18,261 spectators. This is the crowd at the Michelin stadium for the last home game before the Covid-19 empties the spans of all the sports arenas. It was February 22, 2020. That day, the UBB had won in Clermont-Ferrand (31-22). Davit Zirakashvili was still a player.

“The public has influence, we don’t call him the 16th man for nothing. When you step onto the lawn, it’s a special moment every time. It might take us a bit to the guts. “

Etienne Falgoux (empty)

Since then, the Yellow Army has never been able to rediscover the intoxication of a boiling stadium. The gauges have gradually decreased: 10,000, 5,000, 1,000 … to finally arrive at total camera. A long tunnel of 18 months which will therefore end tomorrow. If the supporters are impatient, on the side of the players we are also eager to taste again the special atmosphere of a Michelin garnished.

Top 14: ASM Clermont – Castres will be refereed by Cédric Marchat, this Saturday at the Michelin Stadium

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“For a year and a half we saw no one in the stands, breathes Etienne Falgoux. And although we have experienced reduced gauges, it has nothing to do with a full stadium. The public has influence, we don’t call him the 16th man for nothing. When you step onto the lawn, it’s a special moment every time. It might take us a bit to the guts. “

September rarely draws a crowd

The left pillar and his teammates should not, however, play in front of a full stadium on Saturday against Castres. At the ASM, we expected an attendance of around 15,000 spectators. About 12,000 places had in any case found takers, Thursday at the end of the afternoon. In a still fragile context where the health pass is required, this relative lack of enthusiasm is not so surprising. In recent seasons, the first Michelin Top 14 posters have not drawn crowds either. In fact, the average was around the 16,000 seats sold. Except in 2017 when the match against the RCT (revenge of the Top 14 final) was played in front of 18,558 spectators.

Top 14: Morgan Parra package for ASM – Castres

If this is therefore not surprising, on the side of the supporters’ clubs we are, on the other hand, a little disappointed. The reunion with the Michelin should necessarily be less festive. “Many people were waiting and were in a hurry to return to Michelin, is surprised Thierry Fraisse, president of the Interclubs. I wasn’t expecting a sold out ticket office, but I thought the stands would be fuller. But it is true that these first games in September take away the world. But there, between people who are afraid, those who do not have the pass … It is certain that that does not help. “

The supporters present to make noise for 19,000 and thus give the impression of going back 18 months.

Arnaud Clergue


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