For some, players or club leaders in particular, the health crisis caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic could have serious financial and economic consequences. When clubs negotiate lower wages or layoffs with their players, there are others for whom morale and passion are the primary concern. Among these people, we obviously find supporters and Ultras. Those who, every weekend, enliven the stands of our stadiums, body and soul, with a determination and a love for their club that only they can understand.
“Going to Bollaert is a social and vital need”
For Jérémy, member of Red Tigers 94 of the Lens Racing Club, its daily activities as an Ultra are simply essential: “Every week, every day, we talk about football and Ultras. We always have something to do and when we get to the game on weekends, there is only that. I don't expect anything when we have a match at Bollaert. I could never stop going to Bollaert, it is a real need. It is a social and vital need.“The Bollaert stadium, real temple of all Lensois and one of the most emblematic enclosures of French football, indeed vibrates every two weeks. Even Ligue 2 residents, but in the fight for a rise in the elite (RCL is second, editor's note), more than 26,000 spectators (5th best influx in France L1 and L2 combined, note) are piled up in the cave where resonates in particular The Corons, piece of Pierre Bachelet and intoned by Lensois supporters who are still proud of their minor ancestors.
Supporters who are recognized as among the best in France. Faithful like almost no one, blood and gold Ultras are distinguished in particular by their ability to move from anywhere, all the time. All stadiums in France, weekends and weekdays, welcome hundreds of Ultras lens players when their team plays. Because the essence of DNA Ultra lies in the movement of troops. At 37 today, and father of a family, Jérémy can no longer move like “at the time“Where he had done”three Grand Slam in a row“. The Grand Slam for an Ultra? Is not to miss the slightest match of the season, including home and away, league and all cups combined. This is a measure of the passion and love of the guy.”Move ? It's unique “, admits the northern supporter, “It’s in trips that you create your group. You discover people. You create solidarity and a special bond.”
“This lack of platform, stadium: it eats me!”
Travel throughout France, a match at Bollaert or even a local gathering to discuss and decide on the next tifo around a good beer: so many daily activities that Jérémy and his companions can no longer enjoy in these times of confinement. And for a little over ten days, the current context has been a real heartbreak for all these football lovers. “This lack of platform, stadium: it eats me!“Jérémy vehemently testifies to us, who continues:”It’s a real lack. Go see my friends, yell in my gallery, drink beers with my friends, it really eats me more able to go to the stadium. I have a big lump in my stomach all the time, but deep inside, I am fully aware of what is going on and containment is extremely important.. “
This unbearable lack, this fanaticism tinged with blood and gold, this extreme love that Ultras like Jérémy have for the Racing Club de Lens, it is also what allows them today to hold out in this period of health crisis. In this match between the world and Covid-19, the Red Tigers are trying “to bring their stone to the building“As we admit Pierre, Jérémy's blood brother in the Marek stand at Stade Bollaert. First of all individually, since Jérémy, as an educator specializing in child psychiatry at the Center Hospitalier de Lens, has made himself fully available to the nursing staff, serving the stretcher bearer. But also collectively, several actions have been carried out by the group of Ultras lensois.
In a press release posted on twitter on March 19, the lensois group therefore announced the establishment, in partnership with a large local area, of a collection point to collect missing material for hospital staff. Enough to set up a nursery for the children of the staff, distribute books and magazines for the patients, chocolates and other snacks for the nursing staff, or even tablets offered to the elderly confined to nursing homes and who want to contact their relatives. Finally, a kitty, which had exceeded € 4,500 on Thursday afternoon, was also launched to support nursing staff. So many beautiful actions carried out which perfectly represent the mentality of the Ultras. Lensois, of course, but also from all over France.
Pierre, who is also the president ofNational Association of Supporters in France, testifies: “Within a week, each Ultra group implemented an action. It happened naturally and spontaneously. This is the essence of the Ultra movement. There is solidarity within the groups, but also at the national level. And especially as soon as there are disasters, the Ultras groups have always mobilized. “ Solidarity acts in favor of this dedicated and front-line staff that Pierre, on his own scale, wants to promote: “At the ANS, we try to give some visibility locally. That’s the only thing we can do. “
More than 30 groups of French Ultras are active
On the official ANS website, precisely, more than 30 French clubs are represented by nearly forty groups of Ultras mobilized in the fight against the spread of Covid-19. In Bastia, for example, the launch of a kitty raised more than € 53,000, again donated to the nursing staff. Through pots, banners, or actions like those carried out by the Lens Red Tigers, everything is good to take and potentially life-saving. So yes, obviously, the Ultras do not live well with this situation of confinement. But who today could boast the opposite? Because that's what we have to remember, if the Ultras are unhappy not to be able to encourage their football team anymore, they are happy, proud, and more than ever willing to support all those who try to save our lives every day. This is also the daily life of an Ultra. Containment or not.