Olympique de Marseille: les felicitations de sa gracieuse majestie


If Pete Sixsmith can swan off to Scotland in his traditional FA Cup Final avoidance mode, I can be allowed to indulge my passing interest in French football. Can’t really speak for the Queen, though …

… un grand bienvenue aux supporters de Marseille en provenance du site OM Planete

Well, we should own up that we can only guess the emotions of the English monarch as OM step out tonight to celebrate their first Ligue 1 title for 18 years in what should be party style, top versus bottom with poor, relegated, 20th placed Grenoble as lambs for the slaughter.

Of course, there could be a shock away win. But Marseille have the championship and while Salut! Sunderland has no idea of the travel plans of Lorik Cana and Bolo Zenden this weekend, we couldn’t be remotely surprised to hear they at least considered a trip to the stade VĂ©lodrome for old time’s sake.


OM were part of my dream ticket for the French league: their title, Bordeaux’s steep fall from glory and salvation for my city-in-law, Le Mans. My football-resistant wife, born and brought up there, still didn’t connect with her roots sufficiently to urge on the Manceaux to survival and they have duly gone down. I think they will struggle to return but hope I am wrong.

Bordeaux cannot finish higher than fifth. That is some tumble from top, and richly deserved after the insulting behaviour of the president, Jean-Louis Triaud, and – to a slightly lesser extent – the manager, Laurent Blanc, towards Sunderland when we made perfectly proper approaches for Marouane Chamakh last summer.

As it turned out, we bagged an infinitely better attacker, Darren Bent, and Chamakh looks like having to settle for Arsenal for the coming season (I can almost hear the Gooners whingeing about Cana’s tackles on him before they happen). And maybe Chamakh will learn a little about the gap in class and speed between Ligue 1 and the Premier.
If only Marseille could have ended their season with a thumping of les Girondins de Bordeaux tonight. Still, come on Lens: it’s your turn to put M Triaud and M Blanc in their places.

Scores will be added at some stage. Last time I looked, towards final whistles, OM beating Grenoble 2-0, Bordeaux LOSING 4-3 at Lens and Le Mans two down at Lyon.

And that is how they finished, meaning that Bordeaux – with all their big club pretensions (why, no lesser footballing legend than David Bellion was on the bench) – will not play in Europe next season. I wonder if the Queen is as chuffed as we are about that.Dommage.

Colin Randall

* With my usual thanks to ALS for the Lorik Cana T-shirt image, and my Bordeaux-supporting friend kamini-le-ouf for the Chamakh caricature.

4 thoughts on “Olympique de Marseille: les felicitations de sa gracieuse majestie”

  1. Marseille have always been my French team of choice and it’s on my agenda to get to a match of theirs one day. Until then I’ll make do with following them with semi-regularity.

    Pleased for Dede to get his hands on the trophy and end that long wait, and also rather pleased to see Bordeaux fall off the pace.

    It could be called petty but I don’t take too kindly too our team being pilloried by others. Perhaps there’s some correlation that when Chamakh agreed to sign for Arsenal, that Bordeaux’s title challenge slipped and then so too did their hopes of Europe again.

    Their honeymoon is over, a great showing in the Champions League but they showed they just didn’t have it in them to sustain that sort of level over the years. Probably in Blanc’s best interest to take the French job after the World Cup before it all gets irrepairable for him at Bordeaux.

  2. I spent a very enjoyable evening with the Proprietor of Salut! Sunderland at The Stade Velodrome 10 years ago, watching Marseille battle for a draw against a brilliantly organised Troyes side. It was a lovely evening weatherwise, the backdrop of mountains was spectacular and the Ultras managed to set fire to themselves, causing the game to be held up for 10 minutes or so.
    They had pictures of Chris Waddle in their museum (and even his bootprints on the walkway outside) but no references to Chris Makin, who had gone there from Oldham Athletic; probably the only time those two clubs will be mentioned in the same breath.

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