Football: Collet: “I have absolutely no intention of selling Xamax”

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The La Maladière boss denies wanting to part ways with the Neuchâtel club. Barely a week before the resumption, he conjures up the secret ambitions of the “Red-Blacks”.

For Jean-François Collet, owner of Xamax since the end of 2019, there is no question of breaking away from it.

fresh focus

With the top two automatically moving up in the standings and a third that could also move up depending on the outcome of the play-off against the last in the Super League, the 2022-2023 Challenge League championship promises to be exciting and perhaps even more balanced than it seems at first sight. Presented as a natural favourite, Lausanne might be a scarecrow on paper, but what will happen on the ground?

After a disappointing final exercise that ended it in the soft underbelly of the leaderboard (6th), Xamax has some solid arguments to make. To the point of being the surprise team forgotten at the time of the predictions? This is the wish of Jean-François Collet, its President. Before the Neuchâtelois’ last preparatory game (this Sunday at 3 p.m. against Basel on the FCB campus), the manager of La Maladière explained.

Jean-François Collet, what can we expect a few days before recovering from Xamax?

Everything is possible, nothing must be forbidden. Climbing is not the goal in itself, but if it were to come about, of course we wouldn’t hesitate to go to the end. Xamax will enter its championship with a good team, but not necessarily the best.

“With Lausanne, there is a form of financial inequality that distorts competition.”

Jean-François Collet on the LS-produced transfer window

Can’t it be considered a lack of ambition not to be open about promotion when at least two tickets are guaranteed winners?

In that sense, Xamax actually has enough talent to be the surprise team. We’ll play our shot thoroughly. If you’re aiming for a place in the top five, it can be 1 and 2, but also 4 and 5. Unlike in Lausanne, you’re not doomed to move up. The people of Lausanne will feel the pressure, especially when you know how much they have invested. In the case of Lausanne, the result is a form of financial inequality that distorts competition. After that, everyone is free to spend their money as they see fit…

Why did you miss some items that might have been useful to you? We’re thinking of Nicky Beloko (Editor’s note: links to Lucerne) for example…

We could of course have chosen to keep them, but that would have gone against the philosophy of Xamax. The racquet must also be a springboard. Beloko was on the street when we picked him up in Fiorentina 18 months ago. By shining with us, he opened the doors to the Super League. It’s a win for him, it’s a win for us too. And I think we found excellent players to replace those who left.

“Before we proceed, we wanted to involve the Ultras by presenting them with our first project, which they validated.”

Jean-François Collet on the Xamax logo change

Before the takeover, the main change is mainly visual, with the appearance of a new logo that gives pride of place to Xamax’s past. Why such a change?

We wanted to modernize our logo while sticking with Xamax’s historic “X” from the ’80s, which resulted in Serrières’ presence disappearing in the new graphics. Our old logo was difficult to adapt on a daily basis, mainly in terms of merchandising.

The new Xamax logo highlights the historic

The new Xamax logo highlights the historic “X” of the Maladière club

Changing a club’s logo also means attacking its identity, an initiative that is very often misperceived and rejected by the grassroots. What happened in this case?

It turned out pretty well, although there will always be people who are against everything. Before we continue, this time we wanted to involve the Ultras by presenting them our first project, which they validated. If they had clearly told us no, we would have said stop and we would have stopped there.

Although you have owned Xamax since November 2019, you are regularly presented with an intention to part with it. This rumor has even gained momentum lately. Simple question: Do you want to sell the club, yes or no?

There is no question! I have absolutely no intention of selling Xamax. I’ll tell you again, I have everything but desire, I haven’t spoken to anyone. On the contrary, I plan for the long term. The club is making progress, we’re going in the right direction.


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