Nantes have been a staple team in Ligue 1 for many years and apart from the odd speedbump with relegation to Ligue 2, Nantes are a respected team who always try and aim for a European spot.
This season has seen the club perform their best consistently in a few seasons and by the half way point they are in 4th place and heading for a Europa League finish. Indeed they are just four points behind Rennes in 3rd and that position would lead to playing in the Champions League qualifiers. It has been over 20 years now since Nantes last appeared in the elite competition.
Nantes want back in the big time, that much is clear and they may just succeed under club owner Waldemar Kita. The Polish multi millionaire bought the club in 2007 and seven years later France Football named him as the best executive in French football. But it hasn’t always been an easy ride for Kita.
Last year he was accused of fraud and some reports suggested that he tried to push Emiliano Sala out of the club when the player tragically died in a plane crash on his way to his new club Cardiff. It has got to the point where banners have gone up by fans wanting Kita out of the club and in the summer he rejected a 60m euro deal to sell the club. That would have meant a 50m profit for Kita, but sources suggest that if he does sell he would hold out for 100m euros.
So Kita has had his troubles, but he also has a vision. One that was rejected by Nantes council last year. His major plan was to build a new stadium where Nantes play. The project had been dubbed Yello Park and would have seen at least 200m euros pumped into the project or the same amount that PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar.
A few months back Kita said in a press statement: “The future stadium is important to football fans in Nantes. Beyond our personal commitments for this project, this stage will be, for the decades to come and for the benefit of several generations, in the continuity of more than half a century of Nantes’ love for football. Nantes and its supporters deserve this ambition and this vision of the future.”
Kita may have his detractors, being the city of Nantes and some fans, but he does have a vision for the club and future projects, and that seems like a positive step. But how bad do Nantes want this change? New stadiums don’t mean success just extra revenue, which in a perfect circle can lead to success.
The future is unwritten at Nantes but there is a scent of hope that the club can return back to their glory days.
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