François Pinault, supporter and patron of Stade Rennes, finally satisfied

François Pinault at Roazhon Park before a match between Stade Rennes and Nancy, August 20, 2016.

At least his rival Bernard Arnault cannot say the same. Tuesday 20 October, just before 9 p.m., at Roazhon Park, François Pinault will listen with a heavy heart to the Champions League anthem, before attending the debut of “his” Stade Rennes in the most prestigious European competition against the Russians of Krasnodar. Of the great French fortunes of the CAC 40, the Breton is the only one to own his football club. “Stade Rennes is part of their family, it has become like a cousin, said same Frédéric de Saint-Sernin, Deputy Chairman between 2006-2010 and 2012-2014. She’s not a dancer to shine at dinner parties to whom you give a ticket from time to time. “

Officially, the 84-year-old billionaire passed custody of the “cousin” to his son François-Henri (58), just like for his group Kering. But in fact, Stade Rennes has remained somewhat of its own, since its takeover in 1998. “It’s an emotional choice at the start, ensures Jacques Delanoë, current president of the board of directors of the club and close to the family. For example, François-Henri Pinault told me that until he was 16, his room overlooked the Route-de-Lorient stadium. [devenu Roazhon Park en 2015]. Mr. Pinault wanted to give back to Brittany what it had been able to give him by helping the club to develop as it made the lift between the first and the second division. “

Twenty-two years later, the elevator still points to the elite floor, and the supposedly cold man turns sentimental when it comes to his “Red and Black”. Especially when success finally arrives, after years of losing the Coupe de France finals against neighboring Guingamp (2009 and 2014) or stumbling off the podium at the last second of the last day (2007).

“Soft belly” and management of a good father

President Delegate on three occasions between 2000 and 2017, René Ruello reveals the owner’s emotion after the Cup victory in 2019. “We were in the mayor’s office before presenting the trophy to the supporters and he told me: ‘I have had successes in my business, but never an emotion like this. François Pinault is first of all a lover of his club. “ But a discreet lover, who asks the various coaches for permission before entering the locker room.

After this victory in the final against Paris Saint-Germain, Rennes ceases to be the team which achieves the feat of never winning anything, while having one of the owners among the richest in European football. In his time, M. de Saint-Sernin made up with this image of “loser”. “I lost three Cup finals, but before, there was no risk of losing them since the club had not been there since 1971. The club grew at its own pace and I was careful with the owner’s money. “

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