Marcq-en-Barœul accelerates to become the first Hauts-de-France club in Pro D2

The northern club, based on the National 2 (4the Division) continues its unstoppable rise. He has just started a fundraiser with a declared goal: to reach the antechamber of the Top 14 as quickly as possible.

How far will Olympique Marcquois Rugby climb, 150e in the hexagonal hierarchy are there five more years? Club Marcq-en-Barœul in the suburbs of Lille has swallowed up three divisions since then and just got into National 2 (4th place).e Division). And it doesn’t want to stop, as its President Olivier Gradel confirmed in Figaro. “ We’ve got two seasons on our hands to get promoted to National. Two to three more arrive in Pro D2. Then there is the structuring of the project and the uncertainty of the sport. They can be the best organized and sometimes fail on the field. We may have to wait a little longer…You’d swear it’s not on the roadmap of this ambitious and hasty leader, who took over a €1.8million club in 2018, as he’s brimming with projects to make OMR the flagship of northern rugby.

In early April, therefore, he launched a fundraiser and played on the local fiber to raise capital, he who is the main shareholder alongside the association. “We are initially looking for 1.5 million euros. We will launch a second identical fundraiser within two years.” And it works. “At the end of June we are halfway to our goal with people betting people between 1,000 and 50,000 euros. I think we will have it at the beginning of September. We are in talks with investment funds that are able to make the switch.Namely a dozen investors who weigh 60 to 70% of that first bet (against a hundred others, more modest). “Profiles linked to the territorial identity of the project‘ the leader specifies. Including for the largest contributors. “Members of the Mulliez family (which owns, among others, the brands Auchan, Décathlon, Boulanger, Flunch… the last three of which are already sponsors of the club, ed. editorial) will enter the capital as shareholders.»

This new money, Olivier Gradel already knows how he will use it: “the establishment of a training center to deal even more efficiently with young people; Strengthening of the administrative structure, especially the commercial area; the recruitment of experienced players.“Another step at a club that is already surprisingly structured for the level at which it is developing. “We have really worked on a communication strategy and put in place an administrative and financial structure to ensure monitored and sound management.The club, which is set to become 80% professional, will have a €2.5m budget for next season (including €500,000 to run the amateur federation). “We’ll be in the top 3 of National 2 budgets…»

On the infrastructure side, the OMR can make people jealous

Also on the infrastructure side, OMR can generate a lot of envy. “We are extremely spoiled recognizes Olivier Gradel. We’re playing at the Villeneuve d’Ascq stadium, which is worthy of some top 14 and Pro D2 clubs.“Currently under renovation, the enclosure hopes to host a selection base camp during the 2023 World Cup.And then, in Marcq-en-Barœul, the historic heart of the club, we now have thanks to the help of the MEL, the region and the city (who have invested 3 M€, editor’s note) brand new facilities: a superb clubhouse, seven changing rooms and three pitches including an artificial grass pitch. This allows us to work in exceptional conditions.»

“We work hand in hand with the surrounding clubs and the Hauts-de-France league to create young people. After that, you must be able to keep them. »

Oliver Gradel

With a perfectly formulated strategic axis: promoting local talent. “We work hand in hand with the surrounding clubs and the Hauts-de-France league to hatch youngsters. After that, you must be able to keep them. For the past ten years, between 15 and 20 high-potential kids have left the region each year to be approached by Top 14 and Pro D2 clubs. We can’t stop her from leaving. But if we offer them a quality project, half will be left to strengthen our base ‘ hopes Olivier Gradel.

A claimed regional anchor that awakensthe support of the local authorities since the start of the project. The Métropole Européenne Lilloise (MEL) and the region have supported us from the start because they dream of a big rugby club north of Paris, the 5the metropolis of France. It is our strength to unite the clubs of the metropolis (eight in number, editor’s note), but also further: Valenciennes, Saint-Omer, Hazebrouck… The higher we go, the more we will attract a large audience, also from Belgium“. Olympique Marcquois recently played in the play-off against Oloron in front of 4,000 fans. A nice result for a match of 4e Division…

An interest in the oval sphere set to explode in 2023.”Lille are lucky enough to host five World Cup games. A rugby festival is taking place on the Place de la République. We therefore hope to double the number of licensees in Hauts-de-France (today 10,500, editor’s note) in the next three years. “Always with this tropism of a strong local identity, Olivier Gradel wants to bring back”well-known players, bridgeheads from the region» noting that a «fifty top 14 and pro D2 players started rugby in Hauts-de-France“. Such is the case of the Tolofua brothers, the whore Christopher (RCT) and the Marcq-en-Barœul-educated Selevasio (Stade Toulousain) of the third line. “Maybe we can get her back“, dreams the President of the OMR.

The episode of moving from Biarritz Olympique to Lille as a “stepping stone”

The episode of last summer’s move from Biarritz Olympique to Lille, which would have dashed Olivier Gradel’s ambitions, is now a long way off. The leader now conjures up this hypothesis as an opportunity. “A stepping stone. It put us on high alert. We were not immune to a “takeover bid”. It pushed us to speed up our structuring, form an SA, start this fundraiser, because in any project, money remains the nerves of war. Yes, it made us question ourselves to go faster.Was the danger real? He smiles. “I still find it difficult to believe in the reality of the project that such a transfer would have been possible. This would have created a jurisprudence that would have caused one hell of a mess. The FFR probably wouldn’t have allowed it because it would have opened the door to everything. But I understand what BO shareholders are going through. You invested a lot of money, made promises of returns that were not kept…»

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