“Scout” for 15 years for prestigious pro clubs across the Channel, the Stéphanois Romain Poirot was at the ASSE Robert-Herbin sports center in L’Etrat 2 weeks ago. One more session to connect with high-level football youngsters organized for his Stef Cares association. Objective: to fight against the scourge of the telephone while driving. And Romain Poirot knows what he’s talking about…
“And now we start again but by texting. Listen carefully to the briefing. » The training session is indeed not really called, this Wednesday, at the Robert-Herbin sports center of ASSE. Romain Poirot, 43, is on the job. He directs three successive exercises to which, divided into two teams, a dozen young people, aged at least 18 and already drivers, are involved, playing in women’s D2 (it will be in D1 next year), if not still at the center of mostly training. Already pro him, Louis Mouton, 21 years old appeared 16 times this season in the first team, is the best known figure and not the least skilful of the session. Romain Poirot is however not an employee of the Saint-Etienne staff but a recruiter for Arsenal, a talent scout more precisely. A “scout” as we call the job across the Channel where he was given his chance 15 years ago. Anglo-Saxon:
“I had this job deep inside me but I had neither a diploma nor solid experience to show off”, says this ex-player of the high amateur level, originally from Terrenoire and passed by the “one” of Firminy or the reserve of Valence, at the time when the club oscillated between National and D2. Still a player, he already enjoyed going to observe the young talents of his clubs. Having become a salesperson in the Paris region, it was through a relationship, an agent whom he accompanied on his travels, that he suddenly came close to his current environment. Neither one nor two: a conversation about his passion is enough for a manager of Nottingham Forest FC to give him a chance. Obviously with satisfaction since, seconded in Ile-de-France, then in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, with the status of consultant, more rarely via a permanent contract, Romain Poirot will chain Manchester City, the group of the champion of England (the “City football group”), Watford, Manchester United and therefore, Arsenal for which he has been operating since 2021 mainly in the region, while living in the agglomeration of Saint-Etienne.
From a tragedy was born a fight
This May 24 in Saint-Etienne however, Romain Poirot did not perform on the spot for that. But because 4 years ago, her life changed again. In the wrong way this time. His son, Stefan, 4, and his wife died in a car accident on a straight in L’Isle-d’Abeau. The gendarmerie informs him that we found at the feet of his wife who was driving her laptop, the screen open on a professional e-mail to which she had tried to answer… A tragedy which he wanted to make a strength, a fight . Almost immediate. “Very quickly, like an epidermal reaction, I founded the Stef Cares association with relatives with the aim of raising awareness among young drivers but also companies. We’ve all done it and yet this obsession isn’t really worth it… It’s only an object but for a real addiction: behind the wheel, only looking at the road should count. Me, I had already calmed down after a big fright: I found myself on the left lane facing a truck in 2012 while trying to answer an SMS. I miraculously escaped it thanks to a last minute swerve. »
“25% of drivers write text messages while driving”, “312 people die each year, following accidents related to the use of the telephone while driving”, “46% of drivers make calls while driving”, perhaps read on the home page of the Stef Cares website. The association can count on a dozen very active volunteers, including high-level trainer and technician Erick Mombaerts. “Each one brings interpersonal skills and very professional skills in communication and pedagogy. So it was quickly yes, even in the design of awareness sessions. What we have developed has called on the research work of scientists on addictions and neurology. My sidekick Mickaël Lopes is behind a workshop specific to companies. » Objective: to realize that two activities carried out at the same time lead to a cognitive overload that prevents any activity from being carried out effectively and without error, even the one for which one has been so good, so trained, so accustomed for years…
An educational kit distributed to Aura clubs
This is the version adapted for football clubs from the workshop of Stef Cares that young players from ASSE have therefore followed, as have done before them, those from OL, Niort, Troyes, Strasbourg or even PSG (U 15 in this case), about thirty clubs in total, including amateurs as well (Firminy and Roanne for example) depending on Romain Poirot’s relationships, agenda and opportunities. With the idea, obviously through football which affects so many people, to particularly hit the mark with young audiences. For this, no moralizing guilt but a demonstration in relaxation which consists of performing in a contest between two teams by performing a dribbling exercise, portable in hand. Then a second and a third time, reading and responding to ever more complex requests. As in preparing for a match, a video session then analyzes the “performances” and highlights the lessons to be learned.
These teachings, Anthony Briançon, 28, captain of ASSE, who came to observe his young colleagues, already received them several months ago. “My agent knows Romain Poirot well, hence the connection. His story is terribly touching… I agreed to participate in the design of an educational kit for the association alongside Jordy Gaspar (Grenoble, Editor’s note), Maxence Caqueret (OL) and Benjamin Corgnet (ex-ASSE, today in Bourg-en-Bresse). It concerns us all this stupid habit: we are all a bit stupid to do that and I have become aware of it. It’s hard to stop but this small satisfaction in relation to the risk taken for oneself and others is so not worth it. » This kit project, developed in partnership with the Aura League of the FFF and the regional prefecture, will make it possible, thanks to content compressed in a USB key, to supply all the regional clubs. This is enough to deploy awareness in a more systematic way within young and senior teams.
A business-specific workshop
This “democratization” of the approach which now interests the FFF on a national scale has already left the football sphere. While we are thinking of an adaptation to rugby, it is also already aimed at companies via a specific workshop. The Lyon drivers of the public transport company Kéolis, which provides, in DSP on behalf of Sytral Mobilités, the TCLs have just benefited from it. “But the problem is not limited to carrier companies. I am thinking of all these sales people in particular, of all the companies that are criticized for not responding to requests while they are on the road.notes Romain Poirot. This pressure must stop and leaders must adapt their demands. Companies are primarily responsible for this: when you think about it for a second, it’s crazy that employees often have the reflex to apologize for not having answered: “sorry, I was driving! » For once, indifference would be good.
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