When bets were being made on who would go up from Ligue 2 in 2016-17, Amiens SC trailed behind a number of teams – and that was during stoppage time in the last game of the season.
Then, as the clock at Reims showed 96 minutes, Emmanuel Bourgaud reversed 116 years of history with one shot, winning the game, pushing Amiens from sixth place to second, and ensuring back-to-back promotions to Ligue 1.
Thereafter, the Stade de la Licorne has been buzzing, its 12,000 capacity near packed every game for two top-flight campaigns. Mercurial coach Christophe Pélissier was lured to Lorient before the 2019-20 season but Amiens should now have the experience to steer clear of danger.
Still looking contemporary thanks to its transparent roof, the 20-year-old ‘Unicorn Stadium’ is nothing if not intimate, the fans up close to the pitch. Apart sectors A and B in a corner of the Tribune Sud allocated to visiting supporters, all spectators are locals, livelier ones in the Tribune Nord, higher-paying ones in sideline Tribune Est and top-dollar merchants in Tribune Ouest.
With buses pretty infrequent to/from the nearest stop of Mégacité – the No.7 to/from the Gare du Nord (20min) is hourly, and only until 8pm – it’s little wonder that the free shuttle bus (navette gratuite) from the station (quai D) is oversubscribed. It also takes 35min. Walking from town, via barely used Gare St-Roch station, would be just as quick.
Nearly all tickets are sold online, either from the club or agencies such as Ticketmaster and Fnac. There are ticket offices at the stadium – check with firstname.lastname@example.org for match-day availability.
Prices are categorised by seat position (1-6, from an average of €30 in the balcony down to €17.50 behind the goals) and by opposition, PSG, Lyon and Marseille being Gala (and impossible to get), the rest being Premium or Championnat.
Amiens SC settled on black and white fairly recently, and remain unconvinced, judging by the grey/white tiger stripy affair selected as a first kit for 2019-20, with red-and-blue touches harking back to the 1990s. It’s a mess but available from the modest match-day tent by the ticket offices. Tiger stripes in black and grey – the away top – hardly makes amends for such fashion faux pas.
If you’re walking from St-Roch station, you can’t miss the age-old Tartarin, Le St-Roch and Bar du Zenith nearby, all timelessly French, the first two offering a traditional menu, the latter unchanged since Johnny Hallyday’s heyday. Leave plenty of time to reach the stadium, a good 15min walk away.
Nearer the ground, just past La Chambre d’Amiens hotel, the bmb leisure centre at 10 rue Colbert comprises a bowling alley with a bar attached where Pelforth flows on draught.
At the stadium, the Bodega marquee by the reception area fills with supporters on match days – more often than not, these are VIPs rather than random punters.