End clap for Ujap Quimper. Les Béliers play at Vichy Clermont at 8 p.m. this Friday, May 13. It’s their last meeting of the championship. A complicated season between injured players, health crisis and a group lacking in dynamics. We take stock with the president of the club, Bernard Kervarec.
A promising start, a break and then a tumble
The start of the season is rather successful for the Aries: after a false start, in one month, they plant four victories for a single defeat. Then there was Nantes on December 23, “we took a beating and there was a kind of break”, recalls the president. Next winter is harsh : players are waiting for February 8 to sign their first success of the year 2022.
In this wide hole of air, there is the defeat in the semi-finals of Leaders Cup opposite Evreux. Bernard Kervarec summarizes, not without bitterness: “We won the first leg by 18 points. We lost the return leg by 19 points. We were eliminated for one point. We are not remaking the film but I don’t understand what happened.”
We quickly had to play every game with the threat of relegation in mind.
What followed was a leap forward: three victories (including a revenge against Nantes), then a relapse with a series of four consecutive losses between March and April. “We got through it. We lost a lot of matches that we should have won. So we played under pressure and fear of losing until the end.”
Result, it is the tumble in the classification and in the objectives. That posted to play the play-offs at the end of the season, in other words to finish in the first nine, is left in the locker room. This May 13, the Aries will return to the Vichy floor being 14th.
Injuries and a health crisis that eat away at the budget
It must be said that fate has not always been kind to Ujap. The club faces many injuries and must recruit quickly. “It was a complicated year at the sporting level. We had to take freelancers who were not necessarily at the level so it disrupted the team.” A team that might have seen itself a little too high, according to the director. A kind of Narcissus that ends up falling into its own basket: “We may have seen each other a little too good, last year we finished 4th, the year before 3rd… But we had exceptional players that we didn’t have this year”
Bad luck, there is also the health crisis which has cut off several sources of club income. “We had planned two matches at the Arena in Brest which we had to cancel for example.” Finally, the League summoned Ujap to participate in the Espoir championship, and here are a few more tickets that fly away: “This year we were in the red, I hope not to have a season like that next year”
“I failed again and again in my life. And that’s why, I succeeded”
Expressions that evoke the benefit of failure, there are a lot of them; but this one seems circumstantial. This season, as rough as it was, allowed the club to notice what had not worked well. “We are formatting the club a bit. We are going to set up a kind of recruitment cell, so that the trainer is not alone in this. We are already thinking about next year’s recruitment strategy. This will allow us to avoid repeating the mistakes of last year.” explains the president, “we are going to keep the same budget of 2.4 million euros. A third will be dedicated to recruitment.
In the end, we will remember that Aries are maintained in Pro B, “we are doing well, we are happy and relieved”. But after the “phew” sighed by a whole bench and the whole Michel Gloaguen room on Saturday May 7 during the victory, not without suspense, against Tours, the president is already working on the rest of the events: “We will try to recreate a positive dynamic. The goal is to keep going. We are relatively optimistic, reasonably optimistic let’s say. You have to be careful, it goes fast.”
You have to hold on to the new room.
The high level also demands a lot from the infrastructure. Bernard Kervarec longs to be able to play his club on the floor of the new hall, planned in the Hippodrome area. Because a new room is new cash flow “The room will arrive in 3 years so by then we have to hold on. We will have dressing rooms, spaces for partners. There is a demand for that, today we have almost nothing left to sell, all our dressing rooms are full so it’s complicated”, concludes the president.
This newcomer will have 3,500 places, it is about a thousand more than the current hall of Ujap. The supporters will undoubtedly be there, because the club has succeeded this year in making each home game a real spectacle. Especially since Aries in the second national basketball division, it is not on every street corner.