“After the ‘rebranding’, when there was a rift between the Impact and its supporters, between CF Montreal and the Impact, even between the organization and its history, I said to myself that history of the club had not been told, by choice of the club to look towards the horizon. The response from supporters was: Yes, but the Impact? His history ? »
This is how the project of Vincent Destouches, MLS match analyst on Apple TV and former Impact matchup analyst on TVA Sports, began two years before the 30th anniversary. of the club.
The book that has been on the shelves since Wednesday is the first book about CF Montreal or the Impact. For the occasion, the author has selected 30 defining moments that have shaped and punctuated the past of the Montreal club.
Still, the range is wide. From the conception of the club in December 1992 until the record season of 2022, passing through the titles of 1994, 2004 and 2009, the key moments are judiciously pecked out.
But not all chapters are about glorious events. The story also looks back on less rosy moments like the “Santos Laguna trauma” and the S.O.S match while the club was under league guardianship in 2001.
These key moments are revisited by those who experienced them. From Mauro Biello to Didier Drogba, from Marc Dos Santos to Jesse Marsch, from Patrice Bernier to Igniacio Piatti, from Nick De Santis to Cameron Porter and from Richard Legendre to Kevin Gilmore, they are more than 40 to entrust their memories in this book.
“I am an analyst in life, but I changed hats for writing the story, explained Destouches during an interview of about fifty minutes with La Presse. I tuned in and made myself available as a scribe of this story to fill a gap.
“Already, there is no book on the subject. Then, I wanted to fill the gap of the time when this project was born. Since the story was not being told at that time. So the more I immersed myself in it, the more I realized that this story should not be forgotten. It had to be told. »
This is where the celebration aspect comes into play. In the way of tracing the moments and in the selection of these. Destouches says he cannot “justify devoting an entire chapter to Harry Novillo or Jimmy Briand”. “Is this one of the 30 pillars of the club’s history? I rather think it’s part of a bigger story,” he said.
Same thing for Drogba. “Without evacuating the negative”, it is mainly about the first six months of Chelsea’s former glory in Montreal and the impact of its passage.
From the outset, the author compiled a list of many decisive moments in the history of the Bleu-blanc-noir. One of the obligatory passages: the story of David Testo.
“It’s my defining encounter,” admits Destouches of the first openly gay player in North America. This is a chapter that I continued. I also wanted substance in the book and this story was worth telling. […] It’s been 12 years since he’s been professional and no one has “come out of the closet” since. And even though he wonders why it’s still up to him to be the voice of this cause, he’s been generous. »
If we believe that everything has been said about certain chapters, such as the change of the club’s name, we can be surprised by revisited testimonies.
One of them concerns “the Brian Ching case”. Destouches hadn’t included this moment in his preliminary list and yet he was completely bowled over by Ching’s “brutal honesty”. The first player chosen in the expansion draft by the Impact, the former Houston Dynamo captain claims he told then-Montreal coach Jesse Marsch to “fuck him” and that he “never wanted to speak to her again”.
Finally, after a few weeks, the two men say they learned a lot from the situation. So much so that Marsch, who captained Leeds United in the Premier League and RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, concludes by saying that he “learned more in Montreal than in the rest of [his] career”.
“But damn, I’m pissed, I’m pissed!” “says Nacho Piatti, in French, to Destouches during a dinner. What is he referring to?
The day before the 2015 CONCACAF Champions League final, the Argentinian was comfortably settled in his hotel room in Mexico, watching television. The panelists did not give much of the Impact’s skin, they predicted a 5-0 victory for Club América. Former number 10 was so irritated that he didn’t sleep all night.
And that’s what the author wanted. “The actors say what it meant to them at that time,” he said. This is what marked the story, the actors give color to the book and guide us in their memories of the 30 defining moments of the Impact.