For its grand final, the TO had again invested Ernest-Wallon. In the temple of Toulouse rugby, the Olympians finally silenced noisy and good-natured supporters. The party is successful.
They were, this Sunday, 9,235 to have come to support Toulouse Olympique for its historic final. A recording. Young, old, men, women, from Toulouse of course, but also from elsewhere. Like Alain, whose yellow and red scarf clashes in the middle of the waves of blue that invade the square of Ernest-Wallon one hour before kick-off. The rocky accent betrays the Carcassonnais, who does not take long to pull out of his back pocket a ticket for the Super League final between the Catalans Dragons in St Helens, the day before in Manchester. “Soul”, they proclaim with his friend Jacques, “convinced that the development of the discipline will require a membership of the TO in the Super League. Toulouse has everything to make it happen here. And we will be there to see the matches “, they swear, before recalling the essential:” We hate the English. Sur loves beer and whiskey, but the English are shying away from us. “
The English, in order to find them, you have to migrate to the other side of the square, pass the batucada and the various activities that agitate Ernest-Wallon. For its final, the TO put the small dishes in the big ones. We can’t be wrong anyway: the English are the ones who shout the loudest, seated on the terrace of the Bodega.
Van accident in the Pyrenees, working class and polar bears
We find Andy, Stephanie, Karry and Martin, usual commentator of matches of XIII on the antennas of the local BBC. All are from Featherstone, a town of 15,000 Yorkshire inhabitants whose “the whole population would not even fill Ernest-Wallon”. But the 500 or so supporters present will be “noisy” (loud) they promise, recalling the immense passion that surrounds the team of the city with working-class roots. “Here in Toulouse, it’s very different. Eating and drinking is an event in itself, they smile as they think back to their visit to the Victor Hugo market. “And it’s very cosmopolitan,” adds Andy, who mimics big eyes as he recounts their trip in the middle of the Pride March the day before in the Pink City.
Mark didn’t spend the same weekend. Coming from Bristol to attend the football match between Andorra and England on Saturday night, a van accident in the Pyrenean laces thwarted his return from the Principality. This football fan is no stranger to the oval ball. In 2011, he won with the “Polar Bears” of Tromso the Norwegian Rugby League, “the most northerly rugby league championship”, he assures us. Proof ? A huge drawn tattoo of the club crest and cup spread across her calf.
All were planning a “massive game”, a big match, recalling that “Featherstone is not Batley”, the opponent crushed last week by the TO. Massive game, there has been, and noisy, the English supporters have indeed been for a long time. But it was ultimately the euphoria of the Toulouse public that won the day; and chants to the glory of the TO, which deserved its place in the Super League, covered everything.
Jacques and Alain can calmly return to Carcassonne: the English will not have totally spoiled their weekend.