Once the emotions had subsided somewhat, it was time to take stock. The task was arduous and the party was up for relief for an entire city.
The time is almost 18.00 when the last party-goers leave, all dressed in purple, Place du Capitole this Sunday, May 8, 2022. The reception of the French Ligue 2 champions was historically celebrated, where the rugby of the red and black comrades is usually master. of the place.
The smell of smoke bombs will remain in my nostrils for a long time as associated with a triumph that is considered so unlikely when going back even two years back. When Olivier Sadran leaves TFC after 19 years of presidency, where he wants to know everything, he leaves it in a state that is just as pathetic as when he rediscovered it and then brought it out of the waves 20 years earlier.
After 17 years spent in the elite of French football, and when Covid has just stopped the championship definitively before its end. Toulouse has been relegated while not mathematically condemned. However, no one was fooled. We were going right there. Only the teams of Jean-François Soucasse and Olivier Sadran refused to agree to face their own failure.
This failure he had started by dismissing Jacques Breda, historic announcer of the Stadium. First symbol of the rift between the club and its history. We also think of the recruitment of mercenaries in Paname caps, who saw Classico on their mobile on the bench one night in a fight, and whose escapades were told more in the chronicles of various facts than on the sports pages of the newspaper. Finally, it had been nurtured by a growing distrust of supporters (especially after TFC-Lille), which is still there today. All this has only made the task of the new board even more difficult and the challenge of greater scope.
The new Olivier Sadran is named Damien Comolli. Not the best known of the general public, nor the most boastful of presidents, but certainly the most invested. Appointed by Redbird, the former Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham or Galatasaray immediately laid the foundation for what was most important to find: the love of Toulouse.
With the slogan “Reconquer our city”, TFC finally puts its words into practice. He secured the services of a coach who only missed his bet by a hair’s breadth to get the club back up immediately after going down. Better, the club cleans up the professional workforce. No more mercenaries, place for young people. With data, Damien Comolli is revolutionizing the archaic way of recruiting players at TFC and enrolling it in a new era.
The academy, historically a strength of the club, allows you to (re) discover talented children who are deeply in love with the emblem embroidered on their chest. The generation of Bafodé Diakité, Anthony Rouault, Amine Adli, Manu Koné, Nathan Ngoumou has given Toulouse the opportunity to re-identify with their pennant team. The arrivals of the Batavian recruits or the beloved Healey will only be the icing on the cake, which many fans still have a hard time believing they deserve.
The club goes back to basics. Philippe Montanier, a former member of the club, takes over the reins of the team, supplemented by veterans such as Fabien Barthez. The shop finds colors, the Occitan is performed, the works in the associated lands are finally launched. The meetings between the management and the supporter groups bear fruit and in the wake of the historic bus receptions the year before, the Bay’s bays are filled with more and more. The typhoons are linked to the rhythm of the capital’s performance in a record season.
Unreal scores against direct competitors; a smiling group communicating with their fans in front of the turn; players at the top of the pass and goal scorer chart; land invasions; jerseys no longer presented the day before the first day of the championship in mid-August, but before the last match of the season just like the big clubs; Queen at the Stadium; a master trophy.
Who would have imagined that? Who would have believed it when other historic French football clubs like Auxerre or Sochaux have been languishing in Ligue 2 for so many years? Not many people.
It is when we look at all this clearly that we all the more enjoy the immense joy that has been ours for an entire year. Because it is no longer banal to support TFC in Toulouse. Because we have come a long way. For we are back, and now the hardest thing awaits us. Our club needs to think big, it has proven that it is capable of uniting. Our ambitions should no longer just be to stay in Ligue 1 and end up in the soft underbelly. We must aim high.
Because we are Toulouse, we are the violets, we are TFC. The club in a football town.