Monaco Tribune gives loyal ASM supporters a voice in a new series “AS Monaco is in my heart”. We met up with two Stade Louis II fans: brothers Raymond and Marcel Viano. Raymond has been a season ticket holder since the 1965-1966 season. Marcel is in charge of the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin supporters’ branch.
How did you fall in love with AS Monaco?
R.V: Pretty much in the cradle (smiles). I have always had a passion for football. It started when I was in school in Beausoleil. I played in the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin club. My first match at the Stade Louis II was in the 1960s, and I started going to away games in 1962. I went on my own to Marseille and Milan. And then in the 1970s came the European Cup. I didn’t miss a single away game during the Jean-Louis Campora era: Sofia, Moscow, Budapest, etc.
M.V : My story is much the same. I played a lot of football in my youth and my passion for AS Monaco came naturally, along with my brother.
We’re told you never miss a match at the Louis II…
R.V: It would really take a case of force majeure! We also try to go to the away games whenever we can. And now there is the Roca Team as well as AS Monaco.
M.V: We’re retired, we don’t have many time constraints. If they don’t clash, we’ll go to all the football and basketball matches.
R.V: It’s brilliant at the new hall. There’s also a lot of interest in basketball. You see it when you travel abroad. There is AS Monaco, of course, but people talk to us about what the Roca Team is doing too.
We want to get as many people as possible from the town and the region to come to the matches with usMarcel Viano
What was the most memorable era for you?
R.V: Campora’s. We weren’t used to seeing the European Cup. Back then, there was only AS Saint-Etienne. There weren’t many big French clubs in Europe. Monaco was starting to become one at the time. We started travelling because of the club’s achievements.
M.V: We liked the family spirit in the club at that time. Everyone at the club was accessible. But that was another time, football has moved on, you can’t compare it.
How did the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin supporters’ branch come about?
M.V: After the Menton section closed in 1985, we were allowed to open one here. We’ve been running the section since then. Depending on how the club is performing, we can sometimes have up to 100 members. There’s a real fervour for AS Monaco here, even if being so close to OGC Nice and Olympique de Marseille means that many people also support those two clubs.
What is the section’s role?
M.V: We want to get as many people as possible from the town and the region to come to the matches with us. We get a lot of pleasure from promoting AS Monaco everywhere and getting young people involved in our activities. It really keeps us motivated.
R.V: AS Monaco is above all a brand image. We can be proud to have a club like that. We will carry on flying the club’s flag all over the world.
What are your next trips?
M.V: We hope to qualify for the Europa League and make the trip to the round of 32. We were in Bologna for the basketball, and we will be in Madrid in early December.
R. V: We will go to the round of 32 in February. We want to experience history. I still remember our trip to Berlin in 1989. We were there a week before the wall came down.
What is your fondest memory as an AS Monaco supporter?
R.V: There have been quite a few emotional moments. Can’t deny it (laughs). Of course, there was that semi-final in 2004 against Chelsea, which took us to the Champions League final.
M.V: And the match against Arsenal, during the 2014-2015 season [AS Monaco -1-3 away victory]!
Which players have stood out for you?
M.V: Jean-Luc Ettori!
R.V: Jean Petit too. But it’s hard to choose just one… We loved how Marcelo Gallardo played, but Mark Hatelay and Glenn Hoddle too. I saw many of them through my work [Raymond was a manager at the Meridien Beach Plaza for many years]. When new players arrived at the club, they would stay in the hotel for a while. I remember John Collins. When he arrived, he wanted to learn French straight away. He asked the club for an interpreter and a few months later his whole family was speaking French. You don’t see that anymore.
And in the current squad, who is your favourite player?
M.V: Wissam Ben Yedder. He’s the most effective. We saw him again last night [the interview took place the day after the game against Ferencvaros].
R.V: Wissam Ben Yedder too. He is a real captain on the field. He makes a difference. We have confidence in him. It’s a relief when he is on the pitch. You reckon we’re in for some goals.
Seeing all these young people cheering the team on and getting autographs at the end is wonderfulRaymond Viano
What do you think of the new project since Dmitry Rybolovlev arrived?
M.V: We have to thank him. We were really struggling. The relegation before his arrival was terrible. The club was adrift. The first year, with Luis Campos, we had an exceptional team. During that time, we had Falcao, Bernardo Silva, James Rodriguez, Eric Abidal, Fabinho, Ricardo Carvalho… The club’s objectives clearly changed at that point.
What do you think of the current season?
R.V: So so. It’s a frustrating season. I think the transfer rules should be changed. The transfer window needs to end when the championships start.
M.V: We win points against big teams and we lose some against smaller teams. It’s a shame.
What is your biggest dream as an AS Monaco fan?
M. V: To get into the Champions League more often. The European Cup is a different dimension.
R. V: But it also depends on the UEFA coefficient. France needs to be better so it gets more places in the European Cup. One thing is certain, we’ll be going all the way!
Which recruit has made the biggest impression on you?
R. V: For me it would be Breel Embolo. I have high hopes for him.
MV: There is Mohamed Camara too, but we haven’t seen so much of him.
What did you think of the first Open Training session of the season at the La Turbie Performance Centre?
M.V: What the club is doing for us is really cool, with the season ticket holders’ evening or the training sessions that are open to the public.
R.V: It is especially important for the youngsters from nearby schools and clubs. I’m all for it. Seeing all these young people cheering the team on and getting autographs at the end is wonderful.