Rugby union player, club manager, and entrepreneur: Bernard Gouache, in all his hats, is above all else a captain. The success of the Catalan Dragons is also his success, his success in perseverance and his passion for his sport. painting.
With his round face and strong physique, Bernard Gouache is a cheerful man. Behind his smile, the 61-year-old Catalan possesses an iron will. The son of a Spanish Republican refugee, he led the development of the family business and his career as a player and then as a captain in rugby league at the Pyrenees Orientales.
Rugby League VRP
Bernard Gouache played in the opening half between 1977 and 1989. First in Perpignan for Catalan Treize (1977-1982) and then for rival club San Esteve (1982-1989). A good time for rugby union, despite the bad image it left Final May 17, 1981, between Villeneuve-sur-Lot and XIII Catalan, was shortened four minutes later due to the public brawl.
In 2000, the two leading clubs of Pyrénées-Orientales, AS Saint-Estève XIII (six French championship titles) and Catalan Treize (eleven French championship titles) decided to merge to become Union Treiziste Catalane (UTC). The club poses with its “Catalan” motto and chooses a dragon, in reference to Saint Jordi (Saint George) the patron saint of Catalonia, as its symbol. For leaders, Bernard Gouache is the man for the job. He was again in charge when UTC became the Catalan Dragons in 2006 and joined the prestigious English Premier League.
“In 2005 we did not lose in the French championship and won the cup and the championship.”, says Bernard Gouache. “Having implemented an extraordinary business plan, claiming our Catalans, our sun and our antics, we joined the Premier League in 2006.“.
When Roslyn Bachelo, then the sports minister, greeted him in 2008, she was not mistaken.
The success of Catalan Dragons is due to the dynamism of the men they have dedicated their lives to. Bernard Gouache is one of them.
Since the start of the Catalan Dragon Race, President Guasch has invited great players from the Southern Hemisphere such as New Zealander Stacy Jones. In 2007, the Catalan Dragons team reached the Challenge Cup final. In 2008, they qualified for the play-off game in the Premier League. Above all, the club convinces fans: 8000 on average during matches at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium in Perpignan. And nearly 12,000 on Thursday 30 September to watch the Catalan Dragons advance to the Premier League final by beating Hull Hong Kong 28-10.
For Bernard Gouache, this is considered one of the most beautiful moments in his career as president, which he dedicated to the supporters of the Dragon.
I’m glad all these people (on the field) are happy, because they always loved XIII and still love it today.
The Catalan Dragons will play on Saturday 9 October at 7 pm KST, the first Super League final in its history. The players and managers left Perpignan Airport this morning, with the encouragement of one hundred fans. The match takes place against Saint Helen in Manchester, at Old Trafford. This legendary venue for English football can seat 76,000 spectators.
“Work and move forward”
Bernard Gouache runs a meat processing business, and his father founded a butcher shop. “We started small and always worked to grow. Work and move forward‘, he explains with a smile, in his white organizational coat, in the refrigerators of the big company. The union of epic and rugby, two inseparable parts of the family tradition.
My dad won the French Cup with the 13th Catalan in 1959. And then I, my first trophy as a player, was in 1978. My son Joan won his title in 2016.
Work and move forward, a mantra that Bernard Gouache also applies to rugby union. After reaching the Challenge Cup final three years ago, a Super League title would return the Catalans to a rugby union legend. And her chief’s symbolic dream came true.
“Organizer. Social media geek. General communicator. Bacon scholar. Proud pop culture trailblazer.”