A year ago, Brest Bretagne Handball won the French championship after an insane match at the Arena (29-22). What do you remember that afternoon?
“We all got together before the game to welcome the players, to increase the pressure. There are seven goals to climb, our stomachs are completely knotted. We wonder how this will happen. We dominated the championship throughout the year without thinking of missing out on the title. When the final whistle came, it was an explosion on the stands. We barely had time to understand what was going on with Erwan, my colleague from Supporters du bout du monde (SBM), because it was our responsibility to go down to the field to deliver gifts at the end of the season. Down the stairs, we meet Emmanuel Mayonnade, the Metz coach, in tears. Personally, this is France’s first championship title as president of a group of supporters. So much happiness, wants to party all night, jumping around like kids! »
This date also marked the real return of supporters to the stands. Did the health crisis hurt the End of the World Supporters?
“In terms of enthusiasm, no. On the other hand, covid hurt us financially as we continued our support operations for players. We made some banners, for a Champions League match at the Arena, for the French Cup final in Créteil, also for the return of the Olympic champions in August … It’s worth it, no wonder. Since our year was blank, we chose not to solicit contributions from our members. If there is no cash inflow, we have to take the means at hand. It was very complicated then. There, we put our heads out a little in the water ”.
“We’re clearly attached to the players, but we also know that one day they will leave”.
Last summer, the major players left, and a new coach arrived. How did the supporters experience these changes?
“Our goal is to encourage the team, regardless of departure and arrival. That’s a changing group, it’s pretty normal, professional sport as well. We’re obviously attached to the players, but we also know that one day they’ll leave .As for Laurent Bezeau (the coach), it’s a bit difficult because we’ve been with him for over ten years.One new of us is to have a new coach on the bench (Pablo Morel) .We don’t know how it will work.Now, we see that the goals have been achieved: the team is a quarter-finalist in the Champions League and in the final of the French championship. The disappointment comes from injuries. The manager has not been able to take advantage of the full potential of his group this season ”.
What is the relationship of the SBM team and the players? Are the contacts frequent?
“We are used to meeting at the airport when the players leave, to talk, to motivate them. From January to February, we saw privileged moments after the match. Players go to our receptive, it helps keep the link. The “cool” is that they have no intention of visiting us. They always come with a big smile to chat, take pictures. For many, they are part of our family. We see them better than some members of our family. Once they were injured, we came to the news. We have this facility on hand to maintain this link that is not available to supporters in other more public sports.
At the end of the season, how is the SBM association?
“We have between 100 and 110 members, and between 60 and 70 subscribers are present at all the home games at the stands. It’s pretty stable despite the covid. ”
On the eve of the first leg, how do you see this meeting against Metz?
“I feel good about him. The group was there, even though we had a lot of wounds. It will be a fight. I am convinced we will win the first leg at home. Is that enough to be the champion of France? That, I don’t know … The Metz is a heavy machine this year. I’m going to have a 27-24 victory for Brest, with a big defense.
Brest BH – Metz HB, this Thursday, May 26 at 7 pm, at Brest Arena. Sold-out battles, and 4,077 spectators are expected.