Raf’s manager evolved in the Gironde at the beginning of his playing career. Even though he never played in the first team, he enjoyed his time at the club that faces Rodez, Saturday, August 6 at 7pm in Paul-Lignon.
JI have very good memories of my years in Bordeaux.” For Gregory Ursule, the manager of football Rodez Aveyron, the arrival of Bordeaux in Paul-Lignon, Saturday, August 6 at 7 pm, is not just a prestigious poster. It also reflects his personal story, he who had passed through the Girondins at the beginning of his career.
Just 18 years old and after a successful season with Rodez, crowned with a rise in National, the midfielder joined the club in the scapular in the summer of 1995. Made a leap into the big world with his friend from the Ruthenian midfielder, Sylvain N’Diaye, a year older than him.
With his friend Sylvain N’Diaye
This reunion is nothing to chance, as the two friends of Aveyron wanted to go to the same club. “We got along really well in Rodez and it’s always interesting to have these kinds of benchmarks when you change your environment”explains Gregory Ursule, who shared an apartment with the future Senegalese international for two years.
“They may not have been the brightest players, but they were conscientious, diligent and hardworkingsays Jean-François Teffo, coach of the two players of the national cadets. Gregory had a big showdown in the middle, he was ubiquitous on the field. It was a lung.”
In the choice of destination, training club reputation played in favor of navy and white. But not alone. “I could also have gone to Toulouse, Lens or Renneshe reveals. My parents insisted that I do a double university project, which was possible in Bordeaux. And then it’s a high-quality club.”
Taking a course in Staps also helped him withstand his first hard blow: a fracture of the cruciate ligament in a knee, sustained shortly after his transfer. “I couldn’t grumble with the university next doorhe said. I was also able to benefit from a very good medical follow-up and a very good infrastructure to return as soon as possible.”
“He always thought of the collective”
Once on his feet, Gregory Ursule managed to make his mark in the reserve led by Gernot Rohr. Because of its qualities as a restorative environment, but not only. “He was a very good element. During training he was always available and had a positive spirit. I built the whole environment around himcompliments the Franco-German technician. He always thought of the collective. He was a team player and he was very good on a human level.”
First meeting with Zidane
The Gironde legend had also entrusted him with the captaincy. The Aveyronnais also took part in training sessions with the professionals, including future world champions Bixente Lizarazu, Christophe Dugarry and… Zinedine Zidane. As a nod to fate, as he then knew the former Blues playmaker on the benches of the Center for Economy and Sport in Limoges, where the two men obtained a degree in sports management. Then as part of his duties at Raf, when “Zizou” became a shareholder.
Victim of a second injury to the Crusaders, in August 1997, the midfielder saw his stay in Aquitaine polluted by injuries. “Without that, I think he could have had a better run than the one he had, which is good.says Gernot Rohr. He was on the same level as “Sly” (N’Diaye, editor’s note), but didn’t have the same success.”
Despite his injuries, Gregory Ursule was able to live the 1996 European epic from the inside, which ended with a lost UEFA Cup final to Bayern Munich. “There was a lot of euphoria insidehe remembers. We also benefited from a strong enthusiasm, as the team had many young people from the region.” And even if he had to move to other places in 1998 to start his professional career, he has very fond memories of his career with the Girondins. “I learned the high level there”explains the one who then went to the second division with Ajaccio and Gueugnon, after an interlude with Rennes’ reserve.
And his memories are not limited to the green rectangle. “I’ve kept friends. Some haven’t made a career, but also players like Kaba Diawara or Anthony Bancarelhe said. And I don’t forget that the area was pleasant. In the spring we often used our free time to go surfing. The only thing I regret is that I was too young to appreciate wine!”