He had practically created the function of sports director. Robert Budzynski, who worked thirty-five years in this position for FC Nantes and thus contributed greatly to the coronation of the “canaries” in 1995, died Monday July 17 at the age of 83, learned Agence France-Presse (AFP) with his family.
Former player of Lens and Nantes, “Bud” had been French international eleven times in the 1960s. Central defender, he led the two campaigns of the first titles of champion of France of FC Nantes, in 1965 and 1966, with the team trained by José Arribas, the initiator of the “Nantes style game”.
Born in Pas-de-Calais and trained in Lens, he spent the rest of his life in the service of FC Nantes. His playing career was abruptly halted by a tibia-fibula fracture at the age of 28, from which he was never able to fully recover. He then served for a long time as the club’s sporting director, a position then brand new in French clubs in the early 1970s, which he helped to define.
Budzynski was one of the builders of the teams of “Coco” Suaudeau, champions in 1980 and 1983, then especially of the legendary FC Nantes in 1995 with Patrice Loko, Christian Karembeu, Nicolas Ouédec and Raynald Pedros, champions by losing only one match .
As a sports director, he notably unearthed Vahid Halilhodzic in the former Yugoslavia, Jorge Burruchaga at Independiente or the Chadian Japhet Ndoram in Cameroon, at Tonnerre de Yaoundé. At the training center he participated in the hatching of Marcel Desailly or Didier Deschamps, current coach of the Blues, and of the champion generation in 1995.
Robert Budzynski had played eleven times for the France team, including the three matches of the 1966 World Cup. He had notably led with Robert Herbin and Jacky Simon the rebellion of the players against coach Henri Guérin and his assistants, asking to play zone, as in Nantes, and not to individual marking. This will not prevent the defeat against England (2-0) and elimination in the first round.