Former Stado player, Philippe Dintrans experienced the last years of the Jules-Soulé stadium. He recounts his memories.
An emblematic figure of the club, Philippe Dintrans (65) has spent his entire career at Stadoceste Tarbais, from the youth categories to the first team (1975 to 1991). Even if he has not trod the lawn of Maurice-Trélut, the former hooker with 50 selections for the France team knew the Jules-Soulé stadium well, which will soon disappear. He has fond memories of it.
Pyrenees Week: What is your first memory of this stadium?
Philippe Dintrans : These are the first games I went to see with my grandfather. We left the car two blocks from the stadium, we went up the main sports avenue and we breastfed “at Bréjassou” (René Bréjassou, former international pillar who reduces a bar in front of the stadium) have a lemonade before going to the game. It is certainly at this moment that I said to myself that I play rugby, here on this stadium.
Do you remember your first time as a player?
Absolutely. My first match in the first team at the Stado was during a Bigorre trophy against Pau. I was 17 years old and I was facing Robert Paparemborde (former international pillar, emblematic player of the Pau Section from 1966 to 1983). When we play against him, I can tell you that we remember him! (He’s laughing.) With me, there was Sandy McNicol, Andy Haden, Gilbert Verdier, Alex Martinez… In fact, Jules-Soulé is a legendary stadium because legendary players have played there like Bréjassou or Jean Dupuy, one of the best backs in the world. It was a small stadium but how crowded! It was incredible the number of supporters!
What is your best memory ?
It was when we were playing the curtain raiser for the big game. We met the star players who put camphor all over their thighs. They had some great thighs, the guys… For us, everything was magic.
You started rugby at Jules-Soulé before going to Trélut. What has changed?
It was the end of something, the end of a beautiful story handed down by the elders. To be honest, I cried. Afterwards, there was also the intention of writing our own story at Maurice-Trélut: we were happy to play in this huge stadium compared to Jules-Soulé.
Was the atmosphere the same?
There were matches with many more spectators at Trélut. But we saw them differently: at Jules-Soulé, they were 10 meters behind us, we looked into each other’s eyes, we could talk to them… Some were very nice and others were very mean! (He’s laughing.)
What aspect of the Jules-Soulé stadium impressed you the most?
The corridor to enter the field was quite long. If you went out first, you didn’t cross the opponents. But if you stayed in the locker room for a while, you ran into the others. So there were a few pushes… And then, this stadium had the particularity of welcoming us well. The family that ran the stadium made us eat before the match. And even when we went to Trélut, we continued for 7 or 8 years to have a bite to eat there on the morning of the match. Our meeting was at Jules-Soulé and no one bothered us!
How does it feel to know he’s going to disappear today?
What bothered me was that the club did not have the means to recover the stadium in the past. People could still be inspired by it today… But if a residence for seniors is built, that makes me happy. After starting it, I can finish it! And then, I’m interested in recovering the stadium posts!