Normandy, land of American football

Founded in 1872 and considered to be the oldest club on the European continent, the HAC (Havre Athletic Club) went under the American flag. At least on an accounting level: the nationality of its main shareholder, Vincent Volpe, makes it a club with foreign capital.

American by his passport, the latter is French at heart – he has been married to a Norman and Le Havre for thirty years. This industrialist, long boss of Dresser-Rand, a petroleum equipment factory, bought this club in 2015 from its owner Jean-Pierre Louvel, who was looking for a buyer capable of meeting the eternally disappointed ambitions of this club.

Stars like Vikash Dhorasoo or Paul Pogba

Sitting on one of the best training centers, which has produced stars like Vikash Dhorasoo or Paul Pogba, and with a brand new stadium built by the town hall in 2012, the HAC has been knocking at the door of Ligue 1 for years. There is still some way to go before finding those of the elite and profit, because the accounts are still in the red.

The deficit reached 3.7 million euros for 2018-2019, according to figures published in March by the National Directorate of Management Control, which certifies the accounts of professional clubs. The situation is exactly the opposite 120 km further south, in Caen. Benefiting from € 600,000 on the evening of the 2018-2019 season, the local club was relegated to Ligue 2 and experienced a nightmarish following season, interrupted by the Covid on the slippery slope of additional relegation. For a long time in the hands of a dozen local bosses who are passionate about football, the shareholding divided by internal quarrels did not resist.

The art of “trading”

Under the leadership of one of the ten, Pierre-Antoine Capton, television producer, the club was sold on August 24 to Oaktree, a Californian investment fund brewing 120 billion euros of assets in real estate and leisure industry.

“The economic model of our Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs today requires increasingly significant financial capacity and solid equity”, explained the shareholders, promising 15 to 20 million euros in new money. The keys were entrusted to a former player, Olivier Pickeu, who became a manager of sports companies. In particular in Angers, where he was a past master in the art of “trading”, buying and reselling with the benefit of players.


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