LIFE post football is as busy as ever for Middlesbrough’s favourite Frenchman. He seems to be a man on the go. After a time and date had been arranged for an interview and the phonecall was made, he quickly said ‘can you ring me back? I need to put some petrol in my car!’. It sounded like he was in a rush and judging by his current working life, that wouldn’t be a surprise.

Nowadays, he has turned his hand to the commercial side of sport. Franck is now the managing director of his own company, M&Q Tactique. A sports events organisation he runs alongside former Lens striker Daniel Moreira offering people a unique experience on the golf course along with other sports.

“Now that I am retired from football, I started to play a bit of golf. I have been practising a lot now” Queudrue told The Northern Echo.

“I’m a 4.2 handicap”. Sacre bleu Franck Queudrue! Who knew he was so good at golf?

Queudrue is settled into an area where his wife is from, Northern France near Lille, which is where he runs his up and coming business out of.

“I just created a firm with an old team mate” he continued. “Creating seminars for firms with a bit of a golf initiation. We organise travel for a lot of people so I am keeping busy. “We are creating a bit of travel with some guys over there, especially Marrakesh. We go golfing over there with them. We create a little bit of a challenge so that is good fun.”

A man with a permanent smile on his face, Franck always looked like he was having fun so his present day ventures come as no surprise. But on the pitch, he was a different animal. A full-blooded defender who loved a tackle, committed going forward along with a wand of a left foot. It didn’t take long for the Boro faithful to fall for their marauding left-back.

The Northern Echo: Franck Queudrue (right) celebrates Boro's Carling Cup semi-final win over Arsenal with Bolo ZendenFranck Queudrue (right) celebrates Boro's Carling Cup semi-final win over Arsenal with Bolo Zenden

After joining Boro in 2001, he became a League Cup winner and a UEFA Cup finalist during his time spells came at Fulham, Birmingham City and Colchester United and having spent just shy of a decade in England, Queudrue made the move back to France to where it all started in Lens before retiring in 2012.

The memories of the noughties are likely to put a smile on the face of any Boro fan. Nostalgia to last a lifetime and Queudrue was a huge part of it all. From his shootout winning penalty against Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter final of the Carling Cup to collapsing to his knees at the full-time whistle after Boro made lightening strike twice against Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Cup semi-final.

Back then, Boro were a fully fledged Premier League outfit that pulled off the impossible in cup competitions. It was a special group of players that will hold bonds beyond their playing careers despite going off in different directions. Surely he keeps in touch with them all? “Yeah of course through social media” he replied. “I keep in touch with George Boateng, Gaizka Mendieta, Bolo Zenden, Brad Jones.

“All the English fellas as well like Ray Parlour, James Morrison, Andrew Taylor, Stewy Downing, Andrew Davies. It’s my family from the North-East, all those guys.

“We practically lived together so it’s good to keep in touch with those guys. They are some good guys as well. Tony McMahon as well! I don’t want to forget anybody but I can’t name everybody else.”

The Northern Echo: Franck Queudrue in action for Boro against Sporting Lisbon.Franck Queudrue in action for Boro against Sporting Lisbon.

A number of years ago, the perfect opportunity to reunite the famous players of the past came for Queudrue but for obvious reasons, it didn’t happen. “I couldn’t come. I was going to come for the charity game that Mikkel Beck was organising but obviously because of Covid and everything being suspended, I couldn’t so I didn’t come at all last year” he said.

“We will see in the next year or two. I will be delighted to come back to the Riverside. It will be a big pleasure for me. There are only good memories.”

Hopefully when he comes back to Teesside, one man who Franck would very much like to catch up with is the man at the very top of the football club. “The people at Boro will know that Steve (Gibson) is a busy man so I don’t want to bother him too much with some phonecalls. But I keep watching and I see him sometimes on articles and TV.” To be a fly on the wall in those conversations.

Boro’s current status is a far cry from where the club was at during Queudrue’s days on Teesside. As things stand, Boro are looking are a rebuilding job for the summer where Chris Wilder has been tasked with spearheading the club’s charge back to the Premier League.

Last season’s performances ensured another season in the second tier as they fell short of the play-offs finishing in seventh place but a mid-season manager switch gave them a rejuvenated look for the majority of the season.

Speaking about how Boro can make the next step, Queudrue continued: “I follow the results and I saw some games live. The games I watched I think I got a bit of everything. I think I got a win, a draw and two defeats.

The Northern Echo: Franck Queudrue in action for Middlesbrough.Franck Queudrue in action for Middlesbrough.

“I think the top five or the top six for them. It’s like this year, it’s just the big games. When you come to big games and making that step to go to the top two or three, it’s getting there and staying there.

“That’s when I watched the game and they lost. Everybody behind them was winning so they were catching up with them so it was tricky. There was some key games I would say. They should have won some of those games but top six is not a bad place.

“I honestly don’t watch the manager. I look at the players and the team and how they play. They are frustrating so the manager will have to do something with that!

“We’ll see. I have trusted Steve Gibson to give the team to a good manager.”

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Queudrue’s bond with the Teesside faithful is one that will last the generations. Two decades on from his first steps onto the Riverside Stadium turf, he is still revered around the club and the area. With pre-season on the horizon and Boro set to build the foundations for a promotion push, the Frenchman, who played nearly 200 games in the Premier League, believes the fanbase is still befitting of a side in the top flight.

The 43-year-old added. “I came across some lovely people across my five years at Middlesbrough. I don’t remember being harassed by silly guys or silly fans.

“They need to keep being behind the team because the club deserve to get back up to the Premier League and the top flight. They deserve that because during my time, they were terrific.”

With plans to head back across the English channel, Queudrue ended the conversation on a bold statement. “I wish to come back to England and see some Boro games in the Premier League the season after!” Sacre bleu Franck Queudrue!