Salut!’s Nice corner: a drab draw as Marseille fall from the heights


Good wins for moneyed QPR, Keano’s Ipswich, Millwall and Hull City – and back down to earth for Leeds – in what we must learn to call the Npower Championship but Salut! Sunderland observes a pre-season pledge to look out for Eric Roy’s Nice team in the French top flight. Not, however, a great opening match …

Salut! Sunderland has declared its support for the French Ligue 1 club known formally as Olympique Gymnaste Club Nice Côte d’Azur, though Nice does nicely enough, in honour of our club’s association with Eric Roy.

Since the French season, like the Championship, is now underway (some would say more than half the French top flight is scarcely better than the Npower thingie), we ought to begin a series of brief reports on our club’s progress. Not a second club – as previously explained, I don’t hold with such things – but one we wish well and whose results are worth checking, as with Paraguay in the World Cup.

Long introduction? Well, the opening match itself – Nice v Valenciennes, flagged here as eminently winnable for our former midfielder’s club – produced little to record and ended in a lifeless 0-0 draw. Eric says Nice’s improved second half performance showed plenty of purpose and merited a win, but his post-match comments make it clear he was clearly disappointed.

They’ll need to improve a whole lot more, and will almost certainly have to do so without their star striker Loïc Rémy, who seems to be bound for the Premier and may have played his last match. Next up: a long trip to Brittany for Lorient away next Saturday.

Elsewhere in Ligue 1, the display fo the day came from humble Caen who travelled to mighty Marseille, last year’s champions, and won 2-1. PSG ended the day top of the league, if being top after one match means anything, though the 3-1 win over St Etienne was marred by some predictable scenes of violence involving the neanderthal element of their support.

Little Arles-Avignon, promoted against the odds, lost 2-1 at Sochaux and Brest’s welcome ban on players hiding behind baseball caps and earphones, when in the presence of supporters, had no impact on the natural order of things. Also promoted last season, Brest were beaten comfortably (2-0) at Toulouse.

Since I have not forgiven Bordeaux for their unseemly handling of our interest in Marouane Chamakh a year ago, Salut!’s Nice corner would seem nicer still if, after tonight’s remaining game of the first weekend, we had a postscript reporting defeat at Montpellier.

Colin Randall

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