Stade Français owner Hans-Peter Wild has given his full backing to coach Heyneke Meyer despite the club’s poor start to the French Top 14 season.
With two wins and six defeats from their opening eight games of the season, Stade are languishing at the bottom of the table and Meyer is under increasing pressure to turn his team’s fortunes around.
A section of the Stade fan base is also calling for Meyer’s axing and media reports circulating in France claim that the South African is close to being sacked. But billionaire owner Wild has rubbished the rumours and insists that Meyer will stay on as head coach for the foreseeable future.
‘We have an excellent coach. We don’t need to discuss the quality of our coach,’ Wild said. ‘I have never planned to hire another coach. I haven’t talked to Gonzalo Quesada and I haven’t talked to Vern Cotter. I haven’t talked to anybody. The coach is the coach. Period.’
‘There are clubs who change their coach every two years. It’s easy. A company is the same thing. If you have a problem, what do you do? Fire the CEO. New CEO comes in, if you’re lucky he turns it around. In two years the problem is back, fire the CEO again.
‘Or you have a long-term programme. I’m one who loves long-term success with the same team,’ he explained.
Wild, who is from Germany, also shut down widespread criticism of Meyer’s inability to speak French fluently.
‘It’s as big a problem as we make it a problem. I run companies with 15-20 nationalities, what do we do? We speak English,’ he said.
‘There are some people who can learn languages and there are some that will never learn a language. There are other people like at Paris Saint-Germain, Thomas Tuchel he learnt French in two weeks. Heyneke will never learn it.
‘He’s not a great communicator, not even in English. I need a translator to talk to him sometimes. His South African accent is tough to understand. But he’s a very professional and excellent coach,’ he added.
Meyer took over as Stade head coach in 2018 and led the team to an admirable eighth-place finish on the log at the end of the 2018-2019 season.
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