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Saboteur

28 August 2016

Thomas Driesen



An article appeared in a Belgian magazine (www.sportmagazine.be) about Roland Duchatelet's football methods, and scans were posted on twitter (thanks, @ibnkafka). Here's an extract, quickly translated by me. For copyright purposes, this is probably as much as I can get away with.
So who are the other scouts “in England and elsewhere in Europe”? One name keeps coming up: Thomas Driesen. O’Loughlin admits that he met Driesen while he was trainer at STVV but doesn’t know him any more than that. In fact no-one seems to really know him. Apparently a twenty-something with little football experience. That’s all anyone knows. Try to find out more and you hit a wall of silence: Duchatelet won’t talk about him; neither do his close associates.  Driesen himself, listed on Facebook under an assumed name, doesn’t reply to any contact.
A search on Google gives some help but may  be misleading since the author refers to a “Thomas Dressen”. Denis Lapiere, a walloon comic artist and long-standing supporter of Standard Liege, is working on a series about power struggles within a football club. Hence his fascination with the machinations within his favourite club. In November 2015 he joined in a blog debate about the sporting fortunes of Standard, and he seems to be very well up on the internal politics of the Liege club. He wrote: “For his sporting options, Duchatelet consults Christophe Dessy, Dudu Dahan and his two personal advisers (Dylan Salomon and Thomas Dressen) as well as the scouting teams of the clubs in his stable."
Driesen apart, these are names that appear regularly in the media. Dessy is currently the manage of the Robert Louis-Dreyfus Academy. Dahan is Luzon’s agent; Duchatelet has blind faith in him, and he has negotiated transfers on behalf of Standard. Salomon is more than just an intermediary: he’s behind almost all the transfers of players from France to Duchatelet’s clubs. Unlike Dahan, Salomon has always worked for him.
And Thomas Driesen? He is the mysterious “network scout” that Luzon spoke of. The man who, based on statistics and videos, gives the green light (or red light) to the signing of any player.

Otherwise, the article goes on to say that Driesen impressed Duchatelet with his chutzpah, rather than his actual experience or ability. Remind you of anyone?

Out of nowhere, Driesen sent Duchatelet an email pointing out all the things Standard had done wrong, and "explained" why Mario Balotelli had missed a penalty. Duchatelet made him his "sporting oracle", but, according to the article "success has not yet been achieved".

Driesen appears to have a preference for small, skillful players, perhaps not best suited to the Championship.

A final quotation:
After a defeat, the coaches would often find an email in their in-box, full of comments and recommendations for what they should do in the future. The email was signed by Duchatelet and cc'd to Meire and Driesen.

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