In Angers, the “referent supporters” puts oil in the wheels

He went to the other side of the fence. On Angers Sporting Club de l’Ouest (SCO) match days, Pierre Gasté no longer occupies his place in the Kop de la Butte (KDLB), one of the ultras groups of the Angevin football team, in launch chants on the megaphone or animate the platform. Former “capo” (“head” in Italian) of the kop, conductor of the ultras in the gallery, the 33-year-old young man has swapped his bare chest for a jacket bearing the SCO logo.

After sixteen years of active supporterism, he now spends the meetings between the top of the stands – not far from the leaders of the supporters’ groups – and the foot of the stands, from where he has “A fairly general view of everything that is happening”. If his former cronies like to tease him by calling him “Mr. Security”, no one is mistaken about his role. For four years, Pierre Gasté has been a “supporter referent” of the Angevin club, or, as everyone calls him, SLO (« supporter liaison officer »).

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“If we prepare a big tifo, if we need to take pictures from the lawn, we send him: ‘Pierre, can you have permissions?’ Other times, it is: “Pierre, we would have to open a storage room where the flagpoles are stored”, or “Pierre, what are the conditions for this trip?”, exposes Julien Jeanneteau, spokesperson for Magic Scop, a group of black and white supporters. It is the gateway to all our relations with the club. “

“We walk on eggshells”

Centralizing requests when he does not anticipate them, Pierre Gasté sees himself as “The oil between the cogs, because if there isn’t any, the machine locks up quite quickly”. If the ultras groups are, in essence, independent of the clubs, the lack of an identified intermediary – and full time – between the SCO and its supporters was felt when he was “capo”. When the club approached him, after discussion with his group, “We thought it would be better for someone from the stands to take on this role, rather than someone coming out of nowhere. Because anyway, there was going to be someone. “

Established in 2010 by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), called for by the various associations representing supporters, the position of SLO was made compulsory in France in 2016 for all clubs in the championship, by law aiming to « [renforcer] dialogue with supporters and the fight against hooliganism ”.

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“We had to invent this post, reminds Pierre Gasté. Adapt it to the club environment. “ If in Angers the referent supporters knows everyone, or almost everyone, among the few hundred active members of the different groups, in other clubs, the work of the SLO has nothing to do with it. Not all of them came from the stands.

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