Handball/Proligue Final Four: Frontignan THB, from bottom to top

Handball/Proligue Final Four: Frontignan THB, from bottom to top

For Sylvain Pelegrin, co-president with Jean Garait, the emotional elevator was at full speed. FREE NOON – Jérôme Belluire

Pinned during the season by the CNACG, Frontignan THB recovered and then won its place in the last four, for a semi-final this Saturday June 1st against Tremblay. Interview with co-president Sylvain Pelegrin.

Despite the pitfalls, you finished the regular phase in fourth place. Would you have bet on Frontignan in the Final Four ?

We need to recontextualize. When we saw the financial situation deteriorate after the resumption in February, we started to have a serious headache (Editor's note: forecasts announced a deficit of 120,000 euros for this season). And then, at one point, we were sincere with everyone, the communities, the partners and the employees of the club. And there, I must say that morale was rather at the bottom of the pool. The concern for the Final Four was then light years away from our priorities. Even though we have a great and talented group of players, we were wondering if we were going to be able to finish the season and when we were going to have to tell them that they were unemployed…

And yet, the bar has finally been redressed.

It was created like a sacred union around the club, which did us a lot of good. Many have affirmed their support, whether financial through local authorities in particular, or in the expression of our supporters and all the messages we have received. When we accepted losing three points in the ranking without appealing, we also accepted that it was perhaps the end. And then, everyone reacted.

Including the team…

I didn't think the players would react so well. They told us that all they could do now was go as far as possible. Some were contacted and I would have understood if they made another choice. But they preferred to stay and give their all. And this had an amplifying effect.

Where is the club today ?

Even if the financial Damocles is still there, we have a clearer vision of the situation with this Final Four. The CNACG is at our side. We often talk about a financial policeman but, for us, it is a real partner, who helps us and guides us. We have a consistent upcoming budget, but we had to go through a reduction of almost 150,000 € of the payroll, spread across the entire club.

You have managed to stabilize the club for the Proligue. But this Saturday, you will play a Final Four with a view of the Starligue. Is a climb possible ?

If I'm right, I tell myself that it's a real "bad, good idea". Those who are preparing to move up have been doing so since January, with a forecast budget already established (Editor's note: the FTHB should have 1.30 M&euro next season, a season in Starligue costs at least 2.80 M€ ;). If this happens, first of all it would be an incredible thing that we won't take away from the players. And, behind it, everything will have to be prepared urgently because, in mid-June, the CNACG will have to know who is able to go. We will see with our partners, public and private. The phone may heat up.

We were at rock bottom three months ago and, today, we are at the Final Four. The emotional elevator was in full swing this year…hellip; Is it impossible for this team to go all the way? I don't think so, these guys are constantly pushing for crime! But for the emotions they give us, we are obliged to move forward with them.

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