Women’s French team: Corinne Deacon, the Iron Lady at the heart of tensions

“The coach makes choices, that’s normal. When she called me to let me know, the call lasted 14 or 15 seconds. I will remember it all my life. “Bitterness transpires from Amandine Henry ‘s voice when she recounts the episode of her sidelining from Les Bleues. The anecdote, told during an interview-settling of scores granted to the Canal Football Club on Sunday evening, says everything about the resentment that exists between the captain of the France team and her coach. It also says a lot about the one that critics seem to converge on.

“Even if she is often right on the merits, she often crashes on the form, slips a close. She does not care what we think of her, whether it will hit a frame or to justify itself to the clubs. She is convinced that her only mission is to constantly prove herself by winning matches. But she forgot that in this position, you also have to think about the context and management. What a Didier Deschamps, he understood very well. “

The career of this pioneer, the first woman to have coached a professional men’s team in Clermont (2014-2017), is marked by this recurring criticism. In her autobiography “My star”, OL defender Wendie Renard spoke of “four years of captaincy swept away in five minutes” when Deacon told her that she was removing his armband. Lyon goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, who refuses to return to the France team as long as it is a coach, attributes a “very negative climate” to her. In Auvergne, with the boys, his authoritarian management has earned him to put part of the group to the back. But no one, however, is claiming that she does not have the level for the job.

“Corinne Deacon teases people”

“What is a shame is that she is also a person who has a lot of professional qualities. She knows where she wants to go and, in Clermont, her recruitment had been very good. She had perfectly known how to revive players, explains the former Auvergne goalkeeper, Franck L’Hostis. Rigor does not prevent being human. She said her door was open but, in fact, she made people uncomfortable talking. She has like a block to really speak. The truth is that Corinne Deacon teases people. “

In private, everyone praises a personality far removed from the professional and media image, forged over the years in a stammering women’s football, then in a deeply macho world. The employees of the French Football Federation claim to cross in the corridors of the headquarters of the Boulevard de Grenelle a woman a little shy and smiling.

“She is able to change her face in seconds, it’s impressive,” describes a former player, now retired. When she coached me, I couldn’t dig into her shell. I met her again after my career, I had the impression of seeing someone else. “

“She is not there to pamper the executives”

“She is very demanding at work,” says Claude Fort, one of the leaders of the Soyaux club where she still lives. She is not there to pamper the executives and does not grant privileges to anyone. If you come as a competitor, she will be on your side. But the small wars of statutes, that does not interest him. “

Convinced that it was necessary to shake up the habits of a team accustomed to stumbling in the quarter or semi-finals of its competitions, Deacon tried to “put the Blue in commando mode” in sight, says a relative, in view of the Cup. world 2019 in France. “After the World Cup, the coach wanted to do individual interviews, said Amandine Henry on Sunday. I told him during this interview that I had not been 100% fulfilled during the World Cup. Sportingly but also humanely, because I have seen girls cry in their rooms. Me too, it happened to me. It was total chaos. “

“She had to change her working method after the World Cup, but she locked herself in her bubble with her convictions. This is what will lose her, ”criticizes a club leader. However, some officials of the Federation still want to believe in reconciliation. “She will have to be more flexible to sort things out,” says Franck L’Hostis. And I don’t know if she is capable of it… ”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.