“we want more player arrivals than departures”

He has a cracked voice and tired eyes. It must be said that he gave everything to the President to follow the enthusiasm of his young players two evenings in a row. That of Saturday, after the victory against Nîmes (2-1) and the official coronation of French Ligue 2 champion. That also of Sunday, after the ceremony at the Capitol, cheered by the supporters massed opposite the town hall. Damien Comolli, president of one of the 20 Ligue 1 clubs next season, was the exceptional guest of the morning of France Bleu and France 3 Occitanie.

Have you come to your senses after this crazy weekend?

Not quite, it’s a bit difficult! The days are extremely intense and the nights very short, it’s accumulation. We’re going to have to come back down to earth because we always have a match to win in a few days, that’s the reality of high-level sport. But it’s still a unique feeling.

You play in Ajaccio on Saturday. He doesn’t have much sporting importance anymore….

This match is more important for our opponents than for us, it’s true. But it’s a game that we have to win, like all the others. In two seasons, we won 57 matches, which is an incredible performance.

We feel privileged to have these supporters there!

The great return of the supporters, the rediscovered love, was that one of your objectives?

Yes, as soon as we arrived, when we bought the club, we took up the metaphor of Ramier Island, whose bridges had been destroyed to symbolize the absence of relations between the club and its community, the club and its city. With the Covid, we were slowed down even if we saw things. And this season, it has been extraordinary, the team has fed the supporters and vice versa. There is a beautiful symbiosis.

You played sold out against Paris FC, 28,000 spectators again on Saturday against Nîmes. Is it thanks to the great work of communication that you have succeeded in this?

Yes, we had to reconnect with the City, we tried different things, cool things coming out of what the other clubs were doing. We worked a lot but the credit goes to our supporters. They are the ones who made the trips to the other end of France. We feel privileged.

Is it true that from the first day of the season last summer, you promised to be champion of France?

Yes, 100% true. As soon as the season resumed, around June 23-24, I brought together the technical staff and the players, with a slide. And in the last “slide” on our ambitions, I put the Ligue 2 champion trophy, I told them “that’s what we’re here for, we won’t accept anything but first place“. The players completely bought into that and it worked! Officially, we said we wanted to go up and finish in the top two, but between us, second place was never considered.

It’s your first title as a leader, it’s your first title. It was a dream ?

As president yes it is my first title but as a leader (editor’s note sports director) I won some at Liverpool and Tottenham. This morning on my way, I was walking on the Jean-Jaurès alleys and I saw all these signs “bravo le TFC” in purple, I was very proud and I think we’ve come a long way. In high-level football, we often think of the next match, not really at the end. My dream was to see the Stadium full, that’s what we did against Paris FC, 24,000 against Niort, almost sold out on Saturday against Nîmes and 18,000 people who celebrated with us yesterday. Frankly, I pay them tribute to our community, our supporters. I had been told that there was no passion in Toulouse. I know people who come from Béziers to see the TFC.

Have you received messages from other football leaders happy to see Toulouse in Ligue 1?

Yes, from the president of PSG Nasser el-Khelaïfi, from Mr. Petrov the president of Monaco, from the president of the League. What touches me the most are the messages from the presidents of the Toulouse sports clubs, we have a common Whatsapp group. Didier Lacroix, the president of Stade Toulousain, who called me just after our match on Saturday, he called me back yesterday morning to congratulate us. Them, what they did on Saturday in Dublin too, it’s extraordinary.

We will keep the price of seats in the stands very affordable in Ligue 1

Will the prices of places next year in Ligue 1 increase?

Seats will increase slightly, but we want to keep a popular stadium. There will be expensive seats for those looking for a performance, and seats at very reasonable prices because we want to keep popular stands, which live. This is one of the lessons learned this year, we have new supporters, we have developed a community that we did not have before. We saw it against Paris FC, a more feminine audience and a lot of children. We will therefore have stands that are very affordable financially.

Can you confirm that Philippe Montanier will be the coach of the Violets in Ligue 1?

Yes I am even surprised that I am asked the question, in our minds there was no other alternative. We’ve been working on next season’s programming and preparation for several months.

Speaking of players, is the goal to keep all the nuggets you find?

The goal is always to keep the players who make us perform, that’s obvious. The problem is that we are not the only ones to decide. The players also have their say. They are in high demand, as we know, we refused to take calls to receive offers. And the players placed the collective interest above the individual, they did not talk about their future to focus on the rise. I don’t know how many players will leave, as few as possible. What interests me is how many players will arrive. We have been following for a month, a short list of players who are our priorities. There will be a wave before June 30, then a second in the summer.

Branco Van Den Boomen says there’s a one in two chance he’ll stay. Is it the money that decides?

The player decides. It may be the money or the sporting aspect, if a big European club asks for them. We remain realistic about the fact that we are a club coming from Ligue 2 which will have less resources than other Ligue 1 clubs.

I’m sure we’ll be competitive next year.

Will the budget be sustainable next year or are you looking for money?

Absolutely tenable, we have the budget to make the investments to have a competitive team in Ligue 1. We don’t need money from the shareholder, or external cash. We don’t need money, we earn it, we have our own resources thanks to the work done on ticketing, on sponsorship. Everything you earn is reinvested in the team.

What are your goals in Ligue 1? Top 6/Top 8 is that what you said?

Yes in the long term, even if next year we will be on shorter term objectives. There will be four descents next year, four Ligue 1 clubs will descend to Ligue 2, we have a huge financial competitive disadvantage compared to clubs that are already in L1 this year since the funds paid will be distributed in such a way that we will receive half as much as the other clubs. But I am convinced that we can be competitive. The goal for next season is to reach as high as possible, without setting a limit. we just have to find four clubs that will finish behind us. And then continue to grow and stabilize at the top of Ligue 1.

And you, do you see yourself staying in Toulouse for a long time?

I didn’t think about it. Every time I go to a club, I always have a five-year perspective and a ten-year perspective. And as president, you project yourself even more than as a sports director. I don’t think about my future. For me, it is obvious that I continue here. With Red Bird, we are talking about five- and ten-year developments such as investments in the stadium, the training center, etc. On average, the Red Bird background stays 12 years in a company, we have time to see it coming.

  • Next TFC match this Saturday May 14 at 7:00 p.m., Ajaccio-Toulouse to follow on France Bleu Occitanie

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