“At first we thought it was a hoax. This is how Philippe Tournon, a young journalist then far from the head of the press of the Blues that he will become, begins his article in the Team announcing the signing of Jean-Claude Bras at Paris Saint-Germain. The “resounding” transfer (according to Tournon) of the young 24-year-old international right winger, however, lays the foundation stone for the new PSG, a merger of Paris Football Club with Stade Saint-Germain.

We are in the summer of 1970 and the club is launching in D2 (the equivalent of the National), but the mere presence of Bras will attract other big names like Jean Djorkaeff, captain of the Blues and OM, Jean- Pierre Destrumelle (OM) or Roland Mitoraj (Saint-Etienne). Half a century later, Bras (75), who chaired the Red Star of Saint-Ouen for 23 years before being sentenced (suspended prison sentence) for his business, has not forgotten anything. On the eve of leaving Seine-Saint-Denis to go permaculture in Picardy, the first scorer in the history of the capital club (where he will stay for two seasons) tells us about PSG from another era.

“I had a crush”

“I was playing in Liège when I heard Pierre Bellemare’s call on Europe 1 (Editor’s note: on February 1, 1970, Pierre Bellemare launched a subscription on Europe 1 to save Paris FC from bankruptcy, which would make it possible to collect 842,000 francs. Six months later, the PFC joined forces with the Stade Saint-Germain to donate birth at Paris Saint-Germain FC). I had signed for four years but I wanted to come back to Paris and I met Guy Crescent in Colombes on the sidelines of a France-Hungary that I was not playing. “

“I fell in love with the leader of Calberson who offered me to be my godfather. I answered : OK, but on condition that you don’t go to church (smile). The first season, I worked at Batignolles, in the advertising department of Calberson, headed by the first CEO of PSG, Henry Chipot. “

“I played the intermediaries”

“I signed my license before negotiating my salary… A seven-year contract – because I had to become a manager of PSG – at 7200 francs per month. I tore it up when I left and I didn’t ask for anything. At the time, I played intermediaries to bring in other internationals. “

“Jean-Pierre Destrumelle,” said the Curé for his pre-match oaths, called me in particular to tell me that he was free at OM. He also told me about Tchouki (Djorkaeff) who signed for a salary of 18,000-20,000 francs. As I was general secretary of the players’ union, that made things easier. I also went to Lyon to discreetly recruit defender Mitoraj (Saint Etienne) for 9500 francs. I had reserved a table in the name of Mr. Calberson. With my 1.72 m and my brown hair, I had nothing of the tall Swedish blond (laughs). »

“Six professional players in the midst of amateurs”

“My first goal with PSG was at the Jean-Bouin stadium, against Quevilly, in a friendly (Editor’s note: August 1, 1970). Frankly, the lighting was very poor, and the caretaker had an apology. In the 30th minute, we get a free kick 35 m off-center and Tchouki tells me to hit direct. I go relaxed, I add the sauce but not too much and I whip it well. We still lose (2-1) by not having been good… Besides, I had four very average first months with PSG. “

“We were six professional players in the midst of amateurs who for some worked, like Michel Prost at the Bank of France, Bernard Guignedoux, who was a physiotherapist, Jean-Claude Fitte-Duval in the industry… We had to adapt. We trained twice a day and the others joined us in the evening. “

“The climb ? Many ended up naked ”

“In 1971, we ensured the rise (in Division 1) and the title in Rouen in a molten Diochon stadium. I scored the 2-1 goal which made the difference. We were very good and we won 3-1. We celebrated that for twenty-four hours. First at Quick, a nightclub in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. We extended the party in the Banque de France swimming pool in Bougival. Some arrived on foot, and many ended up naked. “

“Personally, I had to cut the party short because I had invited the cadets I coached to dinner in Paris for their title of champions of Paris. I fell asleep at a red light while driving my Méhari and I was pushed from the back. But I returned home safe and sound. “

At PSG, Jean-Claude Bras held multiple positions, player, manager, recruiter. Sports Press

“Crescent almost convinced Pelé to come”

“Guy Crescent really almost convinced Pelé to come. The leaders of Santos accepted a rental loan, a financial package that was a bit revolutionary. But Pelé’s wife didn’t want to. Crescent even went so far as to consider that Pelé would come every weekend, get jet lagged, play his matches and leave! Eventually, Pelé recommended another Brazilian international to him. (Editor’s note: Joël Camargo) who made two games. He was often injured, was depressed and left quickly. A casting error. “

“We went out under the cobblestones in Nancy”

“The match in Nancy is one of the craziest memories of my time. We had won 3-1 with two goals out of play. The Lorraine public had just received the public’s most fair play award, but the guys went wild. We stole the game but we didn’t do it on purpose. It was a disaster, we returned to the changing rooms under the cobblestones and with the police who were protecting us with tear gas jets. The referee had been so bad! “

“Divorce from the PFC? A painful rupture ”

“The separation is the most painful time. A break between the pro-PSG and the pro-PFC. Me, I did not walk in the political schemes. The GA partners had voted against the separation, but there was a coup … Everything was well put together in the interest of Paris FC and the president, Henri Patrelle, was left unceremoniously. Who took over the Parc des Princes in 1972? This is the PFC. Fate was written, that’s what is incredible. But in 1974, the PSG (Editor’s note: who left in 1972 with the amateur team in division 3) moved up to the first division and the PFC went down. “

“Me, in the middle of the board of directors, I said: I stop… They had stuck democracy (sic). The supporters did not like the divorce and hated Paris FC by choosing Saint-Germain. “

“I would have loved to play in the current PSG”, confides Jean-Claude Bras (here in 2001)

“I am proud to have been a pioneer of PSG”

“When we started the Parisian adventure, we loved the project and we knew we were going to succeed because we got along very well from the start. We were really respectful of our bosses, great leaders and sacred men. With Crescent and Patrelle, there was Pierre-Emmanuel Guyot, who democratized golf in France. He was our Grand President still at 92. “

“In the second season, with the backbone of the French amateur team, we started very strong. But there was wear and tear and the divorce stories rotted the end of the season. My chapel is the Red Star, but I am proud to have been a pioneer of PSG. “

“I like the class of President Al-Khelaïfi”

“Today’s PSG are light years away from ours. There is so much money! I’m not saying it’s bad, but the stakes, the agents… I would have loved to play in the current PSG because, already, that would prove that I have their level. But even though we were the best of our generation, we were far less good. Neymar, Mbappé, they are artists. Afterwards, they have the chance to play on a perfect pitch. In our time, that of the Park was rotten. I also like Tuchel’s ego management and President Al-Khelaïfi’s class. “