Farewell Jean-Louis Triaud, Bordeaux's father figure for 21 years

On Thursday March 9th, Jean-Louis Triaud announced that, after 21 years at the helm, he was stepping down from his role as chairman of the Girondins.

In what we might term as "mutual agreement" with club owners M6, the 67-year-old retired Médoc wine sector player is moving on to a new, low-maintenance role on the board, while the position of chairman is to be taken over by former banker Stéphane Martin.

This change marks an unexpected end of an era in the club’s history. There have been ups and downs during Triaud’s tenure, but the legacy he leaves is both successful and healthy: twice Ligue 1 champions (1999 and 2009), three times Couple de la Ligue winners (2002, 2007 and 2009) and a Coupe de France title in 2013; not to mention numerous European campaigns, the highlights being quarter-final stage matches in the Champions League (2010) and the UEFA Cup (2004).

The club has also grown and developed in keeping with the times, moving to a new stadium, enhancing the training facilities in Le Haillan, and branching out into new territories (such as by launching a women's team a couple of years ago by merging with Blanquefort).

Above all, in the wake of the announcement, many have saluted the personality and approach of the former chairman, who was popular among supporters in spite of frequent differences of opinion. He became renowned for his pragmatic, no-nonsense analysis of the first team’s shortcomings, his self-deprecation, his dry sense of humour in press conferences, and his old-school father figure approach to both running the club and managing its staff - from backroom employees to star players. Oh, and also for his chain-smoking!

Although originally a rugby player, his conversion to football was a natural one. He was an effective coordinator, overseeing operations and getting involved in the thick of it whenever necessary. In a Sud Ouest piece published in the wake of the announcement, Triaud is quoted as saying that he wasn't so much drawn to the financial and administrative side of running a club as he was to the sporting aspects: "That's why I'm where I am. It enables me to experience emotions by proxy with a group of youngsters who are, on the whole, good guys."

The duties have been handed over to new chairman Stéphane Martin, 46, originally from Bordeaux and a long-time supporter of the club (he is reportedly an authority on the history of the Girondins). His experience in the banking sector, holding a management position at Santander bank in Madrid, would suggest that the club is moving into a new era focused on objectives, targets and a healthy bottom line, but time will tell. His first statement was to reassure onlookers, saying that minor, gradual adjustements were on the cards, but that a complete overhaul was out of the question.

A new era then for the Girondins and its parent company M6, and a new, quieter, more peaceful life for the likeable Jean-Louis Triaud; who will be missed by everyone associated with the club.

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