Roger Lambrecht in its usual place: behind the wheel, next to the training ground , ready for the troops to fireplaces.
The last relic of the old Flemish voetbalcultuur, Sporting Lokeren, for sale. ‘The football is much changed. Ge should be more and have more money or you can not anymore’, sighs the 87-year-old president Roger Lambrecht. ‘It is my age, hey. I have to be careful or we’re in misery’
First division Lokeren Wednesday in a statement distributed. It says to read that chairman Roger Lambrecht (87) in the club during the current season wishes to sell. “There is …
First division Lokeren Wednesday in a statement distributed. It says to read that chairman Roger Lambrecht (87) in the club during the current season wishes to sell. “There is searched for a transferee that the club cares and has sufficient financial resources at your disposal.” Read below the interview that The Standard previously had with Lambert about his departure.
It is five to twelve on a weekday Thursday afternoon, just before the outbreak of Operation “Clean Hands”. After yet another afzwaaier with a shot to the goal, speaks the body language of president Roger Lambrecht volumes. Shook his head, he let the electric window of his shiny grey Audi gently dichtglijden. “They find it so difficult to the goal, hey’, he takes down the shoulders.
It is typical for the left in atmosphere at Sporting Lokeren, an old-fashioned familieclub where players and directors will be available for supporters and the press. Including no-nonsense chairman Roger Lambrecht, now working on his 25th season at the head of the club.
Peeking to ploegopstelling
One phone call and we had an appointment at the edge of the training area in Daknam, where the flamboyant chairman of Audi, to habit park between the trees, the training of his team carefully. To take to be able to peek into the possible ploegopstelling for the next match, and that afterwards a chat to be able to save with the trainer.
After a warm greeting, his face immediately gloomy. ‘It’s not going well with the team’, he crosses from the shore. ‘It is all about. Against Cercle, we get a goal against in the last two minutes against Club Brugge, we get a penalty in the 97th minute. The 97th minute, sir.’
For Lambrecht, 87 years now, it is all a bit too much. ‘Oh to be young, I’m too old’, he admits. The flamboyant chairman comes later and later from his bed and still less at Daknam. ‘How much I still have to go to training come and have a look? One time per week. In any case much less than in the past.’ But his kennersblik (in a far past, it was Lambert ever even player-coach in the second provincial Standard Lokeren, ed.) is still very sharp. ‘Tiens, Peter (Maes, who was still a trainer, red.) has scrolled. I don’t understand’, said he to me.
A quarter of a century already, he keeps Sporting Lokeren in first class, today renamed the Jupiler Pro League. But in that time, the football changed a lot. ‘It’s the brokers and the managers who all decide, not the president, he sighs. “And the players have even less to say, except if it’s about their wages. That continues to rise’, grins Lambrecht.
And so it is for a club like Lokeren every year more difficult to make the ends financially to tie up. Especially after 2015, the year in which the club the last time a hefty profit of 5.6 million euro could be books, thanks to the transfers of Hans Vanaken (to Club Brugge) and Alexander Scholtz (to Standard). Since that was the sporting and financial only downhill.
Old-fashioned business acumen
To the despair of supporter, number one, Roger Lambrecht, who is now concretely, this work makes a sale. A year ago, the club transformed from an association to a plc. And now is a consultant KPMG engaged in Lokeren an inventory of the assets and liabilities of the club, and this to the club ‘at market conditions to be able to sell.” ‘When? If the right buyers come in, I am immediately. Preferably before the end of the year.’
The question is how much Lambert yet for his club can ask for. Who is looking around herself, immediately know why. Gut instinct and old-fashioned business acumen to reign for 25 years at Daknam. Visitors are there in the stadium not welcomed with glossy photos of the new stars (and new jerseys), but with a giant poster of an old corryfee like Jan Koller shines.
Outdated locker rooms
The seven paid employees and dozens of volunteers each week to unselfishly committed to the club, according to Sport-Voetbalmagazine work in conditions that a professional football club undignified. Squealing fitness equipment, small, outdated locker rooms, no doctors on the winter training and the players that during the week from lack of space to stand in the tunnel.
Marketing and merchandising are as good as non-existent, just as automated scouting and data analysis. ‘That time has been standing still? Well, those people are right. I would like the stadium to refresh. But you should be able to pay, hey. That will take at least 10 to 15 million euros. We have here in the city of Lokeren, not enough people for. Come here every week, but 4,000 to 5,000 people look’, gets Lambrecht the shoulders. ‘The two years, we have a player to sell in order to survive. And there is at least one or two million profit.’
Each invoice counts
And so, turn Lambrecht years, is already aware of the investment to the business. Each invoice must be submitted to the chairman, who, with the appropriate suspicion of the middenstander about judges. That may Lambrecht afford. As at home, in his spacious estate in Eksaarde, and in his family business – a bandencentrale with more than 100 branches – everything is at Sporting Lokeren property of the 87–year-old self-made man. To the door handles. And that he lets his entourage like to feel.
Who is obedient, he will reward. Just about the whole family has a job in the bandencentrale, including a number of grandchildren. But who gives you a hard time or not performing, know quickly who the boss is. In its unadulterated Lokers dialect is that unceremoniously put in his place, alternately familiar and cursing. Because Lambrecht knows and sees almost everything.
If necessary, follows the dismissal, as recently sporting director, Willy Reynders, at the beginning of this season, the piper paid for his failing transferbeleid. Or, more recently, general manager Frederik Schroyens, who, because of ‘little ceo’ also door behind him dichttrok.
Leekens and Maes
But also trainers who against Lambrecht dared enter under Bob Peeters and the Icelandic duo Kristinsson-Vidarsson – were at Daknam never have a long life ahead. Especially when they publicly insisted to the club faster to professionalize.
As soon as the results, grabs the chairman Lambrecht, after all, invariably return to the successful recipes of the past: three times was that Georges Leekens here trainer. Two times Peter Maes, who barely a week after a night in the cell had to spend because he was named in the scandal around the fraudulent activity of players ‘ agent was fired and replaced by Trond Sollied.
All the disastrous 6 on 36 of Lokeren and the last place in the ranking may be the main reason for that dismissal. “If we bags then it is done with Sporting Lokeren, we can never straighten’, know Lambrecht, like no other, that a demotion for the Wase club is the ultimate nightmare.
18 to 20 million
The easiest solution to such a order to avoid, as soon as possible a suitable candidate-buyer. And so was yesterday a higher gear and switched officially to a press release issued that Lokeren for sale.
According to Lambrecht allowed the interested parties both in his own region as from abroad. Who calls, is today unknown. On the rumors about interest of the father of Olivier Deschacht or Glen Jansssens, popularly known as the emperor of the signpost, cross Lambrecht nietswetend the hands in the air. And in the past, all overnamegesprekken place with potential investors from China, Qatar, Japan and Russia. But at the last moment, went there’s always something wrong.
Money above romance
But this time seems different. “It is the age, hey. If I wait longer than we sit in the misérie’, Lambrecht honest. ‘If there is already a candidate-buyers? There have already been called. Especially managers, but I have personally yet with no one negotiated. Or I might want to sell to foreigners? Only if that can’t be helped.’
To then subtly add that first and foremost is money on the table will need to come up. “How much the club cost? However, the infrastructure here at Daknam is ever on the 8 million euros is estimated, and the players are together for sure also 10 to 12 million euros worth’, count Lambrecht aloud. Or how an 87-year-old self-made entrepreneur now once no tricks to learn in football is money always the top romance.