At the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium,
During our previous match in Saint-Etienne, on May 14 against Reims (1-2), we left the Cauldron in the night when we met the scientific police, who had come to investigate the fire in a television control van, which started by jets of smoke despite a total camera. On Sunday, this time we were treated to a visit to the press room by two CRS, nearly four hours after the end of the return play-off lost by ASSE against AJ Auxerre (1-1, 4-5 on penalties to goal). Is it so improbable given the apocalyptic post-match on the lawn?
The answer is clearly negative, because before that, firefighters stopped us in the evening to ask us if we had “taken gas”, and several stewards and spectators took refuge in the press room in the middle of Jean-Marc’s conference Furlan. Similarly, one of the crucial questions last night, in the corridors of Geoffroy-Guichard, was not to find a clear project for Ligue 2, but rather fire extinguishers, which were visibly lacking in the face of such a galley.
Hoods and metal barriers projected onto the lawn
As we might have feared, in a season already marked by major incidents against Angers, in Jura Sud and against Reims, the post-match promised to be explosive in the Cauldron, especially in the event of relegation to Ligue 2, as in 1962, 1984, 1996 and 2001. With the added bonus of a penalty shootout marked by the initial failure of Ryad Boudebouz, ASSE therefore sank at the end of a nightmarish year. After the jump-off to Auxerre (1-1) three days earlier, the Algerian attacking midfielder naively dreamed “of having a little party with the fans”. Several dozen of them had planned the pyrotechnic paraphernalia to present a real fireworks display.
Except that to see several put on a balaclava and descend as close as possible to the lawn before the penalty shootout, one could doubt their festive intentions, and rather foresee an invasion of the most unmanageable ground if it goes wrong. The victorious strike from Auxerrois Birama Touré barely shook Paul Bernardoni’s nets when chaos broke out, with LED advertising panels smashed along the edge of the lawn, and metal barriers thrown in the direction of CRS having taken place shortly before at the bottom of the official Pierre-Faurand stand, just to block access to the changing rooms, to the players, as well as to President Roland Romeyer.
“We will have shovels behind closed doors, as usual”
Except that with their smoke bombs and rockets, those whom the prefect of the Loire Catherine Séguin considers “thugs” have the possibility of targeting anyone and anyhow. The safety of the players, managers and spectators is then the least of their worries, in view of the surreal scenes observed for several minutes on the lawn, with for example a seat from the Saint-Etienne bench. totally burned at stake. The response of the mobilized security forces is just as immediate: tear gas at all costs, which will even place the child in the middle of ASSE Zaydou Youssouf in respiratory failure in the gallery, according to The Team. Small panel of reactions collected among the 24,489 spectators of this decisive match having turned into a nightmare.
- Mathis (20), who was stuck in the boxes for almost an hour and a half after the match, as the club’s instructions wanted: “We were super anxious. We went back to take shelter and the doors of the stand were closed to guarantee our safety.
- Gabrielle (20), in the same “bunkerization” configuration of the Pierre-Ferrand stand and even more raised, while she spent her time rubbing her eyes on Sunday evening because of the tear gas: “To get to piss off everything the world like these people are doing there, it ends our season on a terrible note.
- Stéphane (44), doubtful about the means implemented (250 police and gendarmerie personnel according to the prefecture, “an exceptional system of nearly 500 security agents” for ASSE): “It’s dramatic in all points, in the image of our season but also of society. There are questions to ask about the security part: a fight broke out in the first period between Magic Fans and Auxerrois, but all were able to go back to their stands quietly. It’s a sign that the club accepts a lot of things.
- Stéphane (49), fatalistic, completes: “We will have a shovel of behind closed doors, as usual”.
- Jean-Marc Furlan, coach with a more offbeat analysis due to his new accession to Ligue 1: “I freaked out because I took a lot of tear gas canisters in the face, I was just crying (smile)! At the end of the match, we all returned quickly and we were afraid that one or two would be missing in the locker room, so we counted everyone. Somehow, I want to say that it only exists in France. There are countries that have completely extinguished all that. For several months and years, there has been a lot of violence in our stadiums without us being able to curb and eradicate it. It’s a bit sad.”
What is even more so is this continuation of violence observed around the stadium. ASSE attempts a firewall from 10:02 p.m. (in the absence of the supposedly compulsory press briefing of the future-ex-coach Pascal Dupraz) by announcing in a half-word the announcement of the sale of the club by the duo Romeyer-Caïazzo in the near future ?
About 200 Stéphanois (according to the prefecture) don’t care and throw glass bottles, stones, and even road signs above the fence overlooking the official entrance of the players, managers and partners, as well as towards the CRS gathered at this epicenter of tensions.
On the agenda of the emergency meeting at the Ministry of Sports?
“It was unbreathable, we felt that they wanted to do battle with the players by attacking their cars, confides a witness close to chaos, episode 2, outside the Cauldron, until 11:15 p.m. The toll could have been much worse tonight. “The prefecture of the Loire thus reports in its last point of 14 minor injuries among the supporters, as well as “two injured among the players of the AJA”.
As against Reims, the imposing water launcher of the police helped disperse the troublemakers, while no arrests have been communicated so far. In another press release published overnight, ASSE assures that it “will initiate the necessary legal proceedings”. Will the emergency meeting, scheduled for Monday at the Ministry of Sports, on the dysfunctions in the organization of the Champions League final have a little time to give to the second part of one of the darkest weekends in the history of football in France?