Toulouse : la fête fut belle

Toulouse : la fête fut belle

Already guaranteed to return to Ligue 1 next season, Toulouse had a festive weekend. The Violets offered themselves the third coronation in their history in Ligue 2 against Nîmes, in an atmosphere like the Pink City had not known for too long. Before doing it again on Sunday afternoon, to celebrate its heroes on the Place du Capitole. Twenty-four hours of celebrations at the height of the club’s successful historic season.

It is not yet 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the Place de la Daurade resounds with the first chants, barely interspersed with the soft sound of crackling smoke. Under a blazing sun, in a district rather accustomed to seeing Toulouse students take advantage of their Saturday afternoon to bask on the banks of the Garonne, the party can begin. The few hundred supporters who answered the call of the Indians Tolosa to parade to the Stadium – where the TFC must face Nîmes – have only one idea in mind: to celebrate the third title of champions of Ligue 2 of Téfécé after those gleaned in 1982 and 2003. An eternity. All are proud of what their club has become, too long the object of ridicule among the Ligue 1 teams.

“Where did the bus go? »

Already, the procession starts. “We are Téfécé! » , they yell in chorus. Everywhere the same smiles on the faces, the same emotion of living a moment in which they no longer really believed. “The fervor is back” ; “It’s so nice to find an audience” , we breathe at all levels of the procession. Behind the ultras, there are young people, families, not so young too, who parade in the din along the Garonne. More violated than ever. The songs follow one another, and along the way, the memories come back: the last time such a procession split the city to reach the island of Ramier? Before welcoming Liverpool, for a Champions League play-off. More recent: the last game at home during the fantastic comeback of 2016 against Troyes or the reception of OM in 2018 are still in the memories.

A good hour later, it is well warmed up that the procession joins the crowd massed on the bridge which adjoins the Stadium, awaiting the arrival of the players. A bus that supporters take great pleasure in drowning in a tide of smoke as soon as it appears. “Where did the bus go? » , we wonder then, with stinging eyes and shortness of breath. He returned to the forecourt of the stadium, and the time has come to enter the arena. In front of the show, some are already planning: “We’ll never see that again, it’s completely surreal. » And a bit fatalistic, too.

But no matter, the party promises to be beautiful inside the stadium as well. A few minutes before kickoff, the Indians Tolosa send a message with a superb tifo to pay tribute to their hero. “Honor to the champions of the city” can we read in front of Rhys Healey and company, represented as knights ready to defend their colors one last time in this Stadium which has learned to beat in unison over the course of their exploits.

And even when Anthony Briançon tries to cool the atmosphere by opening the scoring, the turn does not lower the volume. Upon returning from the locker room, Ado Onaiwu equalized before the deliverance, which came from the foot of Denis Genreau. 27,000 spectators can exult as one man. Before storming the lawn, for the second time in two weeks. It is therefore massed on the green rectangle that the crowd attends the presentation of the trophy, brandished by Brecht Dejaegere. In the general jubilation, everyone sets out to leave with a souvenir: who a blade of grass, who a billboard, who a corner post…

A full purple Capitol

Twenty-four hours – and a short night for some – later, there are a few thousand to come and treat themselves to a little extra on the Place du Capitole. This time, it’s at 5 p.m. that the date is set to see the Violets present their trophy to the crowd. The search barely passed to access the square, the first T-shirts “Champions 2021-2022” marketed for the occasion quickly find takers, and the party can get going again. Leaving from Saint-Pierre Square, the ultras landed with great fanfare to smoke out the assistance. The Stadium, Compans-Caffarelli, the announcer takes pleasure in transcribing the route of the bus towards the city center, while impatience is gradually mounting. “Every time there’s a celebration here, it’s for Stade Toulousain, so to see Place du Capitole in just purple, you had to be there” rejoices Florian, who came to enjoy with two friends.

Everywhere, little ones bloom on the shoulders of parents delighted to be able to make them enjoy the moment. A subscriber since the club’s period in National, Mathieu came with his family, all dressed in purple. “Yesterday, we were at the stadium, but without the little one. At four years old, he did not comehe explains. Today we are here for the friendly side. It’s important to educate the little ones in the violet of Toulouse and not in other colors that we often see in Toulouse. He is happy to come, it is also very festive the next day. » The bus approaches and all the classics of the Toulouse stands are sung: at the “Ah ho ho ho ho Branco! Branco! » followed by a magnificent “Healey’s on fire” which no one intends to compromise.

“It’s not an end”

And all of a sudden, the bus enters the square, before the players and the staff rush into the Capitol. Hilarious, the small band tightens on the balcony to come and unveil the trophy to a whole city in front of Jean-Luc Moudenc, who experiences pyrotechnics when Yanis Begraoui sets off the fire alarm by cracking a smoke bomb. “If he cracks one, I’ll vote for him in three years!” » , let go in the crowd. The city councilor won’t do anything about it, but who cares: everyone benefits from the moment. Starting with Damien Comolli, who hastens to thank all these beautiful people for the emotions experienced together. “The adventure has only just begun” launches for his part Philippe Montanier, looking to the future.

Yes, the rest is on everyone’s mind. “We had to start all over again from the beginning.continues Florian. The rest is the transfer window, to see if all the important players will stay. If there is a good supporting project, why not play the top 10 minimum. » Already, the crowd is slowly dispersing. Ruben, Sergio and Gaël are already sharing their impressions. The first two, Atlético jerseys on their backs, vibrate for the first time in a city where they landed a few months ago for professional reasons, from Spain. “We’re not going to tattoo the club logo, but it’s really very nice, things seem to be going really well” , laughs Reuben. A regular at the Stadium since 2006, their friend Gaël is already looking towards next season. “For me, it’s not an end, all the people who are there have to stay to push behind the team next year, whatever happens. We have always made fun of the Toulouse supporters, it was a bit of a shame to support this club. In the Brice Taton bend, I saw with my own eyes Batshuayi come to celebrate an OM goal, the stand was half purple and half blue. » What if those days were well and truly over?

By Tom Binet, in Toulouse
Photos: IconSport and TB.


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