Through Aline Chatel
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The information that Foot Normand has revealed is now official. Johan Gallon is the new coach of Mondeville. Holder of the BEPF, the professional coaching diploma that allows to coach in Ligue 1, he will therefore put his know-how at the service of a Regional 1 club. The one who hopes to “create enthusiasm through values, games, results” has been a lucky man since Cyril Deloffre, the new co-president of USONM, asked him to do so. Maintenance.
John, why Mondeville?
Because it’s a long story. I was a maid when I joined the USN (the American Normande, which merged with the USOM to create the USON Mondeville, editor’s note). Pupils, minimum, U15 Nationals… The year of the merger is upon us, I play here for a year, at USONM, while I am under contract with Stade Malherbe. Because we played at the same level, I came back to play here with my team. I’m a club kid, I know the story. I also think we have lost the thread of the story. It is a club that was located at the Stade Malherbe 40, 50 years ago. No one remembers there were 4,000, 5,000 people in the Colombelles stadium. We were called the workers’ club. We ended the workout with our feet all black as there was fumes from the SMN. It gave off something. Our leaders, our coaches were often people who worked at the SMN. They taught us values that are gone today.
That’s why I’m here, because I love this club. There are two clubs in my life: Stade Malherbe and USONM. I want to restore color, joy of life, because this club has been through very complicated times. It’s the heart that speaks, it’s just that. When you have a vocational diploma and you come to train in R1, you can say to yourself “but he is crazy”. Do you have to train in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 to be a good person? To me it means much more than coaching at a national level, which I could have done. It’s a project that appeals to me much more than signing with National.
Still, many people will wonder why you start coaching in R1 with such a diploma…
Football is complicated. You don’t live the daily life of a coach… What makes a coach happy? What brings him happiness? Is it to be at the highest level, to be under pressure all the time, to be in an environment where values are sometimes trampled underfoot? I don’t know… I know being in Mondeville appeals to me. What other people think is not important.
“An age when I need that”
This corresponds to my personal balance: my wife, my daughter-in-law, my grandmother, my father. It is much more important to me than what others will think. I come here with a lot of humility, with a will to work, to give color and above all values back to this club. I think the club has lost values. I want the stadium to be full, I want to have great adventures like in Granville. For some it is decline. I’m getting to an age where I might need that.
Are you planning to stay in Mondeville for the long haul?
At the end of the year we draw up the balance. Today I commit as if I signed for life to the club. One day it will stop. When I commit, I put in 100%. I will never cheat. The most important thing for me is to bring forward the values of the club. It’s not because I have the BEPF that I’m the main one. The most important thing is the club. The church must be placed in the middle of the village again.
How do you plan to handle it?
We bring these values into work with rigor, respect, humility. We will find very strong virtues, create community between the players, the leaders, the volunteers. The showcase is the first team, but there is an entire club behind it. We have to color everyone. The goal is to become general coach of the club with Thierry (Traoré), so to keep an eye on the youth as well. We must not forget that Stade Malherbe was our number 1 competitor in my time. When we played in the Basse-Normandie cup, we beat them in the final. We’ve lost that. Tomorrow, the club’s training should bring players to the first team. A maximum of Mondevillais may be present at the club. I also want to help Claude (Gherardi) and Cyril (Deloffre), very simply.
What will your role be at this club, besides training the first team?
The entire athlete will be under my responsibility, especially from seniors to U18s. From U16 to beginners, I rely on Thierry (Traoré), who finds an internship. It’s an important position for him. He knows how to do it, he is important. The arrival of Romain (Hengbart) in the B-team is no coincidence either. We put in someone of value, who loves the club and who has played for the club. It is in the continuity of my coming.
You will inevitably be anxiously awaited…
It is a profession where someone is always expected. It can put pressure on others. There isn’t even pressure. We’re not going to play our lives, we’re just going to play football games, with coaches that I know for the most part, good players, good teams. I have a pretty global role in the club, I don’t just come to train.
“Make people laugh”
How was last season without a club?
We met at a family level and I did things differently. Granville’s new management behaved abnormally towards me. I’ve never talked about it and I won’t say more about it, but it hurt me a lot. This is one of the reasons why I didn’t want to start on a project right away. Therefore the cry of the heart is strong. This is the most important to me. It’s not a matter of level.
Did you imagine the possibility of returning to Mondeville as a coach?
No. I must have seen three games by the end of the season this year. I never thought of that. When we talked about it, I felt the club needed help. We’re going to restructure, we’re going to bring positive vibes to this club, we’re going to make people smile. It’s much more important than the rest. Football is something that brings people together, football is something popular. If it’s just restrictions… Stop. People come to the stadium now, just for fun.
Will Mondeville be a candidate to join National 3 next season?
We’ll even skip two divisions directly (smile). Frankly, I haven’t met the players, I don’t know which team I’ll have, I don’t know who I’m going to miss. Am I playing matches to lose them? Until early September. I’m not concerned. We will manage to make a competitive team without money.
Without money ?
Do you want my salary?
987 euros gross. I do it with passion. I was happy for a week. Nobody forced me to come. I am happy about the mission that awaits me, to share it with Romain (Hengbart), with Cyril (Deloffre, Co-President), with Claude (Gherardi, Co-President). I find it exciting.
What excites you?
To give back to my club what it has brought me, the career that I have made. Today he is in trouble, he needs help. You need to know how to give something back some day. We reach an age of 44 where we have peace. Everything went well.
“In R1, some have the impression that they are great players…”
Is it easier to put together a competitive group if your name is Johan Gallon?
It may help, but it’s not just the name, it’s the sports project. Many have followed what I could do in Granville, especially in the work, in the rigor, in the philosophy of the game. They also know that many of the guys I had had professional careers. In R1, some feel like great players. I will try to be as professional as possible. They may be embarking on an adventure that they have not yet had the opportunity to experience. It can be great for anyone. All the better when there are guys who are making progress and that brings them something as players and as men.
Are you giving up on the idea of coaching a pro club?
No. I am a trainer, I live from my passion. I have the chance to decide what I want to do. Maybe in a year, two years, three years, four, it will be to go to the highest level.
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