In the presence of local mayors and amateur sports clubs, AS Monaco launched the Ünseme programme on Wednesday, strengthening ties throughout the region.
Beausoleil, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Cap d’Ail, La Turbie, Èze, Peille and Dolceacqua were the first town halls to become members of the Ünseme, programme, which in Monégasque means “together.”
The mayors of the villages, as well as three amateur sports associations, AS Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, US Cap d’Ail, and US Dolceacqua, gathered at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday for a breakfast. During the visit, they exchanged with the club’s new Director General, Ben Lambrecht, as well as Michel Aubéry, the president of the AS Monaco association. They were also given a tour of the stadium, which offered them an exclusive visit to the Monaco dressing room.
“We’re not alone here in Monaco.”
Speaking to the media for the first time since his arrival in December, Lambrecht voiced his support for the new project, which will intensify the collaboration between the club and the surrounding community.
“We’re not alone here. We’re in Monaco, but there are all the communes around it that form part of AS Monaco’s heritage. So to have good relationships is very important because there are a lot of synergies,” he said.
The Belgian Director General, who replaced Jean-Emmanuel De Witt, continued, “It’s about creating experiences for these youngsters, be them those that go out on the pitch with the players, or those that are training, or those that are spectators in the stadium. Those are things that we can offer. We’ve learnt that a supporter becomes a supporter of a football team before the age of eight.”
Indeed, many of the mayors in attendance at the event recounted their childhood memories of watching Les Monégasques, which have stayed with them, making Wednesday’s collaboration a “proud” moment.
“When I think of AS Monaco, I think about my childhood. I have been a supporter since a very young age,” said Xavier Beck, the mayor of Cap d’Ail. The programme will allow the younger generation to create similar memories through different experiences, facilitated by a rapprochement between the club, and its surroundings.
“This initiative will allow us to offer our children, at school and at leisure centres, to access the matches more easily and in the best conditions possible,” he added.
An Italian connection
Beyond the Monégasque border, but also beyond the French border, the Principality club have strengthened ties with their Italian fans. The small Italian village of Dolceacqua, which will become officially partnered with Monaco later this year, is a historical hotbed of Monaco fervour.
“For the past year, we’ve been attending matches at the Louis II regularly with buses filled with around 50 kids going to support AS Monaco. You mustn’t forget as well that the Italian AS Monaco Supporters Club was born in Dolceacqua in the 1970s, so we’re very happy that this initiative will allow us to continue this beautiful story,” said Pasqualino Ricetti, President of US Dolceacqua.
“Such projects only survive when they are part of a bigger strategy.”
Monaco have adopted a strategy of mobilising youth support of late. As well as the Ünseme programme, the club also launched the ‘Kids Tour’ in 2022, which sees the club, and sometimes its players, travel to local towns and villages to provide entertainment and also facilitate journeys to the stadium for the games themselves.
The Munegu Family stand also returned for the current 2022/23 season following its closure during the pandemic, and this has allowed families and young kids to attend Ligue 1 matches at a reasonable price.
“I think that such projects only survive when they are part of a bigger strategy. This programme must form a part of an integral strategy, which it will,” Lambrecht told Monaco Life.
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Photo by AS Monaco