As indicated by RMC Sport, John Textor will buy the shares of Pathé and IDG put on the market last March. The American businessman, who already owns Botafogo and RWD Molenbeek, is working hard on his network to achieve his goals.
This time it’s the right one. After numerous discussions, John Textor is going to buy back the shares of Pathé and IDG, put on the market last March. The American businessman, who came to prominence through the development of fuboTV (a sports-focused streaming company listed on the New York Stock Exchange), therefore discovered a new club. But unlike Botafogo and RWD Molenbeek, clubs he owns, he will simply be an ‘active’ shareholder in OL.
At the same time, he has also held 40% of the shares of Crystal Palace since August 2021 (the Eagles finished 12th in the Premier League this season, editor’s note). A large catalog that is part of his method: to create a network of clubs. To do so, he attends an average of 250 matches a year and studies the teams in order to have a precise idea of what he wants to put in place in each of his formations.
Since his arrival last January, John Textor has mainly worked with his Brazilian and Belgian clubs. In Botafogo, the future Lyon shareholder did not hesitate to sack coach Enderson Moreira as soon as he arrived, despite the Serie B title won the previous season. A choice disputed by the fervent followers of the Brazilian club.
The “Botafogo Way”
The latter was not compatible with the “Botafogo Way” (The Botafogo style) that Textor wants to put in place within three to five years, as he explained in the columns of Globo in February. “I want people to see us play from the academy to the professional team and recognize what we are trying to do,” he said, detailing some clues about this famous method: skillful defenders with blood – cold, who know how to dominate the ball and distribute the game, even under pressure; speed in all positions, especially on the sides and a team capable of keeping the ball, especially against opposing pressure.
To manage to find players corresponding to the criteria, John Textor, who does not speak a word of Portuguese, wants to establish a privileged relationship between Brazil and Portugal, the European country being “a bridge”, “an intellectual stage” for the Brazilian players. “There is a greater connection between Portugal and Brazil. A desire of the Portuguese people to watch and try to understand the Brazilian game, the players of Brazil,” explains Textor. For his first season as owner of Botafogo, the club currently occupies 7th place (out of 20) in Serie A.
A Crystal Palace-Molenbeek link to be strengthened
Inspired by the game of Bayern Munich, John Textor uses this famous method of the “bridge” with Molenbeek, resident of the Belgian D2, located in a disadvantaged district of the capital. In order to promote the Belgian team, the American businessman would like to create a bridge with Crystal Palace, a club in which he owns 40% of the shares, by sending young Eagles nuggets on loan to Molenbeek. However, this path is still in the running, given that the Belgian club does not yet face the country’s elite (Anderlecht, Club Bruges, Union Saint-Gilloise, etc.)
However, the arrival of John Textor has given Thierry Dailly a smile. “The state of mind of everyone at the club and of the supporters has changed since John arrived in Molenbeek in January, explained the president of Molenbeek to The Athletic in April. When he arrived, nobody thought only of at the end of the season we would be in the play-offs. We just thought we wouldn’t be relegated. He helped the players’ mindset, and gave everyone more conviction. John came to introduce himself and explain his plan. He assured them that he had a real plan. It was not a plan for the next two years.” In the fight for the rise in the Jupiler Pro League for his second year in D2, Molenbeek lost in the play-offs against Seraing (0-1, 0-0), after finishing second in the season behind Westerlo.
In action this summer at OL
Whether in Botafogo or Molenbeek, John Textor uses his sports network to advance his various projects. A few days ago, representatives of the Belgian club visited the Botafogo facilities to discuss. “I think Botafogo and Molenbeek are very similar in terms of fans, they are two very popular clubs in their country and it can be very interesting to share these experiences, to work together. For example, we can bring Botafogo fans to Brussels, to create this family”, explained Julien Gorius, sports director of RWD Molenbeek, in the club’s media.
Lyon will therefore not be the first and only club in the Textor galaxy. The latter was very attracted to the ‘basketball side’ of the OL project with the presence in the Lyon environment of Tony Parker and the hall which should open in 2023. Foster Gillett was however favored in this file ten days ago, having met Jean-Michel Aulas for a long time in the South of France. JMA will obviously remain in the management for the time that has been defined in the act of governance. A large sum will be put by Textor in the transfer window this summer.