The last time Laurent Vila came to Bourg-en-Bresse, in March of 2021, he learned from our columns that Alain Bernier was preparing to fire him. Jeremy Lellop responded forcefully: “It’s unacceptable to move forward like this.” Thirteen months later, if he refuses to confirm it himself, Cholet Basket uses his trip to Al Ain to announce diametrically opposite news: Laurent Villa will remain at the helm of Cholet’s squad for two more seasons.
President Jerome Merignac explained to us: “When we changed the coach last year with Laurent, we first signed a one-year contract, with the possibility of renewal.” “The goal was to produce the best game possible and stay in Betclic ELITE. It has been shaping up for a few weeks and that’s it, since Friday we have been sportingly maintained. Mission accomplished and improved. There is no reason why we cannot honor our commitments.”
In the heart of winter a “real sporting storm”
A happy ending for the Catalan artist after a very turbulent first season at La Meilleraie. While playmaker CB was relegated to the First Division for most of the first leg matches, he was placed on an ejection bench in the heart of winter. If Cholet had lost at Fos-sur-Mer on January 28 in a fear match (81-69), a week after his inexplicable collapse to JL Bourg at La Meilleraie (77-69 to 79-81 in the last two minutes) , Laurent Villa may have been thanked by his commanders. Instead, the victory in Provence breathed new life into the team and the Mauges are now virtually unstoppable (10 wins in the last 12 games), like the first half at Ékinox (57-31) where they “played superbly” according to their coach.
“We stuck with each other,” the president recalls. “We worked as a team with the management, the staff and the players. The situation was complicated at the time. We won the mini-championship with the teams in the last quarter of the table, we won the victories we needed, plus the average basket, that was very important for us. And eating mayonnaise continued to contribute The recruits.Everyone has upped their game and it’s really a good period at the moment.On the contrary, the winter has been very complicated.There was a real sporting storm and a lot of things going on around the club, which meant we weren’t at our best Cholet.But we held. “I said I wasn’t going to give up because I didn’t want to jump ship in the middle of a storm. The best response came from the field. The staff and players did just that, and we’re so happy for the club, staff and fans who are coming back to fill the Meilleraie to the crowd that ran out.”
The group is now focused on the playoffs
(Photo: Jack Cormarch)
For his part, the main interest, Laurent Villa, refused to comment on the extension of his contract, arguing that “it is too early to talk about the next season.” On the other hand, he agreed to hand over the healing prescription from Cholet. With the same concept of solidarity, which the president highlighted a little earlier in the evening.
First, we have remained united internally, at the level of the team, the device, and the club. It was the most important thing. After that, we continued our belief in our team, what we put in the right place. We also made defensive adjustments because we had a streak where we conceded 90 points per game. There was also input from TJ Campbell and OD Anosike, to put players back together with others in need of creators. All this means that we are starting in a different dynamic, with victories and confidence. »
His coach’s future is locked, and president Jerome Merignac can now work “on the restructuring of the club” with the expectation of two new CEOs: a general manager to replace Thierry Chevrier, and a sporting director. Enough to allow Cholet Basket to better approach her 36th season in the elite, with the ambition to regain her former prestige.