July 28, 2021

The Ineos project: The reasons for failure

On August 28, 2019, OGC Nice was acquired by the English group Ineos. Soon two years after this takeover and the big ambitions exposed, this project is heading straight for failure. But what are the mistakes made by Nice and Ineos? Review of the reasons for an unexpected failure with the help and expertise of @White pants.


OGC Nice spent 10 million euros for Maolida / VALERY HACHE / Getty Images

Before Ineos arrived, OGC Nice had a recruitment policy that worked wonderfully. Recruit foreign nuggets, players unknown to the general public by spending little money and with possible big capital gains. Seri, Atal, Dalbert, Ricardo Perreira, Carlos Eduardo, Bénitez are all revealed players at the Gym. Now that Ineos is running the club and Nice can spend more easily, this policy has been put aside completely.

The leaders focus on young players who have already played in Ligue 1 like Saliba, Kamara, Todibo, Ounas, Claude-Maurice … If some players like Gouiri or Flavius ​​Daniliuc give satisfaction, others bought very expensive like Dolberg or Maolida have a harder time confirming. But this recruitment is not working. Nice is stagnating and seems to be moving away from European places year after year. French clubs are presenting much more ambitious plans with better recruitment strategies, such as Lille and Monaco who are currently fighting to win Ligue 1.

“The European qualification obtained under the background of Covid in the spring of 2020 suggested that we were going to take a step forward.”

Sky Nissa

Modern football wants that. Today the clubs are convinced that the more young people there are, the more efficient the club will be. Except that in Nice, recruitment is taken to the extreme. The Nice squad only has two players over 30, Morgan Schneiderlin, arrived this summer and Dante (injured this season, Editor’s note) who is at the end of his career.

The die-hard Gym supporter draws similar conclusions, “We persisted with extremely young recruitment, with little or no managerial staff (Morgan Schneiderlin being the only confirmed player) to support the development of the new generation. There was therefore no one capable of mobilizing the troops on the European scene, nor in the event of a hard blow, such as Dante’s injury..”


Kasper Dolberg struggles to find his best level / NICOLAS TUCAT / Getty Images

An alarming finding which results in insufficiently authoritarian and poorly controlled performances even when the opponent opposite seems less well armed. For two years, Nice has been the youngest squad in the French championship. Ineos’ recruiting strategy plunged the eaglets into the middle of the table.

If the team’s results were below expectations, it is also because the choice of coach did not match the ambitions of the project. Going from Lucien Favre, who had the best season with Nice for 40 years, to Vieira, a novice coach, was already a strange choice at the time. If the ex-Arsenal player arrived before the club’s takeover, the strategy of keeping him turned out to be a fiasco. In recent years, Nice has however sought to enlist renowned coaches such as Favre or Claude Puel who had already won in Monaco, Lille and Lyon.

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira failed to impose his ideas on Nice / John Berry / Getty Images

Sky Nissa gives him his opinion on the choice of entrusting OGC Nice to a trainer with so little experience: “Patrick Vieira was a gamble himself, a young coach with little experience in the profession despite a huge playing career. Was this the best choice for working with young players? I’m not sure, and it will be necessary to see the identity of the future coach of OGC Nice to know if the project changes course in that direction.

Giving the keys to a team as ambitious as Nice and his new project to a coach who only supervised a youth team and an MLS team was a far-fetched idea. If Adrian Ursea seems to have the confidence of his leaders for the end of the season, Nice will have to find a coach who can fully exploit the potential of this team.

Ineos based their sports strategy model in the same way as that of the Austrians at Red Bull. The company specializing in chemicals does not hide it. Jim Ratcliffe wanted to establish himself in the sports field, after cycling, sailing, athletics, hockey and now football. But copying a model is not necessarily synonymous with success.

With its teams in Austria, Germany and the United States, Red Bull has forged a successful empire. Founded in 2009, Leipzig reached the semi-final of the Champions League in just 11 years.


Ineos’ strategy is similar to that of Red Bull but does not have the same return / VALERY HACHE / Getty Images

“The objective is to take OGC Nice to a new level”

Julien Fournier

Conversely, Ineos is based too much on the Austrian model and cannot manage all of its structures. If the Ineos team works well in cycling, there is another observation to be drawn when it comes to football. Lausanne Sports, a Swiss club that Ineos bought in November 2017, descended to the second division at the end of the season in 2018. Before the arrival of the English, Lausanne was fifth in the standings.

“They created an inordinate wait, compared to the investments made.”

Sky Nissa

OGC Nice was a club that played the leading roles to qualify for the Europa League. Today, the Gym is in a disappointing ninth place and seems to be stagnating. The recruitment, the choice of the trainer and the sporting strategy of Ineos will have finally hurt the eaglets. When he arrived on the Côte d’Azur, Jim Ratcliffe announced that he wanted to meet his goals in three to five years. After two seasons under the English flag, the observation is clear, this project is heading straight for failure.

For Sky Nissa, the Ineos project is not yet buried but the leaders must strengthen the team with players who have accumulated more experiences: “It remains essential to recruit a confirmed player per line to be competitive in Ligue 1, while creating the best environment for the most promising young people to flourish. It’s a complicated equation to solve, it will also depend on the prestige of the coach, since there will be no qualification this season to attract top players, but it is a necessary step if we want to settle down. in the French top 5 on a perennial basis, “