Etienne Didot, Toulouse vice-captain, has talked about the shock of losing coach Alain Casanova. However, amongst all the shock and disappointment, he insists the team are dedicated more than ever to pulling together under new coach Dominique Arribage.
Arribage, who was working as a scout for Toulouse, will be assisted by Teddy Richert and Michael Debeve, whom are also former Toulouse players. The first game for the 43-year-old will be a home match with Bordeaux in Saturday (21/3).
On Monday (16/3), Alain Casanova’s seven-year reign as head coach of Toulouse was brought to an end. No one else felt more keenly than Didot, who understood that something had to give as the club, currently in 18th place. It clearly signifies that the threat of relegation is hanging in front of them.
Toulouse are in the relegation zone after suffering a 1-0 defeat at Lens on Saturday (14/3), following an embarrassing 9-1 thrashing at home to Marseille.
“It was tough for everyone. When Alain came to talk to the team, it was one of the most striking moments I’ve ever experienced,” admitted Didot. “And unfortunately, the moment involved sadness, not joy.”
However, Didot also understand that it is also not easy for the management because they do so much for the team.
“This season, it was not enough and that’s why the club decided to take the gamble of changing the coach,” he stated.
Didot continued to explain the strong links and close relationship that had been established between him and Casanova during their career in Toulouse. The day Didot signed for the club, May 30th, 2008, was the day Casnova stepped up to the role of head coach. At the time Casanova was replacing Elle Baup. The two men arrived together and they went through a lot together, thing that make the players’ mark on the career of a footballer. Before starting his coaching appointment, Casanova was a successful goalkeeper for Le Havre, Marseille and Toulouse.
“I was very distressed when he announced his departure to the players,” said Didot, frankly. However, the former coach asked the team to save themselves from the threat of relegation. So be it for him, for the new coaching staff, the club or the fans, they are all pulling in the same direction; beating the drop.
The club president, Olivier Sadran told in a press conference that “this has been a very complicated decision.”
While Casanova held the record as the longest serving coach in the club’s history, the all time record is held by Guy Roux, former coach of French football club Auxene for a 36-year period between 1964 and 2000.