AS Nancy Lorraine striker and 4th top scorer in Ligue 2, Mickael Biron recounts his unusual career.
A year ago, Mickael Biron did not have a professional contract. Three years ago he was still playing in Regional 1 in Martinique. Today it is the heyday of As Nancy Lorraine. With twelve goals for his first professional season, the Martiniquais relishes after a chaotic journey. From the precariousness of the Swiss amateur championship, to the quarter-final of the Coupe de France with Epinal, through a Gold Cup with his island, Mickael Biron is 23 years old and has already had several careers in one. He confides in his career, his adaptation to the professional level and Martinican football.
Three years ago you played in Martinique R1, today you are among the top scorers in Ligue 2, did you expect such an explosion?
No I didn’t expect that at all. I’m already very happy to get this far. It was difficult to get to professional. But turning pro was only a step, I worked a lot to get there and be among the top scorers in the championship.
After your bad experience in Switzerland (an agent took money from him leaving him with an amateur license), you hesitated to give up football?
Yes, I only wanted to play on my small island in Martinique, I didn’t want to go back. Just play with my friends. I moved to a company where a friend of mine was in charge, took training, and got hired to repair air conditioners. For me, my future was not in football.
Finally, a goal in the Coupe de France against Epinal (2018-2019 edition) will change your life?
I played with my team, the “Golden-Lion” (Golden Lion of Saint-Joseph, editor’s note) in the 7th round of the Cup against Epinal. I score in the match and behind the coach of Epinal calls me. I hesitated a lot because of what had happened in Switzerland. Finally I joined the club and I’m here today, so yes this goal has changed my life.
Are there days when you still have a hard time convincing yourself that it’s real?
Yes there are mornings when I wake up or when there are no games, I tell myself that it’s still beautiful what I did.
The Coupe de France is therefore an important competition for you …
It represents a lot! If it weren’t for the Coupe de France in Martinique, I don’t know if I would be there. This year I followed the course of the Franciscan Club a lot, moreover before signing at Epinal I wanted to join this club. I have a lot of friends who play there, they said to me “Don’t worry Micka we will do the job and we will play in France.”
“You have to play and train like a pro”
You who come from amateur football, what do you think of the end of competitions?
At home in Martinique, the competitions have not been stopped, it still continues to play football. It’s difficult for the amateurs, it’s not going to be the same football when it starts again. They don’t even know when they’re going to be able to replay, it’s hard for those who were playing climbs. For me it stopped at the wrong time.
At 23 it’s your first season at the professional level, what needs the most adaptation compared to the amateur level?
The adaptation is done first at the technical level, at the level of endurance. I was told it was going to be difficult at first. You also have to adapt with players who have more professional experience. You have to play and train like a pro.
Did you rely on your teammates?
A lot of people, a lot of friends in the professional world told me what to do to stay. I was told: “Micka, when you are in the middle there are a lot of things you have to work on, a lot of things where you have to improve.” It’s important to rely on people who have the experience, who know what it’s like to be a pro.
The coach (Jean-Louis Garcia) has an important role in this progression?
Yes we have a very good relationship, a “quiet” relationship. He gives me a lot of good advice, in training he is behind me saying “Micka do this, do that, improve yourself in that”. He taught me a lot of things. We’re having a good season with Nancy, although of course we could have done better. It’s a shame because we only find our football now. (As of March 17, Nancy is 9th in the Ligue 2 standings and remains on four victories in the last five games, Editor’s note).
“I don’t want people to spoil Martinican football for us”
During your rich start to your career, you also played the Gold Cup with Martinique (competition organized by Concacaf), was it important for you to represent your island?
Of course it’s important, that’s where I grew up, I find it important to play for your island. I think there should be more international competitions for Martinique. We have a lot of young people who know how to play football, but as we are not very well known, we have trouble developing. We give everything to the Gold Cup so that we can be seen. We the pros try to talk about Martinique to try to get as many players as possible.
Do you have this role of ambassador?
Yes of course, I take this role to heart. I don’t want people to spoil Martinican football for us, as I said we have a lot of young people who know how to play, but we don’t see us as big clubs. In addition, there are often teams from Martinique who go far in the Coupe de France. It would take more detections, that Ligue 1 teams come to Martinique to see the clubs play. At the moment it’s difficult with the covid, but I’m going to talk about it with the sports director (Paul Fischer) so that he comes to Martinique (laughs).
In three years you went from R1 to Ligue 2, where do you see yourself in three years?
In three years, I see myself in England, it is my dream. I don’t necessarily have clubs in mind but just play in the Premier League. I like the atmosphere, to see full stadiums, the high level. English football is completely different, it’s a tough league but I like it. And then in terms of the weather, I wouldn’t be too out of place in Nancy (laughs). Playing the Champions League in three years would be good too.