Carcassonne: for Frédéric Calamel and Benoît Mestre, USC has already won … the support of an entire territory

A few days before the season’s final home game against Bayonne, synonymous with a possible ticket to the final stages of Pro D2, USC co-presidents return to the support, both popular and partnership, that the structure has been able to grow over the course of the championship.

A few months after the start of the season, you unveiled a five-year project for USC that shows both structural and sporting ambitions. In the light of the course of the first team, do you think that these orientations already pay off?

Benoit Mestre: Of course, it plays a role, because when you present a five-year project, it excites, it boosts everyone, from the staff to the players and supporters. We are no longer playing maintenance by counting on 2,500 spectators at Domec: From the start of the season, we were aiming for a place in the top six and we will have done everything to achieve that. But these results, we owe them first and foremost a team that has reached maturity, to a well-established management … We are in line with the continuity from the previous season, where we were already not bad either!

Frederic Calamel: I also see the consequences of the club’s financial efforts to strengthen the team and staff, especially at the medical level. Our partners have responded: we have managed to give ourselves a little more means to achieve our goals.

Has the club won support from all walks of life?

BM: The city helps us a lot in terms of receptive, Agglo and the department are also present. For our part, we have always seen ourselves as a full-fledged Aude actor: we have been promoting local products for ten years, especially during home games.

And popular support?

BM: During the derby against Narbonne, there were many people in the stadium. Against Auriac we were 5000! It is also explained because we do animation before and after the meeting, several people are in charge of the club’s communication … We are very present on social networks, with young people, and at the same time the Club USC companies offer quality evenings with renowned speakers. We are careful not to forget anyone, supporters or partners, and we will make further progress: We are aiming for many more spectators at the stadium.

CF: We want the public and partners who come to Domec to recognize themselves in our team. We are not the richest, but we try to compensate with work, to transfer this philosophy to the players and members of staff. I believe that the people of Carcassonne recognize themselves in these values.

Does the local economic world also vibrate more for USC?

BM: We have doubled our partnerships in five years and they are still growing this season. In addition to rugby, USC should be the place where partners meet other partners, where families come to spend the evening, where children reinforce their passion for this sport or discover it for the first time … A place, in short, where everyone finds their account .

At the beginning of the season, you also appealed to the municipality regarding the need to modernize certain types of equipment. Has the message been heard?

BM: Yes, we have been consulted and the projects have been launched. The only file where we would like things to go faster is the repair of the old condition, but there are priorities and we fully understand that. We will benefit from additional premises, a structure dedicated to supporters to house refreshments, if necessary, renovated ticket offices … Here again, there will be improvements for everyone, both financiers and volunteers.

Do you think the club’s aura today extends beyond the sporting aspect?

CF: Of course, rugby remains at the center of everything. But if we want to gather 4 to 5000 people in Domec, we will not be able to bring 4 to 5000 rugby fans. We also need to attract people who just come to have a good night in a good atmosphere, and make going to the stadium an excursion like the theater or the cinema. On this occasion, some will do business, others will strengthen their social ties … Apart from USC, what structure can boast of gathering thousands of people in Carcassonne fifteen weekends a year? But just like what happens on a rugby field, everyone here is on the same level. Supporters, volunteers, business leaders, players … Everyone has the opportunity to meet and discuss. This coziness, we want to maintain it.

When you see supporters create a percussion group or invent hymns for the club, do you also think that the bet has been won?

BM: You mean Arnaud and Los Sambaderos. He calls us directly to tell us! But for us, those kind of people are just as important as a great partner because they are the soul of the club.

CF: The success of the USC is largely due to this desire to federate. The club is open and all goodwill is welcome: we have as much respect for the volunteer who will give his time as for a partner who comes with a large financial contribution.

How do you maintain the current enthusiasm around the club, regardless of the season result?

CF: First of all, people need to realize how happy it is, given our means, to play in the final phase in order to get into the Top 14. Afterwards, no matter what happens, we must do everything we can to keep the spectators stadium … and we are not going to lie to each other: the goodwill of a rugby club is victory.

A little more than a game

On Thursday, May 5, USC will play a crucial match against Bayonne, which will also be the last home game of the season. An evening that the club thought of as a truly global party, with many activities around the stadium. But in what state of mind are the co-chairmen approaching this evening? Given what’s at stake, do they really want the spirit to celebrate?

“The pressure will increase day by daybetror Frédéric Calamel. Sportingly, the team must win to confirm its excellent season; and from an organizational point of view, we expect a lot of people in the stadium, including a meal that will gather a thousand people. It is a big job!” Benoît Mestre confirms: “That night you must be available to everyone”. However, both remember a confrontation whose scope extends beyond the sport’s only framework. “It is the last match in Carcassonne, the last also for some emblematic players, moreover against one of the biggest teams in France … Also for all this the victory is imperative.”.

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