Montpellier president Louis Nicollin announced on Tuesday he will quit the club at the end of the 2014/15 Ligue 1 season.
The outspoken owner of Montpellier almost single-handedly dragged the south-eastern French club into Ligue 1, taking charge of the then-amateur outfit in 1974 and becoming the sole shareholder 15 years later.
In 1987, Montpellier returned to the French top tier and went on to the win the Coupe de France in 1990 and the Ligue 1 title in 2012.
Nicollin was crucial in rebuilding the club that almost went bankrupt in the 1970s but he revealed on Tuesday that the upcoming season will be his last in charge.
“I am stopping here, on the day that the club was founded 40 years ago,” the 71-year-old told French radio station RTL.
“I will go and see the matches but I should never do too much this season.”
While Nicollin has been a huge figure for Montpellier, the waste collection magnate has also been the centre of some of the most disrespectful and – at times – comical incidents in French football over the past few years.
Essentially, Nicollin has been a walking newspaper headline.
Amongst other things, Nicollin once used a homophobic slur to describe Auxerre’s former captain Benoit Pedretti, claimed former AC Ajaccio coach Rolland Courbis earned promotion to Ligue 1 with “half-retarded players”, and followed through on a pledge to dye his hair orange and blue when Montpellier were crowned French champions in 2012.
Just last week, Nicollin mocked former Montpellier midfielder Remy Cabella’s decision to join Newcastle United.
“He wanted to go. I wasn’t happy but I told him ‘congratulations’,” Nicollin said.
“In England, there is Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, which are above Newcastle, but Newcastle is a club with a lot of French. He likes them, so great.
“Personally, I would not go to Newcastle. But hey, I’ll see him when he plays against a club in London.”