. The Ultras organized in this centenary den the first edition of the « Festi’Bauer », « a free popular festival with associations of Saint-Ouen », explains the leader of the group of ultras Vincent Chutet-Mezence.

Before, a wreath was laid in front of the home of Doctor Jean-Claude Bauer to mark the 80th anniversary of the death of the communist doctor shot at Mont Valérien during the Occupation.

« It is this history that we want to continue to preserve », insists Vincent Chutet-Mezence. « We don’t want these people », in reference to the American fund 777 Partners which has just bought the Red Star, club of National (third division).

The amount would amount to 15 million euros, according to a source close to the club. Around the stadium, the graffiti and banners are unequivocal: « 777 OUT », « 777 Not welcome ».

– « an arm of honor » –

« We are not utopians, it takes money to make a club live. What worries us is the nature of the investor », explains Jérémy, ultra for 20 years. « It’s an American fund based in Miami that doesn’t give a damn. The day the club has a problem, it will sell, » he said.

Red Star supporters unfurl the flags from their balconies on April 8, 2021

Red Star supporters unfurl the flags from their balconies on April 8, 2021


For President Patrice Haddad, who retains his post, 777 Partners is on the contrary « the best choice to guarantee and perpetuate the values » of the club, « while giving it the means to open up new perspectives ».

« We sell to an investment fund, it’s the worst thing in the football business », declares bitter Dimitri Manessis, co-author of a book on Rino Della Negra, striker of the 40s, engaged in the Resistance. « It’s a finger of honor at 100 years of history, » adds another ultra.

« Powerless » on the transfer of the club, the supporters had however « succeeded in imposing the dialogue for the construction of the new stadium », confides Mr. Manessis. Under pressure, the French real estate group Réalités, owner of the Bauer stadium, had amended its plans for an ongoing renovation.

The Red Star, one of the oldest French clubs (1897), has a « history very rooted in the left, which explains the opposition », analyzes Pierre Rondeau, professor of economics, specializing in football.

But investors see in French clubs « growth prospects » and buy « at low prices clubs with high financial valuation », indicates the economist. And future TV rights estimated at several hundred million euros are turning heads.

– law Project –

Red Star players eliminated in the Coupe de France by Lyon on April 8, 2021 at the Bauer stadium

Red Star players eliminated in the Coupe de France by Lyon on April 8, 2021 at the Bauer stadium


And the Red Star is « a refurbished stadium, an address in Greater Paris, a breeding ground for players to spare », explains Pierre Rondeau.

Faced with these arguments, it is difficult for supporters to weigh in on decisions. « The history of French football is not made up like in Spain where the supporter is a shareholder », explains the professor. « We have a hierarchical mode of governance: the shareholders direct and the supporter supports! »

« In the collective unconscious, the shutdown of the Super League (note: an almost closed European championship project bringing together some of the biggest clubs on the continent) was made possible thanks to the rebelliousness of the supporters, so it is a strength motivation », explains Mr. Rondeau.

But the supporters « have only one power, that of nuisance », by striking for example. And if « the results follow, many end up being silent », he assures.

The Red Star ultras have not said their last word in the fight against their new owner. « We will do everything to get him to leave as quickly as possible, » assures Vincent Chutet-Mezence.

Supporters were received Friday at the National Assembly by Communist MP Marie-Georges Buffet, former Minister of Sports and Eric Coquerel. The elected LFI announced to AFP on Sunday that the New Popular, Ecologist and Social Union (Nupes) was going to think about a proposal « for a law to prevent the situation from repeating itself ».

By Wafaa ESSALHI / Saint-Ouen (AFP) / © 2022 AFP


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